Yahoo! Search Marketing to Test Graphical Ads

Yahoo Search Marketing is planning tests of graphical banner ads to be displayed on its pay-per-click contextual ad network, a spokesperson said.

Implementation of such a feature would allow advertisers to incorporate more visual, brand-oriented imagery into their contextual ads, and perhaps let them craft messages designed to reach people earlier in the purchase cycle.

“A lot of details haven’t been determined, but we are testing,” said Gaude Paez, a spokesperson for Yahoo Search Marketing, formerly known as Overture Services.

The portal player follows Google’s lead in making the move. Google has long offered static .GIF ads and recently announced plans to roll out animated .GIFs to CPM-based advertisers.

In Yahoo’s case, the testing process will begin in the next several weeks and will take place across the Yahoo network. Variables being considered include placement, banner size, and creative constraints.

The company has yet to determine which advertisers’ creatives should be displayed in the banner space — whether only the highest bidders should be involved or whether others should be given a chance. Yahoo will also consider whether to take advertisers’ existing text copy and create graphical ads on their behalf, or whether advertisers should submit their own creative.

Currently, the company is considering a standard banner-sized placement that would begin as a graphical ad and then morph into a text creative. That change could be a fade or a flip, for example.

The tests come as Yahoo is expected to broaden its contextual ad network to include smaller publishers, or launch a new network to encompass those sites.

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