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Google to Test Video Ads In Search Results Pages
engine




msg:3575678
 12:10 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

On Thursday, Google started testing video ads on some pages of search results. And it is developing ad formats with images, interactive maps and other more elaborate features.
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, said in an interview that the change reflects the evolution of the once-sparse Google pages. Last year Google introduced what it calls universal search, which mixes images, videos, news stories and other types of information with the standard text links to Web pages.
“The big insight of Google wasn’t text ads; it was that the ads should be conducive to the format,” Ms. Mayer said. “We were doing text-based search that was all textual. Visual ads don’t work in that format.”

Google to Test Video Ads In Search Results Pages [bits.blogs.nytimes.com]

Looks like the days of the really clean SERPs may have gone.

 

skipfactor




msg:3575753
 2:04 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Geez, just when I kill my TV [turnoffyourtv.com] the cute little moving ads ('tickers' a la post-9/11) follow me from the middle of a freaking movie (after 5-minutes of commercials) to my favorite SERPS.

Thank goodness for Flashblock; my browsing experience is starting to look like tons of 'play' buttons and a precious little text. Where's that backpack & sleeping bag...?

weeks




msg:3575755
 2:09 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

...the change reflects the evolution of the once-sparse Google pages...

Noooooooooooo.
OK, I'm over it.

G has so much data on us as individuals, they are likely to be the first to do the kind of ad targeting that was talked about in the early days of the web but no one has gotten around to trying.

It is called psychographic targeting. The channel (Google, in this case) sits down with the marketer has asks "What kind of mind set are you looking for?" They go beyond age, location, gender, location, although that is a factor.

Are you looking for stressed people? Happy people? Immature? Thoughtful? Geeks? Artists? Losers? Opinion leaders? Conservatives? Liberals? Moderates?

In the past, G has not had the ability with its tiny text messages to offer tailored emotional messages to various audiences. With video, that changes.

Of course, there are the obvious position plays as well: Some one who searches on refinancing, loans, etc. is going to get a video from Leading Tree or Bank of America. And, that is plenty valuable to marketers and great for G. But, for Google to really move from a secondary media buy (and, as weird as it seems with all of the money they are making, they are not sucking up all of most of ad dollars yet), they are going have to move beyond basic search contextual ads.

This is not to say contextual ads still do not have more potential, but the web needs to become a channel where marketers can pitch products and services you're not looking for. The New York Times has done this as well as anyone, but not with hard data, just saying that a certain kind of person is likely to read certain kind of articles. (Opinion leaders read their editorial pages, for example. Still, that is real psychographic marketing that is easy to understand.)

So, you might not need a new car right now, but some day you will. You are forming your opinion, good and bad, about car makers right now, even if you don't realize it. Google wants to be a place (well, Google wants to be THE place) where marketers "build the brand."

Google want to be the place where Super Bowl-type ads are run. Because they want Super Bowl-type ad dollars.

europeforvisitors




msg:3575886
 4:17 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nice analysis, Weeks.

People here often forget that direct-response ads (such as AdWords/AdSense text ads) are like classified ads in newspapers: They may be an important source of revenue, but they represent just one slice of the advertising pie.

aleksl




msg:3575936
 4:43 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

the web needs to become a channel where marketers can pitch products and services you're not looking for.

NO. not my kind of web.

ambellina




msg:3575950
 4:56 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

ugh. I hate video ads! Especially the ones that you "rollover to expand." I accidentally roll over one and my whole screen is eaten by a trailer for Brooke Shields' new TV show. Like interrupting my gossip reading is going to make me want to watch. Pshaw.

europeforvisitors




msg:3575977
 5:13 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, they're just testing at this point. But there are good ways and bad ways to implement video ads. For example, a small YouTube-style window on a SERP that showed a commercial wouldn't be as intrusive or annoying as an interstitial that made you wait for the page you wanted to see.

weeks




msg:3575992
 5:33 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

EVF, an independent travel site is a good example of a website that would stand to benefit from more thoughtful ad placement. What kind of person is thinking about visiting Europe? OK, they have "disposable income," they are open to new experiences, they are "planners."

If G could build a network outside of its own site that offered this kind of analysis with sophisticated marketers, who then found that it worked, the results could be good.

