Google Embraces Expanding Ads

Google has kicked its rich media ad menu up a notch with the addition of third-party expanding ads to its AdSense network. Advertisers can now create units that, on being clicked, enlarge to display content like film trailers, video game clips, or multiple views of a product, Google said.

For the time being, the expanding ad option is only available to U.S. advertisers already participating in Google’s third party ad serving program, a group that numbers in the hundreds. Those brands are placing ads on handpicked sites in the AdSense network using Google’s placement targeting option, the company said.

Expanding ads can be produced by either DoubleClick Rich Media or Eyeblaster. To prevent accidental expansions that aggravate consumers and Web site owners, Google does not allow ad expansions to be triggered by roll-overs.

As with other image ad offerings from Google, the units can be purchased on either a cost-per-click or cost-per-thousand basis. Expanding ads are available immediately on any AdSense-ready sites that already accept image ads. Those properties are not permitted to opt out of expanding ads without turning off all image ads.

Rival ad sellers like Platform-A, Microsoft, and Yahoo have long offered expanding ads. Google has been slower than its competitors to offer rich ad formats, partly owing to its legacy of text-based ad listings and partly to its emphasis on providing a clean user experience. It first began testing traditional banners in 2004, and since then has gradually rolled out other visually elaborate ad options, including its multi-function Gadget Ads, video ads, and hybrid units that combine content and advertising within publisher ad space.

An earlier version of this story said Google’s expanding ads can be produced by any of Google’s approved rich media vendors. In fact, only Doubleclick Rich Media and Eyeblaster are certified to create expanding ads for placement on the AdSense network.

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