Google AdSense Ads Get Special "Featured Ads" With Stars

Nov 18, 2009 • 8:45 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdSense

There are reports at both DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld that Google AdSense is testing a new ad format. The new ad format has "featured ads" within the ad units, with little yellow stars next to them.

I was to hunted down an ad myself to confirm it is real. I spotted the ad on, here is a screen capture:

Google AdSense Feature Ad

The ad, as you can see, has a yellow star next to it and if you mouse over the star, it using a title attribute that reads "Featured Ad."

I was only able to replicate this once...

There has been no word from Google on this yet, I will do my best to get an official statement shortly.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld.

Update: Google sent me a statement confirming this test. They said:

We are currently running a limited test in which a small number of users are seeing ads that are marked based on signals related to quality and relevance. This experiment is part of our ongoing efforts to help users find what they're looking for, and we're closely monitoring feedback.

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11/19/2009 01:12 pm

That ad has been appeared on my site too...I immediately make a research and came across your blog. I hope you can come out with an answer soon. (sometimes this is the craziness about the internet world...We got SHOCKED with 'tiny' little things)


11/19/2009 01:18 pm

Sorry, you already posted an answer. At first I just don't realize it. Thanks for the hunt down.

No Name

11/19/2009 09:27 pm

it would be interesting we can get few more ad impressions last post :

No Name

12/25/2009 11:03 am

I've got one appearing on my index page. The system still needs tweaking, as the ad that is appearing as featured isn't country specific - the ad shown is for Namibia, and I am currently in Sweden. Also, if Google are going to feature ads, then the regulations imposed on Adsense publisher's should be relaxed too.

No Name

04/11/2010 03:22 pm

i am seaing the the featured ad on my website and try to find the official statement from google & let's hope update is comming soon, thanks


04/23/2010 01:57 pm

I'am not sure if i would first click on these featured ads? I think the text is more relevant.

Jess Sayen

05/12/2010 03:05 am

Yes, I saw the same thing and did a search when I came upon your site, it turned out that <a href="">Sell My Home</a> was displaying a featured ad and it was an unfamiliar feature that Google had presented in its ad display. I am sure your information about what your research shows is correct. Congratulations your achievement as an excellent and informative blog.

No Name

05/15/2010 01:24 pm

I have been seeing this now on the first german sites like and here the featured ad is called "vorgestellte anzeige" (which means the same) but the sign is a light bulb. Looks rather strange. No information about that new AdSense feature from Google yet?

Jerry Nordstrom

05/19/2010 08:56 pm

What we have seen are ads that show a small lightbulb instead of a star. Bright idea to click on it perhaps? At anyrate since Google does not show advertisers if we have a start/light bulb we are not able to track the success of such an elevation in status. It also begs the question, will they put a question mark or similar next to 5/10 QS ads?

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