Google Tests Video Ads Within Search Results

Google has begun testing promoted video ads in search results, in a move aimed at broadening its ad capabilities to include more multimedia rather than just links.

The search juggernaut is keeping silent on any details, but it makes sense for it to be getting on board with video ads, as other search engines do the same.

Earlier this month, The SEM Post’s Jennifer Slegg reported that Bing and Yahoo were showing video ads within their search results. The Bing results include an expandable thumbnail with a play symbol; once clicked, the auto-play video pushes down the search results and becomes larger. After the ad is over, it collapses and the SERP returns to normal. Yahoo’s ads work similarly, except they include the word “Play,” as well as captions and the option to replay.

According to Jay Marwaha, chief executive of analytics platform SYNTASA, Google may be late to the game, but the fact that it owns YouTube will help it quickly surpass the others.

“All those ads have to reside somewhere,” Marwaha says. “Most of them are going to be residing or stored in YouTube, and then I think the way the ads will be displayed, they’ll be linked to YouTube.

It’s not just other search engines focusing on video advertising at the moment. Earlier this year, Twitter introduced auto-play video, as well as GIFs and Vines to its timelines. Facebook, which had already incorporated auto-play video into Newsfeeds, introduced videos to its Audience Network two weeks ago.

According to a February study by Ad Age and RBC Royal Bank, 9 percent of U.S. marketers are already running auto-play ads on Facebook, while 54 percent are at least somewhat likely to purchase them within the next six months. As Facebook continues to be a player in the video space, it’s become YouTube’s most formidable opponent.

However, Marwaha believes that if Google does go down the video ad road, the diversity of the company’s offerings will allow it to pull ahead of its competitors fairly quickly.

“It’s the largest search engine with auto-play video ad real estate and then Google search and then YouTube, and you have Google Analytics on top of that,” Marwaha says. “It’s going to provide a much better combination package to advertisers looking to optimize their spend, compared with Facebook or Yahoo or Bing.”


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