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Google Debuts 'Gadget' Ad Format

Google built the XML-based applets to be used either as cost-per-click ads or as cost-per-impression ads, in conjunction with various targeting criteria.

Google on Wednesday plans to introduce a new advertising format called Google Gadget Ads.

The format allows advertisers to create rich media ads that can be placed on a standard Web page, iGoogle homepages, within Google Desktop, or on Google Page Creator pages.

Google Gadgets are small Web applications written in XML that Google converts into HTML and JavaScript for easy Web page integration.

Gadget ads can be created using HTML, Flash, or both, and can make use of real-time data feeds, images, and video. They compete for placement on the Google content network alongside text, image, and video ads. They can be deployed either as cost-per-click ads or as cost-per-impression ads, in conjunction with various targeting criteria.

Google has been testing the format with a select group of partners including Pepsi-Cola North America's Sierra Mist, Intel, Honda, Six Flags, and Paramount Vantage.

Bladimiar Norman, head of interactive marketing at Paramount Vantage, said his company had created a Gadget ad to support the film A Mighty Heart. The ad allowed viewers to access movie marketing materials such as screenshots and posters. "We had a great response," he said, adding that Paramount Vantage intended to continue using the format for future projects. "It performed better than rich media ads. It's targeted so well."

Because Gadget Ads can be shared, Google envisions users building "active communities with gadget ads by sharing them with each other and placing them on nearly any Web page, including personalized iGoogle pages," as the company put it in a press release. This will drive traffic "and help foster a sense of community between advertisers and users."

While that may be an overly rosy view of the relationship between Internet users and advertisers given rising worries about ad blocking, it's nonetheless an understandable one from Google.

It's also a view that jibes with the apparent health of Internet advertising in general. In June, The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers said that Internet ad revenue reached a record $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2007, a 26% increase from the first quarter of 2006.

In another ad-related announcement, Google on Tuesday introduced AdSense for Mobile, an ad service to help publishers sell ads on Web pages tailored for mobile phones.

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