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Friday, February 20, 2009

Yahoo Results Show Image Ads

Old is the new new in times of recession, and Yahoo now integrates imagery in its search result ads. Try searching for pedigree, and you’ll see a video thumbnail inviting you to play a video. Click it and a commercial expands within the Pedigree-sponsored banner area. (“C’mon Rusty... let’s go for a walk...”) A search for staples on the other hand results in a mere accompanying image, which leads to the target site when clicked on.

Yahoo is calling this Rich Ads, according to the New York Times, which quotes Yahoo’s Tim Mayer saying this “moves the advertising experience from just the blue links, to a more engaging experience for advertisers” (for advertisers). The NYT writes “Yahoo is charging a monthly fee for the service, versus the auction-based pricing of search advertising, which Mr. Mayer said Yahoo might use in the future.” For now “only certain large, brand-focused advertisers” (like SoBe, Pepsi and Home Depot) were part of the prototypical program.

The report goes on to mention that one advertiser saw around a 5-10% increase in click rates, or, according to Yahoo, there was as much as a 25% increase for these ads. However, that’s only a short-term measurement, and in the long term it’s crucial that one takes effect of growing banner blindness into account. You may more strongly notice something that’s different in search result, but once you get accustomed to it, you may or may not blend it out a bit more.

Yahoo compartnitor Google so far shied away from bringing plain ad banners in search results – in 1999, Sergey Brin noted that “Banners are not working” – but they had some of the following:

[Thanks Juha-Matti Laurio and Stephen Shankland!]


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