Back in 2005, Google made a promise to never run big, splashy banners on its pages: “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”
That blog post was written by former VP of Search Products & User Experience Marissa Mayer. Mayer is long gone from the company — she’s now the CEO of Yahoo — and her promise is too, it appears.
Google confirmed to SearchEngineLand it is running a “small experiment” with banners:
Update: The team at Synrgy has learned from a source at Google that the “brand image experiment” is live with about 30 advertisers, including Crate & Barrel and Virgin America. The test is showing for less than 5 per cent of search queries.
Bigger more intrusive ads are becoming a trend at Google. We showed you yesterday how the company just
incentivized advertisers to use “ad extensions”— the add-on links that make search ads bigger and more obvious on the page. Google also penalizes advertisers who don’t use ad extensions by lowering their “Adrank” when it returns results for searches.
The New York Times says the new ads “come as Google battles a slowing desktop search business and falling ad prices.”
That sentence is technically correct but is a misleading way of thinking about Google’s revenues. More searches are moving from desktop to mobile, but as Google’s Q3 revenues show, that’s turning out to be a huge advantage for Google. Google recently changed its ad-buying system, forcing advertisers to use an “enhanced campaigns” dashboard that makes less of a distinction about what types of devices ads are displayed on as long as the results are relevant.
The only reason Google sees “falling ad prices” right now is because it has gotten a huge increase in paid clicks, up 26% over the prior year. Those extra clicks generate extra ads, and extra supply makes things cheaper. Advertisers are showing more ads for less money, in other words — which benefits Google in the long run because it makes Google campaigns look better in comparison to those running on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or any of its other competitors.
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