Google Set To Test New “Product Ads”

    June 22, 2009

A limited number of users may soon see pricing info and images of merchandise appearing alongside Google’s search results.  The company is testing what it calls "product ads," and these should represent an interesting departure from Google’s usual way of doing things. 

Google Logo

Google started inviting advertisers to participate in a beta program late last week.  According to an email, product ads will appear in the Sponsored Links section and "complement" standard text ads.  Their pretty pictures and pricing info should appeal to consumers.

Then, from an advertiser’s perspective, here are the other interesting parts.  As stated in the email Philipp Lenssen obtained, "Unlike keyword targeted text ads, product ads appear when the user’s query matches information provided in your product feed."

Also, advertisers "pay only when users make a purchase on your site. . . .  You specify the commission rate for conversions that take place via clicks on Google product ads."

So the use of Google Base is being encouraged (or really, made mandatory), but Google’s not concerning itself with clicks that don’t result in sales.  On the whole, this seems like something that advertisers may really appreciate.

The timeline of the product ads program – along with specifics about those commission rates – remains unknown, however, so it might be a while before it comes into heavy use.