In a short piece on Search Engine Roundtable Barry Schwartz reports seeing what appears to be a Google test of a new, simplified AdWords ad format for mobile devices.
Along with some "normal" ads, a search for "ecommerce shipping solutions" also produced a box headed "Ads: More for ecommerce shipping solutions" and containing a series of links consisting of what appear to be webpage favicons plus a landing-page URL, like this:
Google is supposed to be all about relevance. But unless Google's machine-learning technology does a really good job of matching URLs (landing page content) to search queries, I think only the advertisers with the most recognizable brands will benefit from this, and other advertisers will get a lot more clicks than conversions.
Probably Google is testing to see if this approach increases or decreases click revenues from some experimental population of advertisers. Decreased conversation rates could motivate some advertisers to improve landing pages and buy more clicks, benefiting both them and Google. Others could cut back on click budgets, benefiting no one. How that nets out will probably dictate if or how Google goes forward with this ad format.
I'm sure a lot of people will now be watching this.