Google Plans Flashier Image Ads

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Google will test animated ads through its AdSense network, the search company said yesterday.


The animated image ads will appear shortly on Web sites that opted to display Google's graphical ad units, which the company introduced in May. Until now, Google has allowed advertisers to use only static banner ads. A test group will run animated GIF files, though Google said it would keep its maximum file size for image ad units at 50 kilobytes.


Google has taken tentative steps to offer ads beyond text search listings. In addition to text listings that appear on thousands of Internet sites through its AdSense for Content program, Google also has tested inserting image ads for some image searches on Google.com.


AdSense publishers can choose whether to display the image ads and where they appear on the page. Google's ad system determines whether to display an image ad over a text ad based on relevance and performance. Google does not reveal how many AdSense publishers have opted to display image ads.


On an investor conference call in October, Google co-founder and president of products Larry Page said image ads would help the company serve a larger base of advertisers, including those with branding objectives. All Google ads, including image ads, are offered on a cost-per-click basis.


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