Yahoo Search Marketing is testing the serving of images embedded within their sponsored search results on Yahoo Directory pages. The images, which are being supplied by a company called ImageAdvantage, are generated either from a stock photo database or from their sponsors’ sites to the left of their Yahoo Search Marketing results.
One has to wonder, why serve these in the Yahoo Directory? Perhaps the Yahoo Directory needs a shot in the arm in terms of monetization. The Yahoo Directory may also be a testing ground for further expansion of this image enhanced Yahoo Search Marketing sponsored results or throughout the Yahoo Network.
Here are the results from the Yahoo Credit and Finance section :
Sponsors do not seem to have the choice as to which image is served and the images themselves are not linked to the sponsor sites. Images which are placed next to contextual ads do have a positive effect on click thru percentage (although frowned upon by Yahoo Publisher Network : see below), I’d image that Yahoo should see a similar trend in these tests.
While Yahoo had tested screen captures next to their contextual advertising in the past, but these Yahoo Directory images are in the sponsored search results themselves (the copy even indents to make room for the images).
I find this quite intriguing since Yahoo Publisher Network is fairly strict about images being close to their ads on third party sites, sometimes asking for a vertical bar between the image and ad placement.
From the YPN Program Policies :
- The Ad Unit cannot be obscured in any way
- The Ad Unit must be shown in the requested page, not as a pop-up or pop-under window or in an e-mail
- The user must be able to tell the difference between the Ad Unit and other content on the publisher’s page.
- The Ad Unit must be clearly labeled as “Ads by Yahoo!” and this label should not be confused with other advertising or links on the publisher’s page.
- Images or other media cannot be associated with the Ad Unit.
Sure, Yahoo hosted Sponsored Search and Yahoo Publisher Network ads on 3rd party sites are unrelated, but I thought it relevant to show the two rules Yahoo themselves would be breaking if they were YPN publishers.
When do you think these will make it to the regular Yahoo Search results, and do you want them there?