February 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Yahoo lets advertisers integrate rich media into paid search

Yahoo is piloting a project that allows retailers to incorporate rich media into their paid search ads. Advertisers can post images and videos to paid ads and include boxes within listings that let users search for items without additional navigation.

Though a full rollout isn’t available just yet, Yahoo is piloting a project that gives retailers and others the chance to incorporate rich media into their paid search ads.

Yahoo, which began the pilot in early 2008 and introduced a formal beta test in the fourth quarter, is updating its paid search program to allow retailers and others to incorporate video, images and custom search boxes into their pay-per-click ads. It’s unclear how many retailers are participating in the program, but some initial advertisers include Mars Inc. and its Pedigree dog food brand.

Yahoo says participants are pleased with the program, which helps advertisers find more targeted buyers and generate higher click-through rates. “A small group of advertisers tested it in the fourth quarter of 2008 and saw click-through rates rise by as much as 25%. They’ve also seen improved brand exposure and conversion rates,” says a Yahoo spokeswoman.

In the pilot, advertisers can post images and videos to paid ads, create deeper links to relevant pages and include boxes within listings that let users search for products or a store location without additional navigation. “This program is live now, but we’re calling it a customized solution since it’s available to large advertisers only who work with a direct sales representative,” says the Yahoo spokeswoman. “The program isn’t part of Yahoo search marketing’s self-serve offering yet, but we’re working towards that offering later this year.”

Yahoo hasn’t established pricing for its new search marketing upgrade yet, but there is a minimum monthly cost for participation in the pilot, the company says. “Pricing is calculated individually for each advertiser based on the keywords selected,” says the spokeswoman.

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