Google announced today on the Inside AdSense blog that it has redefined the clickable area of its text ads to make only the ad's title and URL clickable, instead of the whole block of text.
The move is intended to prevent advertisers from paying for accidental clicks on an ad:
"By allowing users to click only on the ad title and URL, we aim to decrease accidental clicks, better aligning visitor behavior with their intent," writes Katie Mandel, AdSense product marketing. "Overall, the decrease in accidental clicks will keep users on your website, interacting your content, until they intend to click on an ad."
The changes began rolling out earlier this week, as noted at Search Engine Roundtable. Google warns advertisers on the Inside AdWords blog that they should not be surprised if they see a decrease in both the number of clicks and the clickthrough rate (CTR) in content network campaigns. It's expected that advertisers will also see an increase in the average return on investment (ROI) of content network traffic.
Early forum conversations finds the impact is not huge, though many publishers are seeing a drop in CTR.