Yahoo! is to launch a new search advertising platform that shows video, images and custom search boxes within paid listings, which it claims has resulted in a major increase in click-through rates for advertisers.
The service, called 'Rich Ads is Search', takes Yahoo! away from the standard method of text links as it fights to find some way to give it an advantage in a market dominated by Google.
'Rich Ads is Search' went through a pilot stage in late 2008, with several major brands signing on, including Pepsi, Pedigree and Staples.
Yahoo! claims the pilot resulted in as much as a 25% increase in click-through rates for participating brands.
US dogfood brand Pedigree is second from the top in the Yahoo.com search results and has a small video thumbnail. When clicked, a larger video drops down within the search results and plays a 30-second advertisement.
US office supply company Staples shows a Staples logo next to the text ad.
Pepsi's 'Rich Ad in Search' reveals a minute-long viral featuring Bob Dylan, rapper Will.i.am and Bruce Lee.
The service also lets users search for products or a store location directly using their post code -- for example Esurance's listing lets users enter their zip codes from the results page for insurance quotes.
Yahoo! said it will offer the platform to advertisers on a pay-per-month basis instead of traditional auction style bidding, although that may change in the future.
The pilot programme has been invite-only and Yahoo! is expected to make an official announcement today.
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