In an effort to further bolster its already successful advertising business, Google is currently experimenting with a new initiative that promises to give companies and marketers unprecedented control the search results stemming from specific queries. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google’s new program “allows marketers, media companies, politicians and other organizations [to] publish content directly to Google and have it appear instantly in search results.”
In one example of the new advertising feature in action, ABC yesterday paid Google for the right to effectively take over the search results page when a user typed in “Jimmy Kimmel.” In that scenario, a normal page of search results was replaced with an ABC created “carousel” that featured handpicked posts and videos that users could browse through. At this point it remains unclear if the promotion appeared before every user who typed in the query or if ABC was perhaps able to target certain geographic locations or even demographics.
With Google naturally being very protective over its search business – where it generates the vast majority of its billions – we wouldn’t expect to see widespread changes anytime soon. As it stands now, it appears that Google is only letting a select few outlets and organizations take advantage of what is admittedly an interesting concept. In other words, we don’t anticipate that a query for LeBron James, for example, will ever yield a link to a site selling basketball paraphernalia. But come June when the NBA Finals are afoot, then perhaps we might see a dedicated ad from a company like ESPN or Sprite.
“We’re continuing to experiment with the look and feel of this feature, including exploring other potential use cases,” Google said in a statement to the Journal.
Broadly speaking, it stands to reason that only blue chip companies like Coke and HBO will be allowed to take part in the program, which reportedly still lacks an official name. Besides, we’d imagine that only top-tier companies would be able to afford the presumably high prices Google is commanding for such a service in the first place.
Regardless, it’ll certainly be interesting to keep an eye on this new advertising initiative in the weeks to come.