Google is considering putting large banner ads atop search results for brand names.
The only issues is that many people have very good memories and remember then-vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, wrote a blog post saying that the company would never run banner ads in search results or on the Google home page.
Here is the official statement:
There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.
Hmmmm, so what’s changed?
A Google spokesperson confirmed it is simply a “small experiment” running currently in the U.S. market.
We’re currently running a very limited, US-only test, in which advertisers can include an image as part of the search ads that show in response to certain branded queries.
The test was discovered when digital marketing company, Synrgy, posted an image on Twitter showing a search result for ‘Southwest Airlines’, featuring a large ‘sponsored’ ad at the top. The ad seems to take up most of the screen, and the majority of search results are pushed below the fold.
According to a source at Google, the “brand image experiment” is live with about 30 advertisers, including Crate & Barrel and Virgin America, however it is showing for less than 5% of search queries.
If the test is successful, Google told The Guardian it won’t be charging more for the banner ads, they will simply be part of AdWords.