According to this release today, sent to Adsense publishers, Google is experimenting with different formats for ads. I think this is good news for advertisers and publishers – anything that calls attention to the ads is helping both.
See the release below, and below that, the detail they reference:
Readers with sharp eyes will notice that on some rare occasions, your ads may appear or act slightly differently than what you’re accustomed to. Rest assured that this is normal behavior that results from our efforts to improve the experience for all members of the advertising ecosystem. (You may have noticed a similar post about our search results on the official Google blog.)
One way in which we achieve this is by making continued tweaks and innovations to the user behavior and appearance of our ads. In the past, these experiments have included changes to the font styling, coloring, spacing, and other aesthetic components. More specifically, changes such as redesigned ad units and arrows to show additional ads have stemmed from these tests. The purpose of these tests is to identify changes to our product that can bring long-term benefits to our publishers, your site’s visitors, and advertisers.
Before rolling out a change to our ads, we test performance for a limited number of ad impressions, which may not apply to all publishers. Although we don’t notify publishers of these specific changes in order to prevent bias, we closely monitor the performance of these tests. We also welcome feedback from publishers, users, and advertisers, so feel free to drop us an email.
You may have noticed that some of your ad units have started to look a little different lately — we’re happy to announce that, just in time for spring, we’ve given our standard ad units a fresh makeover. After extensive testing and research, we’ve found that the new formats are not only visually appealing to users, but they also perform even better for publishers and advertisers. We’re in the process of rolling out this change to all ad units, and you should see that your ad units are automatically updated over the next few days. But, before you rush to make sure all of your ad units still match your site, please be assured that the fonts and colors of your ads won’t be changed.
Although it’s not possible to opt out of the new designs, we hope that you and your site visitors will find our new ad formats clearer and more attractive. We’re always testing new ways to improve the look and feel of our advertisements, so stay tuned for more format options in the future.
After months of testing, we’ve just updated our text ad format to include ‘next’ and ‘previous’ arrow buttons for cost-per-click (CPC) ads. When a user clicks on the ‘next’ button, an entirely new group of ads will appear in the ad unit, giving your users greater control over the ads they see and click.
While the ads the user initially sees may be relevant to a publisher’s content, they may not be precisely what the user is seeking — for example, a user may see ads about cheddar and brie cheese but would prefer more information about Swiss cheese. With the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons, users can view more cheese ads until a Swiss cheese ad appears.
You won’t generate earnings for clicks on the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons, but these buttons will help improve both advertiser value and your potential revenue. When users click on the buttons, they begin interacting with the ads and are more likely to find the specific offering they’re looking for, which can lead to higher earnings for you.