Remember how we said wayyy back in 2012 that Google's Knowledge Graph feature was conditioning searchers to look to the right side of the SERP for information, where the ads usually go? Our conspiracy theory gets a little more credence today: According to Search Engine Land, Google is increasing their commercialization of Knowledge Graph and simultaneously promoting their Google Play service by testing movie ads in Knowledge Graph panels.
Back in 2012, this was just a theory and we had to give Google the benefit of the doubt – that Knowledge Graph truly intended to use this space for relevant, informative answers to questions and informational queries. But early on, Elisa theorized that Google had more nefarious intentions. What if Knowledge Graph was really about training the eye to see and trust that premium area on the screen? Was it actually a clever way of combating ad fatigue?
In an early 2013 earnings call, Larry Page acknowledged that ads and Knowledge Graph panels were used interchangeably (depending on the query type and content) on the right-hand side. The primary thing, he said at the time, was that "getting people better answers is really good for business."
Well, of course it is! To use a common Google refrain, ads are just answers. Now, they've devised a clever way to monetize those answers where the query is about movies. This is a continuation of their Knowledge Graph ad strategy, kicked off in December with the implementation of Knowledge Graph vehicle results.
In this latest iteration, movie results in Knowledge Graph might also include a link at the bottom to watch the movie with Google Play or buy from Amazon or Hulu (see above image from SEL). One interesting thing Ginny Marvin noticed is that is seems Amazon results only show when the price is the same at that offered by Google Play!
In an update to her column, Marvin notes that in some cases, Google Play isn't listed, yet other vendors are. Whether these services are select partners paying for the opportunity to appear in Knowledge Graph is unknown, but it would make sense. Google can't include only their own ad results in any one category of Knowledge Graph panels (well they could, but it would cause an uproar). However, they're free to monetize this space, as they've attempted with just about every square inch of the SERPs.
Are you seeing ads in Knowledge Graph panels yet?