Banner Ads: Coming Soon to Google?

According to SearchEngineLand, Google is now testing out large banner-ads for a select number of brands. The new “sponsored” images are currently appearing in less than 5% of searches run for companies such as Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, and Crate & Barrel. The ads run across the entire top of the search results page, as shown in the image below:

google-full-page-sponsored-image-ad-600x540

 

The experiment is currently limited to the US market. It’s unclear exactly how consumers will react to the new placements which seem to recall the banner-ads that dominated other search engines in the early 2000s. If this program is rolled out on a larger scale, you can expect plenty of talk about Google’s promise in 2005 to never run banner ads (albeit they were probably thinking of the flashing, animated ones typical then).

Google’s motivation for the new ads is unclear as well. Last week they posted their Q3 earnings statement, and beat analyst expectations with a a 36% year-over-year increase in profits. While search continues to move onto mobile devices, Google is capturing a huge portion of that market. Banner ads might let them up desktop ad-prices, but as the market moves in the opposite direction, it seems like shortsighted play. This is assuming, of course, that Google isn’t planning on bringing such banners to mobile searches.

About 

Born in Alaska, Cameron is now a resident of Nashville, TN. He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in English and Political Science. He enjoys following emerging technology and its impact on business. Follow Cameron on Google+, or email him with any questions or comments.

join the discussion

Please login with your social ID above.

4 Comments

  1. Kyle Turco

    Will there be ads for products that are different from what the user searched? At least in the example above a Southwest Airlines banner displays on a search for Southwest Airlines and not an unconnected product/question. I understand that Google promised they wouldn’t run banner ads, but I guess I’m not too bothered by a ‘banner ad’ displaying for the company you searched for.

  2. Sara

    I agree with Kyle, it would not bother me to see an ad for a product or company that I searched for. If Google limited the banner ads to the specific search, it could be beneficial for branding, and not intrusive like the banner ads we commonly think of.

  3. Brnfnk

    From a productivity standpoint, I think that the banner will need to be much thinner before they think of letting it go live. The webpage only allows for two other webpages to be displayed without scrolling. I like how the search queue loads right now, it shows a lot more info including news, history, alternatives and more.

  4. Eric Perry

    I find that these ads will get annoying when you’re looking from a productivity stand point.  It’s more of a hassle and a mind stress when you have to sort through more eye catching information.  Filtering through all that can be tough.  I also don’t foresee Google limiting their ads to just what you search for.  I have a feeling that they will start targeting registered users with ads that aren’t relevant to their searches.  As for prior years ads, that’s one of the wonderful things I’ve liked about google.  They weren’t outrageous and annoying.  I found it very easy to navigate through searches on their page.

  5. Kyle Turco

    Will there be ads for products that are different from what the user searched? At least in the example above a Southwest Airlines banner displays on a search for Southwest Airlines and not an unconnected product/question. I understand that Google promised they wouldn’t run banner ads, but I guess I’m not too bothered by a ‘banner ad’ displaying for the company you searched for.

  6. Sara

    I agree with Kyle, it would not bother me to see an ad for a product or company that I searched for. If Google limited the banner ads to the specific search, it could be beneficial for branding, and not intrusive like the banner ads we commonly think of.

  7. Eric Perry

    I find that these ads will get annoying when you’re looking from a productivity stand point.  It’s more of a hassle and a mind stress when you have to sort through more eye catching information.  Filtering through all that can be tough.  I also don’t foresee Google limiting their ads to just what you search for.  I have a feeling that they will start targeting registered users with ads that aren’t relevant to their searches.  As for prior years ads, that’s one of the wonderful things I’ve liked about google.  They weren’t outrageous and annoying.  I found it very easy to navigate through searches on their page.

  8. Brnfnk

    From a productivity standpoint, I think that the banner will need to be much thinner before they think of letting it go live. The webpage only allows for two other webpages to be displayed without scrolling. I like how the search queue loads right now, it shows a lot more info including news, history, alternatives and more.