In December, 2005 after the AOL deal was announced, Marissa Mayer declared, “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”
Today Mayer implied that Google is considering allowing ad types other than traditional text ads onto search results on Google.com. The casual comment below was in response to a question about how Universal Search and the inclusion of video and different media types might affect advertising on Google SERPs. However, it was something of a bombshell from my point of view.
Here’s Mayer’s verbatim statement:
Well we don’t have anything to announce on that today. I do think this opens the door for the introduction of richer media into the search results page. We are now going to understand how users interact with that. And as Alan always likes to say search is about finding the best answer, not just the best URL or the best textual snippet.
For us ads are answers as well. Searching ads is just as hard as searching the Web, as searching images. And so I was hoping that we could bring some of these same advances in terms of the richness of media to ads.
The comments are general and non-committal and I don’t want to read too much into them but there are fairly obvious and significant implications (for Google and advertisers) if the company permits display and rich media ads to make their way onto Google.com SERPs.