Moving a step beyond the text or image split, Google is now providing the option to use video in their contextual advertising programs. This new video ads will be Click-to-play, allowing the user to have control over whether they actually want to see the video. (None of those invasive semi-transparent Flash advertisements!)

The complete announcement at the Adwords Blog provides detailed information.

This could open up a whole new marketing campaign style with Google Adwords – viral video marketing has, on a number of occasions, created circumstances where a particular video circulates exceptionally heavily due to the network buzz. What happens if a video only available through the Adwords network becomes virally popular? Does this mean that sites which may potentially be carrying that video gain massive traffic, just to visit an ad? Will the key search terms which spawn the ad suddenly spike in Google? What does this mean for keyword analysis?

I’m assuming also, that only a click through the advertisement to the destination site will be billed – but I’d be concerned that the number of accidental clicks could skyrocket, if viewers are accidentally clicking on the destination URL (Uniform Resource Locator) instead of the video. Although, given the small area which is specified for the destination URL this shouldn’t be a huge issue.

This new product raises some interesting marketing possibilities – and a few intriguing questions!