Beginning next week, Google plans to test video insertions on its famously QWERTY search results pages. The invite-only experiment will place small “plus sign” icons next to regular text ads, of the sort you sometimes see on Google Maps. When clicked, the symbols will expand to reveal a video ad that can be played manually by the searcher.
I spoke this afternoon with Google spokesperson Brandon McCormick, who said advertisers will pay by the click, whether that click starts the video or takes the viewer to a landing page. Bidding on keywords will take place through the AdWords interface, and video advertisers will compete with text links for placement. “The ad with the video would still have to be the best ad to appear” according to Google’s quality scoring algorithms, he said.
He said Google was motivated to add richer ads to its SERPs because people are now used to seeing video and even expect it.
“As video gets more and more common on the Web, people are used to experiencing that level of engagement,” he said. “We think, using the plus box video ad, we can maintain a positive user experience on Google.com and [provide a] richer experience.”
I should be able to update this post with a screen grab by early next week, since McCormick said Google is eager to show these are non-intrusive placements.
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