Google Testing Huge Banner Image Ad In Search Results

Oct 24, 2013 • 8:25 am | comments (31) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

@SynrgyHQ posted an image of a search result that I felt was a joke, it couldn't be real. I immediately emailed Google and they confirmed within ten minutes that this as a small test they are running in the United States.

Here is the test:

click for full size

Yes, the image ad takes up virtually the whole entire top of the screen.

Of course, the ad is tasteful and very relevant to the query. It is someone searching for the airline name and getting an airline branded image.

But my, this is Google showing such a huge image in their search results.

Of course, Google in 2005 said:

There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.

I am afraid to ask what you all think of this?

Forum discussion at Google+ and Twitter.

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10/24/2013 12:29 pm

Lol a bit pointless to say the least as the searcher already knows the brand and most likely just searching in googl,e because they cant be bothered to type at website address.... But the real point really is.... google plans taking this to non brand searches!


10/24/2013 12:35 pm

World's Biggest Favicon?

Mathew Porter

10/24/2013 12:44 pm

From that image you can gather a few things... Its a brand term, the image is brand reinforcement maybe rather than an actual banner add that would try to direct the user to do something. It may also be an extension that integrates with G+ and takes a companies cover photo... Just some thoughts on it.

Stephane Brault

10/24/2013 12:52 pm

Will they be hit by the page layout algo?

Sean Burton

10/24/2013 12:56 pm

There could be some real benefit for brands if its possible to customise the image to include their latest running offers/promotions.

Chris Rutter

10/24/2013 01:24 pm

My thoughts exactly. Google wants more people to use more G+ and this sort of image seems to be a direct port from it.

Lloyd Morris-Fletcher

10/24/2013 01:50 pm

I think it's a great step. As mentioned below, it offers strong brand reinforcement when (and only if Google keeps it this way) a brand term search is completed. One of the major floors I see with PPC ads is that it can take direct attention away from companies by offering paid ads before organic ones. Meaning competitors with bigger wallets have a chance to hijack potential customers, especially for smaller brands or start-ups. This will offer the chance to take back your SERPs! There will still be many, many people who don’t put the effort in to establish this within Google (see Authorship & Rel=Publisher) but this is rewarding for those who do.


10/24/2013 02:26 pm

Well, then be prepared to see huge Lloyd's banner, while doing search for "Lloyd Morris-Fletcher". Otherwise buy the ad space to keep your "brand reinforcement" ))


10/24/2013 02:37 pm

I don't understand how we, users, will benefit from this. Google is all about users, isn't it ? ) Why do I need huge banner in front of my eyes when I search for the exact brand name ? Can't understand the logic. I don't search to see the banner of the company I search about, but to get information about/from the company. There is something unhealthy in this no-matter-what-monetization.

David McSweeney

10/24/2013 03:35 pm

The trend of organic results getting pushed further and further down the page continues then. While researching an article for my blog recently I found an interesting survey result, which found that 81% of users clicked on adwords results and 41% didn't even realise they were clicking on an ad. although to be fair... It's a really nice looking plane.


10/24/2013 03:50 pm

The logic behind this: more money for Google.

Ali Husayni

10/24/2013 04:01 pm

can you share the article David?


10/24/2013 04:44 pm

Granted, this is just a test and they do tests all the time... Why would Google want to basically brand their SERPs with another companies logo and images? It is obvious that you are still on a Google property...but the screen, and the area that people performing searches actually pay attention to, is dominated by a big, full color, advertisement in a sea of white. I wouldn't be surprised to never see this make it to the 'full rollout' stage.

Sean Murray

10/25/2013 01:47 am

Never say "Ever"

Praveen Sharma

10/25/2013 04:57 am

It should not come out as shocking... We all know what Google says and what they do (specially in cases like these).

Jitendra Vaswani

10/25/2013 05:16 am

It is looking nice :)


10/25/2013 11:32 am

Seriously Google are looking so desperate these days to squeeze any more money they can out of advertisers, its pathetic. They should change Pagerank to ShareholderRank


10/25/2013 12:34 pm

its look nice n i dont tink it'll give any bad impact on google SERP


10/25/2013 12:37 pm

I have a plan for Google. Introduce monthly payment system to use your search engine. You can generate more money by that !

Bob L

10/25/2013 12:43 pm

You have to admit, with this query it is highly unlikely that they were looking for anything but the result that Google is charging for. If you are Southwest, you might have an argument that they shouldn't be running any other ads against that query. Oh wait... others have tried that one. This might not be evil, but it is one of those cases where (in your best Tony Soprano voice) "it would be a shame if the SERP's included ads from no one but your competition. I'm just sayin'. I would gladly sell this space to you."

TheeDesign Studio

10/25/2013 12:49 pm

This particular banner looks nice and simple but what is to stop a brand from creating an obnoxious ad calling out their low fares special or something? I also wonder how much the CPC is.

Duane McLennan

10/25/2013 01:12 pm

Why not give a brand control over it's own SERP request for a fee. In this scenario, I don't think it's a bad idea, if only limited to extremely specific brand related queries. If someone Google's one of my websites brands, I have very little control over what is displayed. This would alleviate that issue.

Duane McLennan

10/25/2013 01:13 pm

If a brand determines that they want to be obnoxious, then shame on their marketing team for that one.


10/25/2013 04:34 pm

The issue that I see coming from all this is scalability. If an image is on southwest airlines for southwest and is tasteful, sure. But how are they going to vet brand images for tastefulness? How are they going to make sure brand names don't coincide with search terms that are getting dominated with that image?

Delwar Jahan

10/25/2013 07:19 pm

Then they will be doomed and Microsoft will be happy...... wait. wait.. I might have seen you in the MS office.

Kenneth von Rauch

10/25/2013 09:46 pm

O tempora, o mores. What else can we say?!

Warren Chandler

10/26/2013 03:08 am

In find that really odd and I can only imagine the mess Google could cause with this. Plus, is it me or does that results page look like it's from Yahoo in 1995?


10/26/2013 05:07 am

Why is Google contracting themselves, if in 2005, they said there will be no banner ads in search result, why are they now testing to show banners ads in search results? Will the banner ads appear for every search or for selected few?

Mathew Porter

10/28/2013 10:12 am

Now that would go against the statement / quote from them in this article Mr Barrington.


10/28/2013 02:08 pm

It's not only you, that banner does look like Yahoo 1995, or windows default screen saver.

Vivek Darak

10/31/2013 06:08 pm

This is something unusual with Google. Even I encountered it a Couple of Days ago in (google India) of-course not on brand search. You can check it out at here

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