Image Extend Your Ads: Google Introduces New Image Extensions


Google has revealed a new venture into ad extensions. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you image extensions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then AdWords users have certainly got a lot more room to create compelling text ads now.

Image Extensions

In Google’s announcement post, they talk about how this extension will be great to show off things like car models, jeans and even different shades of eye shadow. There is a lot more that we could use this extension for. Service-based companies will be able to highlight their work, and, as in the above example, hotels will be able to showcase their facilities. We may even see some companies using their logos – it would be very interesting to see the results of this in comparison to other methods of image ads.

Obviously any company with a visual angle will benefit from this – however, for e-commerce websites this feature will not work as well as product listing ads, purely because product listing ads display images based on the search query, whereas image extensions are likely to have the same usability as its peers, which means we will only be able to have images to represent an ad group, again reiterating the importance of tightly themed ad groups. PLA's also include price information.

But the image extensions could be great for non–e-commerce companies. Since lead gen businesses don’t have products to include in PLA’s, they can now at least include super-clickable images.

See No Evil – The Upside of Image Extensions

The best part of image extensions is that instead of telling someone how amazing your product is in 95 characters, you can just show them in one image. This way, users can decide for themselves whether they are interested or not and hopefully click through to your site, already sold on your image and description. It is also likely to reduce wasted clicks as you can show the user a lot of representative information about your product/service/company so if they aren’t interested they won’t click. Qualifying your visitors gives you better ROI from paid search.

Potential Disadvantages of Image Extensions

Even though there are all these great points for image extensions, there are also a couple of bad points. The first most noticeable bad point is it looks as though you have to trade in a description line to have an image extension. Seems like a fair trade, however there is less room to describe your site or product. We could potentially see a lot of ads that seem more like captions.

There is also the possibility that users are going to be unaware of what these new ad variations are, which could lead them to click onto standard ads. If this is the case then we could be scaring off of potential business. (But given the performance of PLAs compared to standard text ads, this is unlikely.)

The worst problem that I can foresee is for position 2 and 3. Position 1 will cost the most, however to a lot of people it will look as though all 3 images belong to the text ad accompanying it. This means that if you’re not paying top dollar, then you could be aiding your competitors.

I was also worried about the standard text ads, but they are said to still appear, just below the image ads. The image ad extension section will show 3 different images and they all have their own individual text ads that are displayed once you hover over the image.

The Low Down

The beta is now available for U.S. customers. Unfortunately us Brits will have to wait until the end of the year or beginning of next year to start using it, so happy experimenting, my American friends.

So since American customers have the honour of testing out this wonderful new feature, I will sit back and watch your findings. I myself can’t wait until I get the chance to experiment with image ads, but all in all it looks like a great addition to the extension collection and just another example of how paid search is developing for the better.

This is a guest post by Lewis Austin, the PPC & Social Media Manager at Absolute Digital Media. Working on a variety of campaigns within our paid search department, Lewis is currently studying to become a Google AdWords Certified Individual, extending his knowledge within the AdWords and Analytics platforms. When he’s not keeping up to date with Google’s latest blogs, news and webinars, Lewis loves watching comedies and relaxing with the odd video game.

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Jun 06, 2013

Decent capture of a real result here

Lewis Austin
Jun 07, 2013

Great find Tom! i think these extensions look great.

Megan Marrs
Jun 06, 2013

Really interesting - I think giving up a line of text is well worth the image space!

Lewis Austin
Jun 07, 2013

It's not a bad deal right? Im really excited to test this new toy out!

Randall Magwood
Jun 06, 2013

I believe that it could increase clickthroughs for Adwords advertisers. But like you said, someone may think that all 3 images belongs to the same advertiser - thus experiencing a lack of clicks to another advertiser's site.

Matthew Barby
Jun 08, 2013

Looks interesting - can image this being great for click through rates from the SERPs. I'll have to get testing!


Jun 10, 2013

I am very interested to try this out for myself.

Web design NSW
Jun 11, 2013

This sounds interesting! Will try to check this one out as well and see how it works. Nice share!

Jun 12, 2013

Potential disadvantages are not so bad, really.I mean, I love to read, but if I want to buy something, images are very important. Images attract attention quickly, and that will move customers to just check out more articles about the product.Great update from Google! Read this and "Kingged" this on the IM social networking site,

useful blog
Feb 06, 2017

You got a very superb website, Gladiolus I noticed it through yahoo.

Jun 13, 2013

Definitely appears as if they all belong to the top ad. Google keeps making it more vital to be in Position 1. 

Jun 15, 2013

Great post...thanks for the reminder to blog about the everyday things that people want to read. As a real estate agent, I too struggle with what to blog about. Thanks! 

trai cay dam sua chua
Mar 03, 2016

Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good

Dan Pizzolato
Jun 11, 2014

Does anyone know if image extensions still exist?  I haven't seen them in search results lately.  And when I go to try and create these for myself, I don't see Image Extension in the drop down list of Ad Extension options.

Richard Gilbert
Dec 03, 2014

Great post love it keep it up. 

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