Google Tests Image-Text Search Ads
Marketers wondering what a product listing ad (PLA) might look like are paying close attention to an experimental image-text search ad that Google is testing. The banner-like ad appears at the top of organic search results.
A screenshot by the Dallas-based Web marketing app maker Synrgy shows a banner ad at the top of the page for Southwest Airlines. Below the image sits a description and hyperlinks that link to landing pages for checking in online, booking award travel, and checking flight status and schedules, along with special offers and customer service.
Search marketers are fully aware of the support from images and text ads. A Harvard Business School study explores the influence that display ads have on search engine marketing. The goal of the study was to determine whether online display ads influence search, if online advertising exhibits dynamic effects, and if so, what implications it would have for the brand's budget.
"We find that display ads significantly increase search conversions," per the study. "Both search and display ads also exhibit significant dynamics that improve their effectiveness and ROI over time."
Aside from increasing search conversion, display also increases search clicks and search advertising costs. The study found that each $1 invested in display and search led to a return of $1.24 for display and $1.75 for search ads, contrasting with the estimated returns based on standard metrics.
The study also found that although "display benefits from attribution, the strong dynamic effects of search call for an increase in search advertising budget share by up to 36% in our empirical context."
Ironically, Cnet points to an interesting post written by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who is the former Google vice president of search products and user experience, explaining how the company would never run banner ads in search results or on the Google home page.