Google: ‘Use display for branding not just DR’

Google is adding extra utility to its advertising products as it looks to convince advertisers that they can run successful brand campaigns on display ad platforms, rather than just direct response.


The search and media company is offering advertisers in Europe the opportunity to make their display ads “super size” from the end of this month with the new format Active View.

Viewers that are interested in Active View ads can hover over them and, without clicking, expand the creative into formats such as a video, a livestream or a game for consumers to interact with.

Brands only pay for the ads that have been expanded. Google says the format offers better value for money and that testing of the new ads has seen six to eight times the amount of engagement than regular display ads.

Neal Mohan, vice president of display advertising products at Google, told Marketing Week: “The delayed hover-to-expand functionality provides a better user experience and it also means that brand marketers are only reaching those users who are truly interested in what they have to say.”

Google hopes that by introducing a clickless format, brands will be more inclined to treat measurement of display ads’ success like other media rather than relying on click through rates. This could result in a reduction in the call to action in display ads across the Google Display Network and more branding campaigns, which are usually initially launched on more traditional formats such as TV or press.

To this end, Google is also introducing a new measurement format called Active GRP (gross rating point), which emulates offline analytics of media campaigns.

Active GRP will provide advertisers with real-time information on whether ads served have actually been seen – even if they have not been clicked – which is defined as being 50 per cent visible for at least once second.

Google says the insights will allow advertisers to understand whether their ads have been viewed by the right audience, particularly the “less clicky” older demographic.

Testing of Active GRP has found that there is lots of untapped potential for brands that appear below the fold of websites. Google claims that as many as 72 per cent of below the fold ads are viewable.

Mohan says: “Imagine, as an advertiser, being able to optimise your campaign to show on this “treasure trove” of inventory … and imagine, as a publisher, being able to price it based on viewability rather than just location.”

Active GRP will be available in Europe in the first half of next year.

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