new ad programme being trialled on Google could
see images used on the previously text-only site
engine giant Google plans for the first time
to sell ads that include images, a surprise
reversal for a company that has won regard for
its pioneering use of text-only marketing
pitches and for keeping its home page
religiously free of banner advertising.
posting on the company's Web site describes
the new programme, which will allow customers to
place image, or banner, ads on third-party Web
sites that participate in its Adsense programme.
Adsense promises to place ads on Web pages that
are relevant to a marketer's message, based on
an analysis of the page's content.
posting noted that Google will not put image ads
on its own site for now, but said it looks
"forward to offering more image ad
distribution options in the future."
image ad programme launched late on
Wednesday in a beta, or test, version, said Tim
Armstrong, Google's vice president of
advertising sales. He said the decision to wade
into banners came after nine months of
interviews with Web surfers, publishers and
advertisers, and was based on what he called
Google's core mission.
noise in the advertising market is really going
up over ROI (return on investment)," he
said. "There was a pretty clear signal from
advertisers that there is an opportunity to use
Google's relevance technology for images as well
as text. Over the last 14 months, we've been
able to grow a network of content publishers
[that use Adsense] and the message was to make
it more useful."
just a few years, Google has grown from a
start-up to an Internet giant, thanks in large
part to an advertising programme modelled on the
ground-breaking efforts of Yahoo's Overture
Services division. Both companies auction search
keywords to the highest bidder and ask customers
to pay only when Web surfers click on
far, these pitches have steered clear of
designs incorporating images, which have been
deemed a distraction that would likely diminish
the end user's experience. Although it's not
clear image ads will be coming to Google's own
site any time soon, the company is poised to put
them to its first test, potentially opening the
door for wider use.
move puts Google more firmly into the camp
of Internet advertising network providers such
as DoubleClick, a company that came to define
intrusive Web advertising during the dot-com
attention-grabbing methods could help make
up for shortfalls in Google's relevance
technology, which has not proven as clear a
winner on ordinary Web pages as its has
alongside lists of its search results. Google's
Armstrong declined to discuss response rates for
AdSense, saying that the company is continuing
to innovate to improve relevance and return on
investment for its advertisers.
FAQ describing the new programme, Google
said it would offer four layouts of varying
sizes: leaderboard, banner, skyscraper and
medium rectangle. The image ads will be limited
to 50KB in size -- much larger than the typical
1KB-2KB for text-only ads. Nevertheless, Google
said the limit will ensure that the images have
a minimal effect on load time for most sites.
added that Google will include a "user
bar" along the bottom of its image ads
displaying the address of the site ads link to,
a feedback button to let users send messages
about an ad directly to Google, and an "Ad
by Google" label.
is looking to expand its advertising
programmes as it prepares
for an initial public offering that could
value the company at more than $25bn.
company has already gone well past its bread and
butter Adwords search engine advertising
recent weeks it has reversed a policy
restricting the sale of trademarked terms to
non-trademark holders and has begun testing a
system for automatically matching ads to
from US search-engine marketing will reach
$2.1bn in 2004, up from $1.6bn last year,
according to Jupiter Research. By 2008, sales
are expected to hit $4.3bn.
to a securities filing, Google generated
$961.9m in revenue in fiscal 2003 and posted
$105.6m in net profit. That marked the third
consecutive year of profits for the Web's most
popular search engine. During the most recent
quarter, which ended 31 March, Google collected
$389.6m in revenue and posted a $64m profit.
image ad programme was noted on Wednesday on
online newsletter Search Engine Journal.
have been some questions about whether Google is
getting away from core business, and I feel that
we're not," Armstrong said. "The
thought from four years ago was to come up with
a way to create better relevancy for ads. We've
done that with text ads, and that's how we've
come to this."
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