Tim Cohn emailed us a screen shot of Google using a new description next to AdWords search ads that appear on Google’s search results, just the word “ads” rather than the long-standing “sponsored links” disclaimer. The company has confirmed this is a test that’s underway.
Here is a screen shot showing the change. See the little word “Ads” above the ad?
Normally, “Sponsored links” appears there. You can see this in the usual screen below:
Although this is a minor text change, it might symbolize a possible early shift in Google going beyond “links” in the AdWords spot. Google has been experimenting with many ad formats in this area and has consistently shown product ads, map ads, image ads and even tested video and other interactive ad units in this area. Labeling this ad frame as a “link” might be too limiting.
Google has confirmed this is an experiment they are running but gave no other comment about it, as is common when they run tests.