Text Ads Through Google Just Got A Little Sexier

Back in the day (say 2006), you spent all this time creating a blog and people asked you “how are you going to monetize your website?” The main answer was always “ads,” and the quickest solution at the time was to implement Google AdSense on your site. Unless you were getting millions of visitors a month, you quickly became disappointed with AdSense sending you $3 a month for the clicks generated through the contextual ads AdSense placed on your site. AdSense has come a long way since 2006, and the latest announcement from Google allowing text ads to mix with display ads sheds light on what publishers believe engages their visitors better between traditional display and text ads.

Eli Manning

When I thought I was actually going to make some money with AdSense on my LiveJournal blog.

Text Ads Compete With Display Ads

As a publisher, you have the option to run two types of ad formats on your site: display or text. Text ads are the old school AdSense ads that would show a text ad for a pair of snowboarding boots if your blog is about snowboarding. Display ads are more “interactive” in that they usually contain images that are supposedly more engaging and command higher click-throughs versus text ads. We all know the declining performance of display ads in light of the shift to more integrated native approaches to advertising. How many times do we need to see an ad where you need to swat the fly to win a prize, which is essentially some bait-and-switch tactic to visit the advertiser’s site? Google now allows advertisers who pay for traditional text ads to compete for display ad space on publishers’ sites. Check out the new “magazine ad” format below:

Google magazine ad

Creating A New Aesthetic For Text

These new “magazine-style” ads have a “design aesthetic suitable for display,” according to a Google spokesperson. These type of “text” ads do feel different with all the extra white space, and publishers appear to like them more since they are more consistent with today’s current design aesthetic of having a lot of white space on your blog. Perhaps the image-heavy display ad has come and gone, and publishers recognize the need to make sure the ads that you place on your site—especially the programmatic ones via Google—feel like they actually belong to your site in terms of design. To us, this feels like a new native ad format for traditional AdWords text ads that may command higher click-throughs versus the dying text ad.

Display Advertisers Continue To Come Under Fire

If your brand relies heavily on display ads via Google, this could mean increased bids and budgets for your campaigns since these text advertisers are now competing for your ad placement. The new magazine-style text ad will show up if the text advertiser outbids the display advertiser for a given display ad.

Makes sense for Google, right? Increasing competition for inventory that was generally only reserved for visual display ads means increased revenue. It will be interesting to see the performance on these new text ads since publishers generally run visually-rich display ads on their sites over the “old” text ads from Google. We are doubling down on these new magazine-style ads. Funny how a mix of white space and font formats can change the way you feel about an ad.