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Yahoo!'s second-rate search engine will soon add video, images, and other "rich" goodies to its pay-per-click advertisements.

In December, the company launched a Rich Ads in Search program among a small number of advertisers, and according to a Yahoo! blog post, click-through rates rose "as much as" 25 per cent.

"Ever since we launched pay-per-click advertising, the ads have looked more or less the same: A headline, a line of ad copy, a link. They haven’t changed because, frankly, the combination works pretty well. But what if search ads could show more?" a Yahooligan asks from the official Yahoo! Search Marketing Blog.

"With Yahoo!’s new Rich Ads in Search, they can. Yahoo! has been testing a new service that lets advertisers add video, images and custom search boxes to their search ads. The results are ads that can combine the relevance of search with the impact of rich media."

Through this new program, businesses can not only inject their ads with video and images, but also slip in their very own search boxes, allowing web surfers to "search for their desired product or a store location directly without additional navigation." One tester, Esurance, urges users to input their zip code directly into the ad in exchange for an insurance quote.

So, Yahoo! is following Google again. And itself.

Google began testing video ads on its search engine nearly a year ago, and Yahoo! soon followed suit with its own video-beefed search ads. But this time around, Yahoo! seems to have wised up a bit. There's no talk of videos eating your entire browser.

In January, according to the latest numbers from those clever net-watchers at Comscore, Yahoo!'s search engine actually gained some ground in its perpetual Google chase. Mountain View's search share dropped a half per cent, and the Yahooligans picked the whole thing up.

And now they're making a new play for ad dollars. Last month, when CEO Carol Bartz claimed that search was "a very valuable part" of the new Yahoo!, she may have meant it. Microhoo is looking less likely by the day. ®

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