Alas, you have to be careful. I've personally had awful results going too far afield. We tried to sell cruises in a business magazine. The demographics were near perfect--these are the people who cruise, these are our readers. Same folks, but it didn't work. Why? I decided that when people were looking at the business magazine, they were not thinking about vacations, but business.

The context of the message always matters. Marketing like this is not for children. But, it's going to be fun to play with as it evolves.

rytis




msg:3576044
 6:35 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

A niche for text-only ads-free do-no-evil Search Engine reemerging? Or times changed irreversibly.

europeforvisitors




msg:3576053
 6:45 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

A niche for text-only ads-free do-no-evil Search Engine reemerging?

As a charity supported by whom?

tedster




msg:3576060
 6:53 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here's the most hopeful part, as far as I see it:

Ads with accompanying videos will have a small button with a plus sign... Users that click the plus button on an ad will see a small video player that shows a commercial, movie trailer or other clip.

Ms. Mayer said, however, that the company would explore adding small thumbnail photos to the video ads as well. And a spokesman said the company is considering testing other formats that may include ads with images. But it is taking a delicate approach.

“We don’t want all sorts of video and banner ads all over the site all the time,” Ms. Mayer said.

That's not all that disruptive. However, I personally take issue with this:

"The big insight of Google wasn’t text ads; it was that the ads should be conducive to the format."

I thought it was that ads should not be mass-market style, but tailored to the specific search. Drifting too far away from that will not be a good thing.

europeforvisitors




msg:3576076
 7:16 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I personally take issue with this:

"The big insight of Google wasn’t text ads; it was that the ads should be conducive to the format."

I thought it was that ads should not be mass-market style, but tailored to the specific search. Drifting too far away from that will not be a good thing.

Trouble is, contextual (keyword-targeted) ads just don't work well for a lot of things. Someone searching Google for "Iraq war policy" or reading a WASHINGTON POST article about the latest suicide bombing in Baghdad isn't likely to be in a shopping mindset, and Google isn't likely to serve relevant ads in any case. It makes a lot more sense to show ads that have nothing to do with the page topic but are relevant to the user's interests or needs.

To use an analogy, AdWords or AdSense ads are like the mail-order tire and car-accessory ads in the back of CAR AND DRIVER or ROAD & TRACK. They work well in that context (because users who view the ads are looking to buy things), but in the front of the book, where readers aren't in a shopping mindset, product-announcement or awareness-building ads are likely to be more effective. (You may not be shopping for a new vehicle right now, but when you are, VW would like you to be aware of the Passat or the GTI, and Chevy would like you to remember that its trucks are "like a rock.")

Side note: Weeks had an interesting comment about travel sites. As it happens, the travel sector already has a display-ad network that represents medium to large sites (such as the major guidebook publishers) and uses sophisticated tools like geotargeting, daypart targeting, etc. to slice and dice audiences for big-name advertisers. For example, you might see geotargeted ads for museum- and culture-oriented weekend packages in Chicago on a site about travel in Italy, presumably because people in the American Midwest who can afford to visit Italy are also looking for ways to spend their weekends close to home when they aren't touring the Vatican and attending operas in Milan. Why shouldn't Google take advantage of this approach in its SERPs? If you're a resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin who repeatedly searches Google for things like "Verdi" and "La Scala," mightn't it make sense to show you a video ad for a Chicago weekend opera package even if you aren't searching specifically for information about opera in Chicago?

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 7:27 pm (utc) on Feb. 15, 2008]

tedster




msg:3576087
 7:23 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I hear what you're saying - but that's really an "interruption marketing" mindest I think, compared to "permission marketing" that makes the best use of the web in my experience. I thought Google already had that point of view - in fact, I thought that was a major reason for their ascendancy over interruption marketers like Yahoo and Microsoft.

Well, I don't want to borrow trouble. We'll see where the tests lead. If the general public responds well to interruption marketing, then I guess the majority will rule. And then I'll be just another old codger recalling past years as the good ole days.

ergophobe




msg:3576191
 9:26 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ted, I don't think you can see permission and interruption as necessary opposites. I can give permission to get interrupted and it remains to be seen where this will end with Google. A lot of younger people in particular like being marketed to. I know of several manufacturers of outdoors gear that *sell* advertisement stickers that people actually *buy* and put on their cars, helmets and skis.

