There is a line in Web advertising between search and display ads, and Yahoo just crossed it. Sponsored ads that appear above or beside search results are typically text-only ads. But Yahoo is testing sponsored search ads that include brand logos, images, and even interactive elements. For instance, if you search on Yahoo for “eBay,” the sponsored ad on top includes eBay’s logo.
I checked with Yahoo to see if this was new, and a spokesperson confirmed that the company is testing new search ad units that include “images, brand icons, videos, search boxes and deep links.”
Really, when you think about it, there is no reason that display, video, and other graphical ads can’t be mixed in on search results pages. Just because Google doesn’t allow display ads to sully its search results page doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad idea.
As long as they are not too blaring, I think they’ll work. Any image will pop in that sea of text on the search results page. And both Yahoo and Google are already incorporating images and videos in their natural search results. So why shouldn’t advertisers be able to do the same for sponsored results?