Google gives publishers the ability to run display and text ads on their sites. They can run both styles of ads, or just pick a single one. The same goes for advertisers, who also have to choose between one of these two formats for their ads. Today, however, the company is launching a new ad unit that brings standard text ads to sites that would normally just run display ads.
These so-called “magazine-style” ads will only feature text, but will appear with “a design aesthetic suitable for display,” Google says.
It doesn’t look like there is any graphical wizardry involved here and Google doesn’t add any images to the ads. Instead, the company simply takes the text and reformats it into one of the larger ad units typically used for display ads, with a lot of whitespace around the text.
The idea here is to give text advertisers the ability to compete for space on display-only ad units and to give publishers the ability to run text-like ads on their sites that would normally only feature display ads. While Google recommends that publishers run both text and display ads on their sites to maximize their potential revenue, publishers often choose to just run the more visual display ads because they are more consistent with their design, for example.
These new ad types will appear whenever a text ad outbids a display ad, so the economic reasoning behind this move is pretty straightforward: Google can simply make more money when these magazine-style text ads appear instead of the usual display ad. Before, these text ads weren’t even in contention for these spots.
As the last quarter showed, Google’s ad prices are under substantial pressure — partially because of the general move to mobile and because it’s moving into more emerging markets where ad prices are lower. This new unit won’t move the needle all that much, but given the company’s size, even small changes can bring a few extra million dollars into the company’s coffers.