When creativity and technology work hand in hand, brands can build amazing things online...not only helping them connect with their customers in the right moment, but also funding digital content and creating dazzling ads that users love. I spoke yesterday at Advertising Week about how we can partner more closely with brands to win the moments that matter. And today, we’re adding a few new tools to the toolbox for brand marketers.

A large canvas, at scale
We’re introducing our lightbox ad format, the first of a new family of display ads that allow marketers to pay only when a user engages. The lightbox starts as a standard display ad, making it scalable, but after a two-second hover, expands to a super-sized canvas. In internal tests, we’ve seen that this smart hover feature eliminates nearly 100% of accidental expansions and increases engagement by 6-8X over standard click-to-expand ads. The result: users only engage with the ads they really want to see and brand marketers only pay for truly engaged views.

Engagement matters
We also have some new insights on how our existing engagement-driven formats on YouTube and the Google Display Network, such as the TrueView family of video ads, have effectively helped brands reach their audience online. We looked at the sales impact during and two weeks after 92 different ad campaigns, and found that on average every $1 invested in YouTube delivered a $1.70 return in sales--2.4x more efficient than the television spend for these campaigns. These ads also help achieve branding goals: we found, on average, that ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network drive a 36% increase in visits to your website and a 36% increase in searches for your brand online (Google Internal Data, 2012).

Google BrandLab brings brands to life on the web
Finally, while we believe magic moments can happen online, sometimes, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. To help more brands harness the full potential of the web, we’ve recently created a physical space where we can collaborate with brands and agencies on winning all the moments that matter -- the Google BrandLab at our YouTube headquarters. We’ve already had a number of advertisers at BrandLab including Capital One, Coca-Cola, Nissan, and Toyota, and look forward to helping even more brands use Google technologies in creative and impactful ways.

We hope these new tools take their place in the brand-building toolbox alongside some of our other offerings like our platform for crowdsourced creativity, the Creative Sandbox Gallery; brand-friendly metrics, and YouTube Original Channels. We want to make the web work for brands in a big way, these are just a few early steps. Look for more to come on this front in the months to come.

Posted by Jim Lecinski, Vice President, Brand Solutions