Here’s something you probably haven’t seen unless you’re a Microsoft employee:
The screenshot above shows a Honda logo icon placed inside a Live Search sponsored search ad. It comes to us from a Search Engine Land reader doing search marketing in the auto industry, who explained how it happened: “I’ve been told by Microsoft reps that I should not be seeing this (it’s not even in pilot yet), but our IP has probably been erroneously targeted as internal.”
The ad shown above is essentially an exact duplicate of the one that currently shows to all users on a search for “honda,” but with the company logo showing in between the ad’s headline and the URL.
If this is something Microsoft is planning to roll out into Live Search, they’ll be joining an already existing trend toward branded and graphical search ads. Earlier this week, we wrote about an expanded Google AdWords favicon test. Last fall, we wrote about thumbnail images showing on AdWords ads in Google Images. And Yahoo recently announced Rich Ads in Search, which places video or images in paid ads.