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Google Testing Ads In AI Search Overview Results

Google

Google is experimenting with placing search and shopping ads in its AI-generated query results.

Last week, the tech giant debuted AI Overviews, which deliver artificial intelligence (AI)-generated summaries to search queries. 

“In early testing, we’ve heard that people find the ads appearing above and below the AI-generated overview helpful,” Vidhya Srinivasan, vice president/general manager of ads for Google, wrote Tuesday (May 21) on the company’s Ads & Commerce blog.

“Soon, we’ll start testing Search and Shopping ads in AI Overviews for users in the U.S. They will have the opportunity to appear within the AI Overview in a section clearly labeled as ‘sponsored’ when they’re relevant to both the query and the information in the AI Overview.”

Srinivasan added that there’s no action necessary from advertisers, as ads from existing Search, Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns will get the opportunity to appear within the AI Overview.

These efforts came as Google rolled out a range of new AI offerings for retailers, as PYMNTS wrote Tuesday. Among them are tools to help them generate product images and videos.

“At a time when shoppers are flooded with options, we’re introducing new ways to deepen the connections between shoppers and merchants through rich and compelling content,” Matt Madrigal, vice president, general manager, merchant shopping at Google, wrote in a blog post announcing the new features.

Included in the line-up are visual brand profiles on Google Search, which will highlight information provided by retailers via Google Merchant Center, the company said. These profiles will offer product and brand imagery, videos, customer reviews and deals and promotions.

In addition, Google is expanding its Virtual Try-On technology to apparel ads for men’s and women’s tops, letting shoppers see how products look on different body types, Madrigal wrote.

Speaking with PYMNTS last week, Michael Hasse, a cybersecurity and technology consultant, said AI-based search could help and hinder shoppers seeking specific products.

“With traditional search functionality, the first few pages of results will be dominated by companies that have perfected their SEO or paid for preferential placement,” Hasse said, leading consumers to settle for items that are merely “good enough.”

At the same time, AI-based search can potentially find “the boutique product that is ‘perfect’, but had been twenty pages deep and unseen before.” Hasse pointed out that “the AI has done the hard work of delving through a far greater number of results than any human could have time or energy for to find the perfect item.”