It's been quite some time since Google Adwords starting looking at new ad formats via their AdWords New Ad Formats Initiative, well it seems like it is paying off as just last Thursday they announced a whole new ad format called Media Ads. The initiative is working to bring all manner of new formats that bring more relevant ads to the SERP pages making the ads more useful etc. Essentially they want to better match the ads with the searchers so that everyone is happier all around. It makes sense. But there are major limitations on the implementation at present.
So what are these Media Ads?
The AdWords Blog said it best:
Media Ads is a new ad model that introduces new ways to target, pay for, and experience video ads on Google.com. Unlike Video Extensions, which simply attaches a video player to your existing AdWords ads, Media Ads is an entirely standalone format designed to put your videos front and center.
The major difference, these ads are targeted automatically. Google's algorithms determine which ad is directly related to the search keywords put in by a user and shows it. Basically is does this based on the video title and when a good match is found, it is shown at the top of the SERP. This comes from their findings that when someone is searching for a movie title, they want a trailer usually.
There are also no bids on Media Ads. You pay a flat rate for each click on your videos. That means you can more easily estimate your spending and create a more stable campaign since you will know exactly how much you are spending each period.
We CAN put a price on clicks.
Finally, the Media ads are shown via Lightbox to give the theater, lights out, experience. That means that it will prominently feature that video and block out much of the other content on the SERP while the ad is playing. This will certainly cut down on multitasking while the ad runs. That is exactly what they are aiming for with Media Ads according to the blog.
Don't go looking for these just yet. Google tells us that they're still in limited release for major motion picture studios right now. That means that we might never actually get a chance to use them. The plan is to slowly roll it out to other industries but Google is calling the shots on it all meaning they will determine when and who and that's about it.
It makes sense for them to aim at movie studios, but what about television? What about companies who are generating online video content? If I go search for a title of some video I generally want either a link to see the video or a trailer if it's TV/film. What about if it's web content? I could see trailers becoming the norm for promotion of new online video content as well. Sure it would be sort of silly, after all, the SERP should be loaded down with links to the content anyway since it's online.
No, this doesn't really work well for the online video industry, it might work for CPG (consumer packaged goods) who would repurpose their ads from say TV for this. It could definitely work for the automotive and travel industries, with the Media Ads being a clip about the model or destination searched for. Tie that into local search and you could have a link to your local dealer or travel agency put right into the ads in the future. That would definitely be far more useful.
Film trailer Media Ads could easily pull your location based on geo-IP-targeting and then link to theatres that are showing the film in question as the final frames of the Media Ads or the advertisers could simply point to the film's main site, which I don't see being quite as useful in driving people to convert.
A question I have is, how long did they sit around and think about this? Hopefully not long because really, it's not going to apply to a broad range of advertisers for some time. Once they can tie in local and maybe store locater, then it could be really useful and interesting for a wider range of advertisers and industries. I suspect they've probably thought of that and it's the future.