Marissa Mayer penned a blog post more than seven years ago as Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, promising the company would never implement banner advertisements on the Google homepage or as part of search results.
It would now seem that the search giant is going back on their word as the company is testing massive banner advertisements in search results for specific brands. The ads, which resemble a cover photo like you’d find on a Facebook profile, were first discovered by digital marketing company Synrgy and have since been confirmed by a Google spokesperson.
Google said they are running a very limited test in the US with just five percent of search queries and roughly 30 advertisers including Crate & Barrel, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America. I searched for these brands from my own computer but was unable to see any queries with full-sized banner ads.
As The Verge correctly points out, the ads may likely drive more traffic than a traditional text-based search ad (and command more money from the advertiser) but they do so at the expense of related search results – pushing them much further down the page than they otherwise would be without the giant banner advertisement.
How do you feel about Google experimenting with such ads and the very real possibility that they could become a mainstay? Do you think it would nudge you toward using a different browser or is it not really that big of a deal to you? Let us know in the comments below!