If clean search dies (and I think Neil's right that it will, except that I would say it already has), it will be because either users enjoy the videos or, more likely, don't mind them. That is, they give permission to be interrupted (meaning that during testing they don't see negative numbers on user behavior). If they don't, Google will put this on the shelf. Google doesn't care about the user experience because they believe in doing no evil and making you ever so happy and fulfilled, but because it is incredible easy to change default search engines.

The thing that online companies need to confront in the 21st century is that user-centered technology bats last. If your business model is irksome and your marketing model fails to resonate, user-centered technology will make you irrelevant.

On the one hand it could create an opening for a SE with slightly worse results, but a better user experience. That is probably the most obvious threat to Google, so I think they'll be on guard for that.

On the other hand, interruptive video ads are only one upset Firefox pluing developer away from irrelevance. Google has to know that the idea that they can feed you what they want to feed you is obsolete. They *get* to feed you what *you* want because the second a media type or feature becomes significantly irksome, someone will create a Video Ad Goo Gone plugin (in hommage to the killer paint remover, BTW) and that's it. No more Google video ads, whether Google runs them or not.

Similarly, you can turn off Javascript and Java (I haven't had Java turned on in my browsers in ages). You can get a Flash blocker for Firefox.

I can hear the sound of keyboards firing up as people start to reply with "That's absurd. Only geeks bother to block Flash and turn off JS. Doesn't mean anything on the general market."

If it becomes enough of an annoyance, technology rises to the occasion. It took one guy who was annoyed to build a popup blocker, which at first was a geek item for internet junkies. Then we got pluggable browsers and you only needed to download a browser plugin. Now the major browsers have pop-up blockers built in with moderate settings that mean that I hardly ever see pop-up ads anymore. Are they still common? I sure don't know.

Summary: I don't think the sky is falling. It already did, but if fell on and squished the push marketers. Of course, I haven't owned a television since 1981 and quit listening to commercial radio around then, so I opted out of the most intrusive push marketing years ago.

Tom

rytis




msg:3576300
 11:08 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

A niche for text-only ads-free do-no-evil Search Engine reemerging?
As a charity supported by whom?

Well perhaps two bright minds supported by some university?

ergophobe




msg:3576313
 11:22 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>charity supported by whom?

Okay, getting off topic, but how about a subscription service.

Quality search was a paid service before it was a free service (Lexis-Nexis).

If you could have the best search engine on the planet with no ads, how much would you pay?

What if the best free SE was the one that is currently your fourth favorite? How much would you cough up for your favorite SE with no ads (or opt-in ads only)? And how much would each opt-in ad subscriber be worth to the SE?

How much would you cough up for a Google subscription to see Google/GMail/etc without ads? Based on how often I click ads, I suspect Google could break even for somewhere around $5/user/year.

What if you take Yahcrosoft off the table? Then how much would you pay for an ad-free Google?

europeforvisitors




msg:3576316
 11:27 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well perhaps two bright minds supported by some university?

It would have to be a university with a lot of very big data centers. :-)

As for a subscription-based search engine, that sounds like a niche product to me. (When THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and THE NEW YORK TIMES give up their online subscription revenues so they can get more users and ad income, that suggests that the pendulum is moving away from the subscription model, not toward it.)

rytis




msg:3576344
 12:06 am on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would think subscription model is to stay, cause there will always be customers willing to pay for quality, but as long as they can't get comparable quality for free elsewhere.

Likewise, I am willing to pay Google in the form of wasted milliseconds of my life, waiting for all these extras to render in the browser. But as long as there isn't another SE of comparable quality out there.

ergophobe




msg:3576400
 1:45 am on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Clearly a subscription service isn't about to knock Google off any time soon. Currently, the best general search engines are free and it would take something major to change that, no question. But television and radio have both made the transition from free, ad-supported services to adding subscription (and often still ad-laden!) services.

belege




msg:3576488
 5:42 am on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google has the interest to promote video on the web. They have the sites where to promote video, they have the info about users, so it makes sense to encourage advertisers to invest in video ads. And they are using the search engine to catch advertiser attention, like with checkout. It's a brilliant plan, if it will succeed.

whitenight




msg:3576497
 6:02 am on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the general public responds well to interruption marketing, then I guess the majority will rule. And then I'll be just another old codger recalling past years as the good ole days.

