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Google shows off videos in text ads

Financial analysts are given a refresher course in what Google has been working on with search and search advertising, including videos in text ads.

Google showed off video trailers inside text ads for financial analysts Wednesday.
Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Google sought to remind financial analysts Wednesday that despite all the attention it devotes to projects like Google Apps, staying on top of search and search advertising is what really matters.

The first in a series of investor Webcasts was held Wednesday by Google CFO Patrick Pichette and several other executives, and while the company did not unearth any ground-breaking shifts in strategy or new products, it did cast a spotlight on some recent improvements that the company believes have enhanced the search experience. Perhaps the most notable was the recent addition of video ads directly below text ads on the top or right-hand side of the search results page, which can be played directly on that page.

This started to emerge for some users last week according to ReelSEO, but Google is now offering advertisers a chance to insert a video trailer into their text ads. "In many cases, the best information is video," said Nick Fox, business product management director on Google's AdWords team.

For example, Fox demonstrated how Electronic Arts is using a video trailer inside an ad for the new Tiger Woods video game. The result is a marriage of the text ad format that Google has used to rise into a dominant Internet company with the display ad style that others, such as Yahoo, are hoping to finally make a success.

"Google hasn't made many changes to its text ad format and now sees this as a big opportunity," wrote J.P. Morgan's Imran Khan in a research note distributed after the Webcast. It can charge either by the click through to the advertiser's Web site or by the play of the video, therefore adding a revenue stream that didn't exist before.