Image Extensions

With product ads taking up more and more of the SERP (search engine results page) real estate in recent months, searchers and search advertisers alike have become more accustomed to seeing images directly in the SERP. In fact, according to Google, 1 in 6 searches now bring up results with “visual content”.

This example, as well as others found online during the BETA phase, are interestingly found being shown in conjunction with another ad innovation, “Google Hotel Finder”, meaning that a searcher is provided with a great deal of information directly in the results. Price, Star Rating & Images and a comparison are all available.
In searches for retail products such as “galaxy note 2”, we can see the image extensions in use alongside the product listings. In these high competition examples, where the competition is keen to use all available search marketing techniques, and where searches are particularly savvy and familiar with zoning out of irrelevant ads, having a first mover advantage on any ad innovation can make a huge difference.
Although tech and retail could steal some benefit from these, the real industries in mind for Google appear to be in those such as Travel & Automotive, which are industries with high margins that haven’t been able to make the most of Product Listing Ads like smaller retailers.
For these industries, tying a visual snag to a strategy with a longer conversion path in mind is key. Although throwing image extension ads onto your existing ads may help you increase CTR in the short run, I think the long term benefits for advertisers using these lie in incorporating these with finely targeted re-marketing campaigns which play around the same images.
As with any new adwords product launch it is important to monitor the impact this has on both you, and competitors in an ever-changing search engine marketing landscape.
Written by Dan Pillay, one of our search engine specialists

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