Ever since Universal Search hit Google, we have been noticing flavors of video thumbnails and static images left aligned on the Google search results. A WebmasterWorld thread has discussion around this latest format and some are happy with it, while others are not.
Here is a picture of a subset of a Google search results:
You tell me, which one will catch your eye first? Likely the one with the image next to it on the right. So, this can be a great way to get your search results more exposure, and a higher click through rate, which might result in a higher conversion rate for your site. At the same time, if you are the listing above the one with the image, you are likely to see a drop in CTR, due to the result directly below. So this can help some webmasters, while hurt others.
Here is a poll on this topic, would love to see the responses:
Clearly, adding videos and images to your site, will help you gain the exposure over your competitors. The WebmasterWorld thread discusses various methods on how to get these images near your search result.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.