Reports have been coming through about a new Google AdWords format being tested on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
It seems that Google is exploring the idea of offering a plus box option for sponsored ads, where users can expand the ad to view actual product listings (with pictures) by the advertiser.
At this stage, the new format has only been available when searching for “diamonds” or “blue nile” in the US version of Google. Under both searches, the Blue Nile ad displays a little [+] next to the listings which expands to display 3 actual products from the Blue Nile range.
The expanded product ads have been viewed in both the top sponsored ad positions and the right hand side spots, as captured in the images below:
Many SEO purists are concerned that the expanding ads in the top position will push organic listings too far down the page. In my opinion, its “much ado about nothing” as the default when the results page loads is the contracted version of the ads.
If a user chooses to expand the ads, then they’ve made the decision to view the product listings, and accordingly focus on the sponsored listings over the organic ones.
A similar AdWords test which include product listings in ads was reported at the start of this year. But the new version with images could be a sign that Google is closer to launching the format as a permanent option.
At this stage, it seems that the advertisers will need to submit their products to Google via Google base, with the listings somehow linked to their AdWords campaign/s.
No official release has been made by Google with specifications and details on the new ad format, but should it generate enough interest from advertisers, I’m sure we’ll see it added to the constantly evolving Google AdWords platform.