Q&A: Google Video Ads in Search Results?
Ian Lurie Sep 9 2007
Ramin asks three questions:
“I just read this blog on wired: http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/09/google-discusse.html
If this is actually true, what do you think this will do for the user experience when searching? Will it have a negative experience or will it enhance the search experience. Is this another step toward total convergence between TV and the web? Ultimately will this force all companies to jump behind video? Will we all have to have a video commercial to represent our brand or product that appears in the sponsored search results?”
“If this is actually true, what do you think this will do for the user experience when searching?”
To function, advertising must disrupt. An effective PPC ad makes you stop and read it. So does a banner ad or a TV commercial. Video ads are no different.
I think that, when Fox says Google is going to move cautiously, he means it. Current Google video ads look like this:
That’s a lot of real estate. If you try to blend that into regular search results, it’s going to fundamentally alter the Google search result pages – and that would be a first. Expect to see Google experimenting with different video sizes and shapes, as well as click-to-display formats where the user has to click a link to see the video at all.
So, Google has options along a spectrum that starts with zero disruption and no value for the advertiser, and total disruption, maximum value for the advertiser, but real damage to the user experience.
Google could force users to either completely ignore the video ads or change the way they review search results. Right now, as a Google user, I run my search and then skim rapidly down the page. The so-called â€œgolden triangleâ€, where most users focus, will go away.
Or, Google can make ads that are easily ignored or turned off. But will that have any value for advertisers? I don’t think so.
Google will have to find the right balance. I’m betting that a creative solution that allows videos to appear when the user rolls over an ad thumbnail or something similar will win out.
Is this another step toward total convergence between TV and the web?
I don’t think so. Savvy media companies are already using ads produced for TV and video online. Adobe Flash graphics appear on television. This won’t accelerate convergence. It may make online video advertising a more legitimate option, though.
Another definitely side effect: Expect to see a lot of startups that attempt to make video advertising creation cheap and easy. Right now even the simplest ad requires tools that the average business owner has no time to purchase or learn. If the biggest online advertising venue – Google – blends video into search results, that’ll change.
Ultimately will this force all companies to jump behind video? Will we all have to have a video commercial to represent our brand or product that appears in the sponsored search results?
I can’t speak for Google, but I’d be very, very surprised if they did anything to reduce the flow of cash from text-based Adwords. Traditional pay per click ads (Adwords) are their cash cow.
Smart marketers will use video if that medium contributes significantly to communicating their message. If I sell cars, video’s interesting. If I sell books, or computers, or meat (sorry Wired), I would rather stick with text.
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CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More