Have you ever wished you could make your ad stand out more on Google Adwords? It would be nice, wouldn’t it? As of now, Adwords for Google’s Search pages is limited to plain text ads, but as Google continues its beta test of the new image extensions from last year, select advertisers can see how image extensions will boost their click-through-rate.
Ad copy restrictions prevent ads in the Search Network from being overly gimmicky, directive, or abusive of punctuation. It prevents the search page from appearing littered or overwhelmed with advertisements, and it ensures uniform formatting for everyone. The ads also seem to come across as non-threatening and informational to the searcher, as opposed to lead-generative.
But the new image extensions in the Search Network will allow advertisers to capitalize on the persuasive power of imagery as well. In his article on the favorability of image branding, Chas Edwards of Luminate cites our diminished attention spans online and the sharability of visual storytelling as reasons why images have become such an effective online marketing tool. “Humans process visual information much faster than we process text,” says Edwards.
With this new tool, Google invites you to show and tell using the Google Adwords Search Network. Users will be able to incorporate self-provided images in select ads to help illustrate what makes their product and service especially unique. The requirements are that you must own the rights to your image and that a line or two of ad text may have to be sacrificed to make the ad fit.
But despite the introduction of image extensions, Google is being careful not to blow up their search pages with overwhelming advertisements. Advertisers should consider using image extensions only in situations where an image would be more relevant or helpful to a searcher than just text. The goal is to make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for, not to place more obstacles in their way. An image extension will be more effective for a product search than for a location search, for instance. At this time, Google is not releasing their algorithms for determining which industries or which keywords will trigger the image extensions but we do know that it is currently only being shown for advertisers in the first position.
Another great way for advertisers to show people their product on the Search page is through Product Listing Ads, available through Google Shopping and Google Merchant Center. If you don’t already know what these are, open a new tab and type “buy sriracha” into Google. You should see a group of sample photos with prices come up on the right hand side of the screen, which act as direct links to purchase the product from various vendors. These work great for e-commerce sites, while image extensions will work better for more conceptual advertising, such as vacation services.
Stay tuned for image extension reviews and beta testing results over the next several months to see what the final product will look like when it becomes a standard tool. If you’re in the United States and want to be one of the first people to take advantage of the new extensions, contact a Google partner about participating in the beta test. Happy testing!