Google is reportedly going to test visual ads in its search results instead of the usual small text ads. The big question is what the reaction will be?
According to Saul Hansell at the New York Times' Bits blog, Google has begun experimenting with video ads on some search results pages. "Some" is the operative word here--I've been conducting a bunch of searches and haven't spotted one yet.
These newfangled ads will have images, interactive maps and other features. These visual ads will turn up in video and image searches. Add it up and Google is putting display ads in its search results. Maybe these video/interactive things will be in snazzy formats, but it's essentially a display ad. If this works it's likely display-type ads will make it to its text-based search results.
From a business perspective, Google's move makes total sense. After all, Google has acquired DoubleClick, which serves up display ads. Meanwhile, Google has been tinkering with video advertising--especially on YouTube. But if Google wants scale, these ads will have to hit search results at some point. Google reassures folks that it's not going to go banner ad happy.
The big question is whether folks will stand for these little experiments. Unless Google goes super garish I doubt people--beyond a few outspoken bloggers--will really care much after the initial shock.
I'm awaiting the broader rollout and Wall Street chatter about how this move will impact revenue growth.