Yahoo and Google spice up ad offerings
The battle to build the best Internet search engine gets plenty of press.
But with the economy in the doldrums, the Internet giants are also engaged in a heated race to improve their advertising offerings.
On Monday, Yahoo unveiled a self-serve display advertising service which allows companies to create their own online ads.
The service is aimed at small, local businesses that aren’t served by the Yahoo sales team and the account managers that cater to larger advertisers. According to Yahoo, businesses using the new self-serve ad product can choose from more than 800 display ad templates to run across the Yahoo network of Web sites, and opt to pay on a per click or a per impression basis.
Meanwhile, Google plans to begin testing a new type of ad unit to better showcase products in the sponsored links that appear alongside search results.
According to an email that Google sent out to advertisers, posted on blogoscoped.com, the ads will feature product pricing and a product image.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to test a method of showing “richer” product information in ads for shopping-related search queries. The test will only be visible to a small number of US users.
Last month Google lifted restrictions on placing trademarked terms in marketing copy of the text-based ads that appear alongside its search results, a move Google said would improve the quality of its ads.
Why all the activity? Internet companies are being forced to work harder for their money, with spending on web ads under pressure. Once unthinkable, total online ad spending in the US actually declined 5 percent year-over-year in the first quarter. That was the first drop in online advertising since 2002, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.