In a quest to blast their already soaring profits further up into the stratosphere, Google will test a cost-per-impression bidding model for AdWords ads, letting advertisers specify groups of sites or specific sites in Google’s ad network.
Instead of the current cost-per-clickthrough method used for text listings on its search and content networks, advertisers would set a maximum cost-per-thousand impressions price.
Google said it would operate a single auction to determine which ad to show based on the effective cost per thousand (CPM).
Advertisers would have to bid a minimum of US$2 (£1.04/€1.54) to reach a thousand people, while competing against other promoters for the same inventory, potentially leading to lucrative price wars for popular keywords, Web sites or categories.
The site-targeted ads will include static banner ads as well as animated formats – a move sure to annoy hapless surfers already weary of wriggling, spinning and rotating gizmos.
Google has, however, promised limitations on the animated advertising fluff that can appear on their adverts, with blinking ads that continuously loop already declared verboten.
Advertisers will be able to manage ads from their Google AdWords account and create their own “ad networks” by entering the URLs or themes and topics of sites where they’d like to slap up their adverts.
Google will then produce a list of suggested sites (along with a maximum number of impressions for each site), letting advertisers select the sites to run their ads.
The advertising space will come in four formats – banners, skyscrapers, wide skyscrapers and leaderboards – with Google checking submitted ads for “appropriateness”.
The search engine heavyweights are hoping that the approach will appeal to advertisers who are fussy about where their brand appears or are aiming for a certain niche demographic.
“This is the first step toward meeting as many of our advertisers’ needs as possible,” said Tim Armstrong, Google’s vice president of advertising sales.
Google’s move comes as arch-rivals Yahoo prepare a significant expansion of its own service to place ads on other websites, also expected to include graphical ads.