It's Official: AdWords + Widgets = Google Gadget Ads
The portable applications come in standard IAB ad formats, and are built on the Google Gadget API, an open platform that will let advertisers customize the widget's look and feel--as well as pack it with features like RSS feeds, videos and rich media animations. The ads are currently running in an expanded beta phase that includes such advertisers as Pepsi, Intel and Paramount.
Google Gadget Ads are sold on a CPC or CPM basis through AdWords--so advertisers can include them in a standard, auction-based keyword campaign. Marketers have the option to target consumers by keyword, site, demo- or geographic location, and their Gadget Ads will compete against text, images and other ad formats for the placement on pages in Google's content network.
According to Christian Oestlien, Google business product manager, Gadget Ads are also backed by actionable metrics. "In addition to the combination of precision and scale, advertisers get a whole system for tracking interactions. They can specify particular behaviors like mouse-overs or clicking-throughs, and get an interaction report in the AdWords Report Center."
Tracking the Gadget Ads ROI wasn't difficult, according to Bladimiar Norman, head of interactive advertising for Paramount Vantage.
The division of Paramount Pictures was part of the search giant's first gadget trial, promoting "A Mighty Heart" (a thriller based on journalist Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder in Pakistan) through a widget that featured the movie trailer and a news ticker, as well as a clickable timeline that enabled users to relive the 16 months surrounding Pearl's kidnapping.
"Of course, selling tickets is the bottom line," said Norman, "but we were able to track which articles users clicked on, how long they watched the video and whether they shared it with others."
Giving users the ability to share, embed and take widgets with them wherever they go on the Web means that brands have to be willing to give up control over their message.
"That's the reality of where our industry is," said Norman. "There's no ability to protect content once you release it into the marketplace. But by allowing users to take it with them wherever they go--it becomes a virtue of their lifestyle."
Norman added that the exposure from a current events-focused blogger who chose to embed the ad their site would probably be more valuable than other, more traditionally garnered impressions.
The fact that making a Gadget Ads buy was as simple as setting up an AdWords campaign also made the decision to try them easy, said Norman. "It's part of a typical rich media buy--not a different line item. So we get fast deployment from the creative team, to the planner, to live execution--it's superb."