The folks at SEMrush spotted a carousel of ads for new movie trailers showing in Google search on Thursday.
What is it? The ad unit — labeled with an “Ads” icon — features movie trailers hosted on YouTube in a carousel. The ads each include a thumbnail image from the trailer with the video length overlayed, the name of the movie and the date it’s coming out in theaters.
How do I get in? For now, this is just a test (that I haven’t been able to replicated). A Google spokesperson confirmed the test, but declined to share details, “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”
That likely means it is working with a select number of studios — DreamWorks, Universal Pictures, Paramount and Warner Brothers are all featured in the ads shown above — to include their YouTube trailers in this test format. You won’t see anything on this reflected in the Google Ads interface yet.
Why it matters. Google is always testing new ad formats, but surprisingly, has not really leveraged YouTube videos as ads in Google search results. It first experimented with video ads in search in 2008 (it wasn’t pretty). and retail advertisers can now include video in Showcase Shopping Ads. Movie trailers make sense as a place to start with trying to monetize YouTube content from search. This will be an interesting area to watch.