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Google Gadget Ads Rolling Out

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Today Google is announcing the wider availability of Google Gadgets in ad format, something that has been in testing for months. Several advertisers are cited as happy beta partners, including Intel, Six Flags, and a fizzy beverage company.

They’re considered "non-traditional ad units with rich, interactive capabilities." Google further explains that you might want to think of these as "mini versions of your website" in any AdSense ad size.

At this early stage, I wonder if the poster examples – Pepsi, Intel, Six Flags – really make the most sense as "gadget oriented" or "widget oriented" players.

Also, positioning widgets/gadgets as paid ads puts a new spin on something that no doubt cropped up in the grassroots as a tactic for viral marketing. I come up with a widget that gives your website something unique & cool, like relevant content or a customizable toy of some sort… your users enjoy themselves… I get traffic and brand awareness in return.

The new math would be: I as a creator of said unit have to rely less on the compellingness of the widget/gadget to your user base, because now I’ll be willing to actually pay you to put it there. Where does Google come in? Well, they have a content network, so they’re facilitating the distribution of the ads, as usual.

Recall, flash and video ads were already part of the AdSense menu. So a gadget takes it up another level – offering custom functionality of some sort.

There are editorial policies governing Google Gadget Ads. These include "not exceeding 50% utilization of a user’s computer" through things like "heavy animation sequences."

More to come on this.

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