googlogoToday, Google started testing video ad placement in search results according to The New York Times Bits blog. Though just a very limited trial for now, this is an important step in the evolution of the company’s bread-and-butter advertising business.

Even though Google has run both image-based and video ads on sites using their AdSense platform for a while now, the Google search results page has always been restricted to the simple text-based advertisements that don’t overwhelm results. As Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, puts it “We were doing text-based search that was all textual. Visual ads don’t work in that format.”

However, with Google now shifting toward “universal search” that includes images and videos in results, the time has come to test out expanding the ads that accompany those results as well. Says Mayer, “With universal search, something is getting shaken up a bit on the bottom part of the page – The ads on the top part of the page should match.”

Google is indicating that these video ads will appear small on the page and only expand to playable size when a user chooses to click on the ‘plus’ button similar to what is done currently with YouTube videos in search results (see below).

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Relevancy remains important to Google as well – these ads will only contain videos that somehow pertain to what a person is searching for.