Google is currently testing large banner ads which sit atop certain branded search queries.

The search engine firm confirmed the trial in a statement: “We’re currently running a very limited, US-only test, in which advertisers can include an image as part of the search ads that show in response to certain branded queries.

“Advertisers have long been able to add informative visual elements to their search ads, with features like Media Ads, Product Listing Ads and Image Extensions.”

Although the large banners are currently being trailed exclusively in the US, if it proves successful in increasing a businesses click-through rate, it could potentially develop into something more permanent on the search engine giant’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Currently only 30 advertisers are participating in the scheme, including Virgin American, Crate & Barrel and Southwest Airlines.

The banners are currently only showing on a reported five per cent of these branded search queries however. It is also important to note that the new banner is separate from the organic listings, rather than a combined ad. It is unclear at present as to how much Google is charging for the banner ads.

Whether the search engine giant decides to make the move permanent remains to be seen however, as, in 2005, a certain Marissa Mayer – then still a beacon of light at Google, rather than the boss of one of its rivals – said there would never be any PPC banner ads on the Google homepage and SERPs, something this latest trial obviously goes completely against.

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About the author:

Martin Boonham is an online copywriter for ClickThrough Marketing, he has worked there since October 2012. He has a Masters in Print Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, where he also gained his NCTJ qualification at the same time; achieving qualifications in subbing, shorthand and media law.