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Google Inc. (GOOG) Expands Advertising with Lightbox

Google Inc.Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has developed a very strong advertising business, but it hasn’t been sitting on its laurels – it is continually finding ways to improve its advertising business model, and one of the ways it is working on its effectiveness is trying to provide more for advertisers while minimizing those annoying accidental click-throughs to provide more accurate user engagement numbers.

The latest idea that has gone through internal testing is called Lightbox. Lightbox is defined as what looks like a regular display ad that expands when a mouse hovers over the ad for at least two seconds. When the ad expands, the advertiser can feature a YouTube video, photos an interactive game or some kind of shopping experience, among other ideas. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) reported in its internal testing that accidental expansions of the ads were eliminated by nearly 100 percent and user engagement increased by six to eight times over standard click-to-expand ads.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) said that while this new ad concept is not quite rolling out, it said that it will not require advertisers to pay for the ad itself, but will pay for each ad expansion/engaged user. Google Inc. (GOOG) said it has a few sponsors ready to launch the new Lightbox ad, though those have not been revealed at this point. The ads will be available online for advertisers, but Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) says it is working to re-format Lightbox for mobile. Advertisers are not able to produce their own Lightbox ads, but that feature will be rolled out soon, Google says.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is always looking for new ways to generate revenue through its bread-and-butter, advertising, and Lightbox is the newest member of the company’s TrueView family of video ads, which Google Inc. (GOOG) reports has a 70 percent return on investment for businesses.  If Lightbox can turn that kind of performance, that would not only be good for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) investors like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, but also effective for those companies who advertise. That would qualify as a win-win for everyone.

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