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Google Launches New Tablet Ad Formats

Consumers have higher expectations for advertising on tablets, says Google

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Just in time for the holiday shopping surge, Google today introduced two new tablet-specific ads for marketers.

Citing recent internal research, Google says that consumers are not only doing more shopping from their tablets, they expect more interactivity from tablet ads.

Jason Spero, Google’s director of mobile for the Americas, says that as iPads and other tablets have moved quickly into the mainstream, marketers have shown an increasing appetite for insight and new ways to reach consumers on the new medium.

“We really felt we needed to build specifically for tablets on both the search and display side,” he says. “With these new ads for tablets what we tried to do was address user behaviors that we were seeing in content – that swiping and flicking and resizing and that ability to go in and out of different media really easily.”

For example, he says, consumers aren’t just doing more shopping from their tablets, they’re doing more research and sharing, and increasingly planning excursions to local retailers. Google hopes its new ad formats can help marketers take advantage of these trends by making it easier for consumers to connect with each other and link the virtual to the physical.

On the search side, Google’s new tablet-specific media ads, which launch in beta this week, let users swipe through video game clips, snippets of TV shows or movie trailers, and (when relevant) view local showtimes within the ad.

For display, Google is adding six new templates to the rich media ad formats introduced this May. In addition to including branded video, 360 degree image viewing, and swipeable photo galleries, the new templates offer enhanced interactivity and include directions to local retailers, all from within the ad.  To simplify the process for advertisers, Google says, the new templates can make existing assets, such as images and logos, work across various screen sizes on smartphones and tablets.

Google’s research jibes with an October study from research firm OTX MediaCT on behalf of PayPal, which indicates that tablet ownership increases the frequency of mobile shopping and improves purchase experiences. And, according to Forrester research, U.S. tablet sales will almost double from 26 million this year to more than 50 million in 2012.

Spero declined to say how many advertisers would be using the new formats at launch, but said “there was a lot of demand” to be part of the media ads beta.

“We’re learning as the platform matures, what people want to do on these devices,” he says. “But there’s no question that this a valuable platform for marketers.”