Google Brings Brand Advertising to Search

In May, 2007 this bombshell came out of the Google “searchology” event, which I attended:

I do think this [Universal Search] opens the door for the introduction of richer media into the search results page. We are now going to understand how users interact with that. And as Alan always likes to say search is about finding the best answer, not just the best URL or the best textual snippet.

For us ads are answers as well. Searching ads is just as hard as searching the Web, as searching images. And so I was hoping that we could bring some of these same advances in terms of the richness of media to ads.

— Marissa Mayer

Google has been showing video on search results pages for months. Now Google is experimenting with delivery of video advertising on results. There have been various experiments in the past, mostly notably the “Bourne Ultimatim” campaign in which a “plus box” allowed users to open a video module and watch a trailer on

What’s radical here is that this brings brand advertising to — search is already a branding medium but this makes it more obviously so — but with the directional efficacy of search. Brand advertising in the form of display ads enjoys limited success out on the Internet, which is why behavioral targeting and other more interactive units (e.g., AdMission’s Spotlight Ads and Linkstorm menu overlays) have been hailed as the key to making brand advertising more effective for marketers and more appealing and helpful to consumers.

But the genius of bringing video to (and concealing it behind a plus box) is that users won’t see the adds unless they affirmatively click to expand and play them. This means that response rates will be higher because of the “directional” behavior inherent in search (and the act of “opting in”).

Whether or not the DoubleClick acquisition closes (it probably will) Google has a powerful branding vehicle in YouTube, not to mention Gadget Ads and Video for AdSense. But now with video ads in AdWords on the homepage it has created a vehicle that will likely become a dramatic success. (It will also be applied to local advertisers eventually, either directly or indirectly via YP publishers and others selling those ads.).


4 Responses to “Google Brings Brand Advertising to Search”

  1. cohn Says:

    The question is: How long will it take brands to capitalize on the new “directional efficacy” of Google Adwords Video, i.e, field and then hand off the search to dealers or representatives who can fulfill the intent of the searcher’s brand specific query or not.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    There’s a question about the “hand off” part, but it won’t take long for brands to utilize video on search results. Most agencies right now that do interactive are putting their commercial on YouTube.

    In some of those contexts search is being used to just point to the video on YouTube.

    In addition, Google has a sales force in NY that works with large accounts and they’ll be working with those folks to figure out how best to utilize this.

  3. Tim Cohn Says:

    It seems to me, the rubber would really hit the road with a return on the brand advertisers investment. I don’t know whether the intellectual property that could potentially bear such a result is capable of being birthed from within either side at this point.

    The resulting solution and product would surely and inevitably intersect the strategic vector of both Google and YouTube.

  4. Turning Display Ads into ‘Search’ « Screenwerk Says:

    […] units such as Linkstorm’s overlays, widgets (e.g., Google Gadget Ads), brand advertising in search results (e.g., video),and other interactive display platforms such as Admission’s dynamic […]

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