Google has launched a new advertising format this week which it says will be better at targeting consumers and more cost effective for advertisers. Welcome to Lightbox. Lightbox advertisements initially appear as regular display advertisements within a webpage, but when the user hovers over the advertisement for two seconds, it quickly expands into a super-sized canvas shading everything outside it; similar to how the way in which we view photos on Facebook now. Google claim that this smart hover feature eliminates 100% of accidental expansions and increases engagement by 6-8 times over standard click-to-expand ads. This is said to give advertisers a better indication of who is actually interested in a product and Google says that it will in the long-run prove a more accurately-priced advertising format because the advertiser will only pay when the advertisement is expanded. It will be a “cost-per-expansion” model. The result, according to Google, is that users only engage with ads they really want to see and brand marketers only pay for truly engaged views.

Lightbox advertisements are another advance in engagement–driven formats, and it will be exciting to see how these formats will develop as technology advances.