Google is testing Media Ads, a paid-search ad unit guaranteed to appear at the top of the query results page. The ad, supported by an expandable video unit, also offers a geolocation feature that supplies show times and places under the trailer, says Adam Stewart, Google director of media and entertainment. He spoke at the ThinkMovie event in Hollywood.
The Media Ads are only available to movie studios today, but Google is considering making the unit available to other advertisers.
Representatives from studios who attended the event and asked for anonymity believe it's a step in the right direction to engage consumers.
Search activity can shed light on movie release schedules and platforms. Google data reveals that search trends for movies grossing more than $100 million continue to increase. Moviegoers searched 1.75-times more per movie in 2010, compared with 2008.
Searches for generic terms rose 22% per year from 2006 to 2009, but in 2010 growth slowed as searches shifted from generic terms to more specific trailer terms on Google and YouTube. Searches on Google rose 51% in 2010, and generic movie terms on YouTube rose 27%.
The increase identified the need for videos in search ads and prompted the new ad unit.
In 2010, 21% of movie titles searches across Google and YouTube were generated on YouTube. Looking at search activity on YouTube reveals the trailer for "Black Swan" earned 16 million views on YouTube. 40% of the video views were generated through YouTube search, while 10% of views came from related videos, according to Google.
Search behavior is a strong indicator of consumer interest. Not only are moviegoers viewing trailers to make decisions on what to see, they are searching for information much earlier in the process. Searches for title terms in the eight weeks prior to release rose 54%, according to Google data.
comScore Video Metrix data released Tuesday reveals 174 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in March for an average of 14.8 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in more than 5.7 billion viewing sessions during the course of the month.
Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in March with 143.2 million unique viewers, followed by AOL with 57.0 million, and Yahoo Sites with 56.4 million viewers. Microsoft Sites ranked fourth with 53.1 million viewers, according to comScore.