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Google acknowledged today that its new ad format, AdWords Image Extensions, is now available in a wider beta.

There's not been that many pick-ups on this new ad format just yet but am sure with the wider beta adoption more will come. Now, what's the big deal you may ask? Using imagery to support the sales and marketing process is as old as time itself.

Ground-breaking? No. But it has potential to improve qualitative metrics.

Using images within Google primary SERP layout isn't all that new by any means either, as sibling product integrations to universal SERPs over the last few years attest. For example Google Shopping shown here.

Google SERP Red Shoes

But it's not just about relevant images shown in an ad. It's more the fact they are attached to the ad unit and not part of universal results brought in from another market-place where the click will likely go to another channel.

There are a ton of verticals where this won't necessarily be a logical format to adopt. But for pretty much any consumer proposition, the ability to add supporting relevant eye-candy will create a higher propensity to click in this ad position. And it's easy to see why. 

AdWords Image Extensions

In the screen-shot above for a resort in Hawaii, the three images displayed immediately create a sense of whether the ad is worthy of a click due to visual relevance and enticement factors.

Without simply trying to tease someone into a click with relevant adcopy, I think this new format will help further pre-qualify the click. So, better quality of visitors, possible reduced bounce rates - who wouldn't want that? 

To sum up what is for now a short intro without any public stats to back anything up, adding a proprietary brand/product visual element that is relevant to ad messaging/search term and draws traffic directly, can only be a good thing, especially in a multi-screen world where tablet search is higher funnel and more visually driven for most verticals.

You could argue that this new ad format is much better than ad previews that have dissappeared. They required an action to become displayed, whereas supporting visuals front and center is obviously passive and much more effective.

Also you had no choice with visuals on that format - it was a capture of your landing page. And to those traditionalists who say this over complicates a SERP layout even more, not sure what to tell you.  

Yes, it pushes down organics another 90 or so pixels. Yes, it is another move away the simplicity of the Google of 10 years ago. But it is what it is when you have shareholders. 

Google says:

As the web evolves, Google users expect richer and more diverse content. More than one in six searches on Google today provide results with visual content. Image extensions will show in some cases when we determine that a search is likely for visual content. For example, it is more likely that your image extensions will show for a query like luxury car designs than locations of nearby car dealerships. 

 If you're interested more in this new ad format, you can sign up here to request access to it

Tom Dibble

Published 6 June, 2013 by Tom Dibble

Tom Dibble is the founder & CEO of Screen Pilot and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

4 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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jeremy

Thanks I have learned a thing or two.
http://onlinemarketingscreen.com

over 3 years ago

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Lyon Fournier

The guys over at wordstream have written something about it:
http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/06/06/adwords-image-extensions

I am interested to try this out for myself. I am running a campaign about hotel accommodations for an island resort and Adwords image extensions could help drive more clicks.

over 3 years ago

Donna Duncan

Donna Duncan, Philadelphia SEO Consultant at B-SeenOnTop

Good overview.
And yes, it could be a differentiating factor for some verticals.
It will be interesting to watch unfold, as it also has the potential for abuse. Consider your example of the Hawaiian resort. What if those pictures were from a different resort? Google has, no doubt, already thought through all that. But like I say, it'll be interesting to watch.
Thanks.

over 3 years ago

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Rosendo Cuyasen

This is another new information for us to check when we do adwords. I believe image is highly consider in an ad today.

over 3 years ago

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