The Inside AdSense Blog tells us
We’re constantly thinking about how we can make our ad formats better for you, your users and the advertisers appearing on your pages. Today we’re happy to share the introduction of favicons to our text ads. A favicon is a small graphic that an advertiser can use to brand their website, such as their company logo.
We regularly experiment with small changes to the look of our text ads, measuring the potential impact on user experience and publisher earnings. Our experiments show that adding these favicons to the ads makes advertisers more recognizable to your users, which benefits both you and the advertisers whose ads appear on your sites.
I don’t know about you but when I see those big arrows on those ads, it’s almost like a Pavlovian response to want to click on them. Google is working hard to get folks to click not so much for the content but out of habit and the enticement of an image. A quick glance of a headline that might interest a viewer along with a little favicon and a big-ass arrow can create a perceived ‘need to click’ in a split second as the user processes all three together and then acts.
Interesting study in what actually makes people take an action. What are your thoughts?