You may remember the uproar from last October, when Google began experimenting with huge banner ads that ran across the top of branded search results. Many hailed them as the first sign of a completely branded search engine, while others weren’t as bothered by the large graphics appearing strictly on branded searches.
Either way, you shouldn’t expect to see the ads any longer. During a SMX West keynote discussion with Danny Sullivan, Google’s Armit Singhal declared the test to be over while saying that the test had failed.
Ginny Marvin suggests the test ads weren’t getting high enough click-through rates (CTR) to justify expanding or keeping around, but even Marvin admits CTR would be an odd metric to measure the success of the ads considering they acted more as a graphic introduction to brands you were searching for and didn’t include call-to-actions.
The test was very small in comparison to most Google tests, with only about 30 advertisers participating. Their banners were only shown on about 5 percent of search queries. Maybe Singhal or someone else from Google will explain how the tests were failures, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Most likely, the tests will just be forgotten like many other failed Google experiments.
However, if you missed the chance to catch some of these ads when they were appearing, or you are simply nostalgic for some nice branded banners, Marketing Land put together a slide show with many of the banners when they were still active, which you can view below.