Actually, if Google were doing their proper market research (and perhaps reading a book or two by Seth Godin) they would realize that younger demographics in fact don't like "interruption marketing".

I suspect that they do know this, but profits dictate that they sell more ads to the "older" demographics of "old businesses" that still spend billions on this poor-ROI marketing.

That should keep Goog profitable for at least another 5 years until they move away from SEs totally and into telecom/ads.

Robert Charlton




msg:3576525
 7:07 am on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

...The eyes of users automatically gravitate to the images more than the text, she said. Now that Google’s main search results pages include more images, video links and other elements, it is more appropriate, she argued, to have corresponding advertising formats.

“With universal search, something is getting shaken up a bit on the bottom part of the page,” she said. “The ads on the top part of the page should match.”

The attraction of eyes to the images is what I thought this was about as soon as I saw the headline.

The eye-map studies after Universal Search was introduced showed that the thumbnails were pulling eyes away from the golden triangle (up in the top left) and replacing the "F"-shaped scanning pattern with an "E"-shaped scanning pattern, with more emphasis on the left middle of the page when images were in the fourth or fifth spot.

I understand there were even discussions inside Google about flipping the ads to the left side... but with images in the organic results and not in the ads, the eyes might still go to the thumbnails.

The interruption that comes from watching a video occurs whether the video is in the ads or in the organic results. It will be interesting to see whether TV spots intended for a passive living-room audience work as well on web ads as they do on TV, or in fact whether video ad click-throughs will "scale" well on search.

Even a few short videos on the same topic will really eat up time and not provide all that much unique information. I see searchers developing incredibly short attention spans on these.

potentialgeek




msg:3576695
 4:41 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

...The eyes of users automatically gravitate to the images more than the text, she said. Now that Google’s main search results pages include more images, video links and other elements, it is more appropriate, she argued, to have corresponding advertising formats.

Uh... flawed logic! Research shows text ads far outperform image ads. And image ads do far better than video ads. (This has been discussed before in other threads and forums.)

Google is being weird trying to butter us up.

Ugh. I wish they'd at least give us a better argument. From a neutral party might be good, too.

Apparently Google didn't have much luck with video ads on the Content Network, so why should it succeed on its Results Pages? (Didn't it first offer its text ads on the Content Network after they were successful on its Results Pages?)

The biggest problem with video ads online is they require a commitment to stop and wait 30 seconds (or whatever). Many internet users are hoofing it. They often don't even read full pages; they scan them. They aren't "parked" like they are in front of a TV set.

Do I really want to stop and watch an ad? What are the chances it's likely to benefit me? How many times have I seen an online video ad that led me to what I wanted and bought?

The Flash video ads in the past I've seen didn't do much for me, but I think ads automatically moving when you load a page are more likely to get attention than any other kind.

Sadly, I think no matter how good the video ads or how much money you put into their production, you won't be able to change internet user habits, expectations, or interest.

Perhaps there's some brainwave on the horizon from a genius, but I don't see it.

If I'm shopping for a new car, for example, a text link to the auto site is all I need. I expect to see a video at the site after I click, but don't need one before then.

Internet video ads are a pipe dream.

p/g

europeforvisitors




msg:3576764
 7:21 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Research shows text ads far outperform image ads.

That may be true if you're a Toyota Tundra dealer trying to sell trucks off the lot, or if you're a Toyota Tundra owner who's trying to unload a used truck for "$9,999 or best offer." But if you're Toyota Corp. and you want ranchers, farmers, and construction workers to consider the Toyota Tundra the next time they need a new truck, you'll get better results with display or video ads--and your ad agency will be using metrics like Starch scores (which measure recognition and recal) to determine ad performance.

What's more, if you're Toyota Corp. and you've been spending millions to convince the truck-buying segment of TV news, sports, and talk-show audiences that the the Tundra is competitive with, say, the Ford F-150, you might be thrilled by the opportunity to run "Tundra vs. F-150" comparison ads (whether display ads or video) on Google SERPs for keyphrases like "Ford F-150" or "Ford pickup trucks." What better way to reach a qualified audience with a targeted sales message?

Fact is, direct-response advertising is only the tip of the advertising iceberg, and Google's ambitions obviously go beyond the online equivalent of direct mail, classified ads, or shopping-channel TV spots.

