Banner ads on branded search results

About a month ago , a popular SEO related website  published that Google is running a test to show banner ads on branded search results. While the search giant has introduced images to its ad formats, including product listing ads and image extensions, the introduction of banner ads is a noticeable change for the company. Here is what we managed to find out for you.

What about image banner and text listings?

Despite appearances, the ad is comprised of the image banner only.

What about the box around the banner ad and the organic listing if it’s not one ad unit? 

The outline with the “Sponsored” tag inside does make it appear that the banner image and text listing are part of one giant ad.

Can users click on the banner ad?

Clicking on the banner leads users to the advertiser’s website.

The banners are showing...what?

A Google source referred to this test as a “brand image experiment” when speaking with the Synrgy folks.

What advantage does this type of branded banner give advertisers?

The banners allow brands to take over the ad space on branded search queries and essentially present a branded search results experience.

Why a sudden change on Google’s past stance on banner ads?

Several years ago the company promised banner ads would never come to web search, saying:

What advertisers are participating?

The test is currently live with about 30 advertisers. Including the giant, Virgin America.

How large is this test?
The banner ads are showing for less than 5 percent of search queries.

Has Google officially commented?

A month ago Google was 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.


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