Google AdWords announced the Beta Launch of Image Ad Extensions on 5th June 2013.

Google says that more than one in six searches today provide results with visual content. As the universal web becomes more involved, users are demanding a richer experience with a larger variety of options in the results to choose from. In response to this increasing demand for user engagement, Google announced that they were going to be introducing Image extensions to search ads (now still in beta version) that would display only in certain instances when a particular search is likely to prefer visual content over plain text.

For example, a search for hotels can now be enriched by visually showing images for a particular hotel advertiser.

Image Ad Extensions

How Advertisers will use Image Extensions:

Advertisers will select the images that they want to have displayed with their search ads and then submit them to Google for review. Advertisers will need to have the necessary rights to the images that they want displayed with the ads. As this is still in beta stage, Google is encouraging advertisers to submit their images as they continue to experience on a number of global English search queries. Sources have mentioned that there have been some problems getting images approved and that it may be easier said than done – even under the Google Guidelines.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Images must relate directly to the keywords and ads in the ad group (where keywords are predominantly ‘image-seeking’ keywords)
Images cannot include animation or overlays
Logo’s that are not part of a specific product will not be approved
Images must be visible on the advertisers website
Images may not be approved where too much white space is used

Google has previously stated that advertisers who use both display ads as well as search ads are likely to see higher click thru’s on their search ads (particularly in the travel and automotive industries) as the visual ad becomes top of mind with a user and adds more credibility to the brand once the user continues to search for a solution. By combining image with text ads in the Search Results, advertisers hope to see an increase in their click thru rates as the can now showcase their products or services to complement their text adverts better.

It seems fairly obvious that those advertisers who utilise the image extensions are likely to receive more real estate, and most likely will receive higher clicks than those advertisers who don’t enable image extensions. After all, isn’t it said that a picture is worth a 1,000 words? And any AdWords advertiser knows that 95 characters provides an enormous challenge when trying to get a marketing message across to a captured audience.

Advertisers interested in participating in the image extensions beta can fill out this form.