Will video ads on SERPS be effective (and without driving away Google searchers)? Testing was invented to answer questions like that. Google may not tell us the results of its testing, but we'll be able to get a pretty good idea by looking at Google's SERPs a year from now.

tedster




msg:3576809
 8:53 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Fact is, direct-response advertising is only the tip of the advertising iceberg

I'd say you're right about that and about Google's ambitions. I was involved in direct response offline for quite a few years, and there it is often seen as the black sheep! Online marketing, with all its metrics, has definitely raised the "validity" of direct response.

Some of the brand-building and image-ads I see offline are what I would hate to see invading the web, done just because the companies have deep pockets. There's a lot of wasted money in that particular bucket!

However, I have some faith in Google's overall vision, and for the moment I'm going to trust Google's tests and their innovative ability to keep video advertising from devouring the value that the their SERPs have provided to date.

nomis5




msg:3576868
 10:34 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Re EFV and Toyota Corp; video ads in the SERPS may well prove an enticing financial proposition for Google. The reason is the generic nature of the subject. Narrow it down to a particular Toyota model and then it's nto such a good proposition.

But over time Google may realise that searchers are playing a lot of those videos without clicking on the ads. Why? Because the videos are the ads. They will clog up the SERPS eventually with no real return for Google. Unless Google charge "Toyota" per video ad play.

Stick in the mud I may be, but I can't see videos in the SERPS being profitable. The way to go is geographic ads, and I think that's what Google clearly see.

europeforvisitors




msg:3576884
 11:15 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

But over time Google may realise that searchers are playing a lot of those videos without clicking on the ads. Why? Because the videos are the ads. They will clog up the SERPS eventually with no real return for Google. Unless Google charge "Toyota" per video ad play.

I'd expect them to be sold at CPM rates, since they wouldn't be direct-response ads.

Side note: In < some markets > there's a lot of action on the CPM display-ad front. Major airlines, hotel chains, car-rental firms, tourist offices, etc. that were dabbling in search ads a couple of years ago are now running display banners and skyscrapers month after month on any number of medium- to high-traffic sites. As corporate ad dollars migrate to the Web from newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio, it stands to reason that major advertisers aren't going to switch from display ads to the equivalent of classifieds. (Of course, in some cases, they'll use both display ads and text ads, depending on the nature of the campaign, just as they do in print media.)

If you're the Widget Island Tourist Office and you want to make Widget Island the next Aruba, you're going to run ads that show palm trees, sunny beaches, and happy people. CPC text ads with headlines like "Widget Island,7 days for $599" may be fine for targeted promotions, or for travel agencies and tour packagers that are trying to fill airline seats and hotel beds, but they aren't going to build awareness of Widget Island as a sunny vacation paradise.

[edited by: tedster at 11:19 pm (utc) on Feb. 16, 2008]

Webwork




msg:3576941
 12:40 am on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

February 13th 2008 a new "net neutrality" bill is introduced in U.S. Congress.

February 14 2008 Google annouces it will start testing new video ads.

[edited by: Webwork at 1:07 am (utc) on Feb. 17, 2008]

europeforvisitors




msg:3576968
 1:34 am on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Webwork, what are you suggesting? That Google is trying to sabotage the "Net neutrality" bill? :-)

Miamacs




msg:3577478
 1:15 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

... they can fill up the SERPs with as many images as they want to for all I care.

My eyes gravitate AWAY from anything that breaks the formatting I expected to see. Ah... yeah, the results that is.

...

As for the subscription based services... Imagine a box off the self.

MS-Yahoo-Windows-Vista kid-safe anti-phishing popup-blocker built-in-instant-messaging-and-email with anti-virus and news-ticker kinda stuff, lots of aero-whatever GUI tricks. Tied to a web service, and with a toolbar, set to an SE.

'Lookie, dear, Tagret finally sells Search Engines. It's from Bill Gates, that millionaire computer genius guy! I was wonderin' when they'd sell one...'

they could name it windows FireBird *heh* ... How many people would put that box next to some groceries for $6.99 ... with all this 'the web is dangerous, don't trust anyone' mood in the air?

...

not me though, but then again, i don't click ads either
*ha* - gee i'm such a rebel.

...

I'm wondering though how much of those serp-ad clicks are made right after meals ( lunch, dinner ) when our guard is low. uh... they should do a study on that.

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >
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