Is The New Google AdWords Ad Format Too Sneaky?

There are new Google AdWords ads that are starting to show up with different formatting that I’ve seen before. Essentially, the background does not have a color: which in the past has distinguished Google AdWords ads from the regular organic search results. I bet these new ads are going to get a lot more clicks than before.

Here is a screen shot of the new ads that are showing up:

google adwords ads

Click on the image to see a larger version.

This was posted on Imgur, and I’m not sure if it’s just Google testing a new ad format or it’s now being shown to most users.

Do you think these new ads are too sneaky? When I say sneaky, I mean that the ad doesn’t look like a traditional ad, which might cause the typical end user to think that the ad is actually part of the organic search results.

Steve Haar of Leapfrog Online Appointed Co-Chair of the SEMPO Global Search Committee

Leapfrog Online     SEMPO

Steve Haar, the Senior Director of Media of Leapfrog Online, has been appointed the co-chairman of SEMPO’s (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) Global Search Committee. Leapfrog Online is a leading independent digital direct marketing firm.

Steve Haar

SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, is a non-profit professional association that works worldwide to increase awareness and promote the value of Search Engine Marketing. The SEMPO membership, is made up of Search Engine Marketing professionals and some of the most advanced organizations in the search engine marketing industry.

SEMPO’s Global Search Committee’s purpose is “to help facilitate the growth of the search engine marketing industry internationally”.

Steve Haar joined Leapfrog Online in 2006 as the “Director of Media Planning and Buying” to lead the Leapfrog Online’s search efforts. Search is an integrated distribution source for Leapfrog Online’s proprietary digital direct marketing model and the company uses it to generate results for its Fortune 500 Clients.

Founded in 1995, Leapfrog Online is the leading independent digital direct marketing firm in the country, developing programs for Fortune 500 marketers that find, convert and monetize the right customers. Offering a unique mix of online marketing strategy and services, a proprietary closed-loop technology platform and a performance-based compensation model, Leapfrog Online’s customized programs deliver full operating control and completely align with Clients’ strategic, operational and financial goals. This dedicated approach has driven profitable results for leading Clients in the Financial Services, Communication and Automotive industries.

Steve Haar maintains a blog at called the searchBlog.

New SEMPO Survey Shows Emerging Search Categories Like Video and Mobile Search

According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization SEMPO, Video and mobile search is “sparking the interest of North American search engine marketers but they want to pay the same, or less, for these largely untested platforms, as they do for traditional search, according to the annual industry survey conducted by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), For the first time, SEMPO has collected data on the business potential of targeted video and mobile search advertising.”

Here’s more from the recent SEMPO press release today:

Video Search
The State of Search Engine Marketing 2006
According to the survey results, two in five respondents say they want to pay the same for video search as they pay for traditional search advertising. Another 13% say they want to pay less than for traditional search. Of the remainder who have some willingness to pay a premium, most would prefer to pay 20% or less as a premium.

SEMPO reports 66% of the respondents say they would be interested in contextually targeted advertising attached to video search results. However there is much more interest in video advertising attached to video search results as opposed to strictly text-based contextual ads. Some 53% say they are interested in video ads compared to 33% who indicated an interest in text only.

Mobile Search
There is even greater reluctance to pay a premium for mobile search. The SEMPO survey reports that almost half of the respondents will not pay any premium for mobile search. Almost 25% say they prefer to pay less for mobile search than for traditional search. Similar to video search, of those who are open to a premium, 20% is the cap.

The SEMPO report also shows 60% of the respondents are interested in contextually targeted advertising delivered to mobile search users.

Pricing Plateau
The reluctance to hike budgets for video and mobile search reflects the industry’s trend toward an overall pricing plateau, based on survey respondent feedback. SEMPO’s survey found that 25% of the respondents reported they had reached their pricing ceiling for paid placement, and of the remaining 75%, half said the most they could afford in a price increase was 30% or less.

“These numbers make sense,” says Kevin Lee, member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO and chair of its Research Committee. “They show that the search engine marketing industry has become more sophisticated, and thus keyword efficiency is at an all-time high.” However, Lee notes, the industry continues to grow, as evidenced by SEMPO’s report which shows advertisers spent $9.4 billion on search engine marketing (SEM) in 2006, a 62% increase over 2005 spending. SEMPO researchers also estimate SEM spending to double by 2011, at an aggregate total of $18.6 billion. [Read more...]