Google Adds Video, Maps, and Product Info to Search Ads

Google plans to roll out a range of new ad offerings across search results pages. New formats will include map integration, video content, and product information within sponsored ad placements themselves.

Nick Fox, a Google director of product management, said during a webcast with investors yesterday that the company would now be applying aspects of its organic universal search technology — such as the inclusion of YouTube video clips within results pages — to its commercial listings.

“An area we’ve recently increased our level of investment in is new ad formats,” he said. “Our search ads have largely looked the same over the course of the past seven or eight or nine years…but we’ve seen that users respond very well to seeing results in a format that is appropriate to the information they’re looking for. Now we’re looking at applying the same philosophy to our search ads as well.”

The formats are all revealed upon clicking within a standard sponsored text link. Fox suggested that video might appeal particularly to advertisers in the entertainment vertical, and presented examples of trailers for the upcoming Fame movie and the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 video game, viewable from within the ads themselves. Advertisers pay on a cost-per-click, or a cost-per-view basis.

In regards to e-commerce, he went on to demonstrate the inclusion of individual product images and descriptions within ads, again revealed after clicking a link within the text ad itself. Finally, similar functionality was demonstrated with maps, touted as particularly valuable for local advertisers.

Yahoo unveiled similar features in February, allowing advertisers to include images, video, and advertiser site search functions directly within search ads.

Fox concluded that “the search advertising industry is still very much in its infancy,” and that the new formats “give a feel for the opportunities ahead to make ads richer and much better.”

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