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New branded video search links integrate digital and traditional media

Brands and agencies including Pepsi, Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret and Pedigree have tested new rich media search ads on Yahoo in the US; a UK roll-out is now in the works. No word on Canada, but definitely an approach to watch.

Yahoo has added images and videos to search results advertising with its ‘Rich Ads in Search’ offering.

Along with sponsored results, the Yahoo offering enables brands to put promotional videos in top searches. Victoria’s Secret and Pedigree dog food have added video to their campaigns so far. Click here for the results of sample search for “Victoria’s Secret Pink”, a collegiate collection spring break promotion. It comes out top of the list with a video link icon that’s pretty hard to resist for the Youtube generation.
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGkmhYSbRJBRUA92hXNyoA?p=victoria+secret+pink&y=Search&fr=yfp-t-501&fp_ip=CA&rd=r1&meta=vc%3Dca

The approach is also based on ‘opt in’ versus an unobtrusive ad pop up or static banner, so audiences are much more apt to be receptive to the message.

In the US, participating advertisers’ click-through rates rose by as much as 25% during trials, while brand exposure also increased.The program will be expanded beyond the initial pilot this month, and rolled out internationally.

Yahoo will be charging a monthly fee for its Rich Ads in Search, though the company has said it might revert to the auction-based pricing model in the future.

Rival Google has also been trialling video search listings in the US. Although Yahoo has introduced this search feature, it might be the Google version that causes it to take off. Google sites led the market in December with 63 percent of the searches conducted. Yahoo gained some ground with a 21 percent market share, a .5 percent increase at Google’s expense.

Why do I think this is an important trend? Two reasons:

1. With our recession economy, people are doing more online research before making purchase decisions now than a year ago. (Recent research by Miller Zell Inc in the US reveals that 44% of all respondents were doing more online research than they were a year ago.) More online searches means it is becoming increasingly important to rank at the top of search listings with a compelling reason to click on the link.

2. While TV viewing is becoming increasingly fragmented with multiple stations, time shifting of viewing and commercial skipping, the traditional 30 second spot is getting lost in the shuffle. However, the loss of TV viewing seems to be at the expense of time spent online. Watching videos on Youtube has become increasingly popular and this new offering to embed video in the search engine result feeds the shift in use patterns we have observed, particularly with younger audiences.

Of course if it becomes too popular content will fail to stand out on a page filled with these links. Stay tuned.

Mary Charleson

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