Google to Sell Ads Not Related to Searches

Google is today unveiling a new business model for its web advertising program.

Google to Sell Ads Not Related to Searches (NYT | RSS)

Google, which has built a huge business out of small ads related to what people are searching for on the Internet, is now entering the larger and more competitive market of advertising for things people do not know yet that they want to buy. Starting today, Google will test changes to its advertising program that will give advertisers more control over where their ads are shown, how they pay for them and what they look like. For Internet users, the most visible change will be an expanded use of ads with graphics and animation on many of the Web sites for which Google sells advertising, rather than the short text ads that have been Google’s hallmark. For advertisers, the biggest shift will be the option to pay Google simply to show an ad on these sites to a certain number of people, rather than paying only when an Internet user clicks on the ad and is sent to the advertiser’s Web site.

Pay-per-click ads have grown rapidly because they are an economical way for companies to attract traffic, especially to sites where sales can be consummated. But some marketers simply want to build awareness of their products and brands as users surf, and do not need to lure people to their Web sites.

For now, Google is not selling these so-called branding ads on or any of its Web sites. The new program is for Google’s large but somewhat less visible business of selling advertisements that appear on thousands of other sites, ranging from small blogs to sites of major publishers, including The New York Times. Sites may choose not to participate, especially the larger companies that are wary of having Google competing with their own sales operations for their own sites.

Interesting. OTB and scads of blogs participate in Google’s AdSense programs. For less trafficked blogs, which have a difficult time attracting BlogAd buyers, it’s the only way to generate revenue from their sites. One wonders how this will impact that.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.