Google recently unveiled a new type of ad extension that shows images above paid search ads. While this new feature, called Image Ad Extensions, is currently in beta and is only available to a limited number of advertisers in the United States, it represents an interesting new opportunity for advertisers to feature compelling images at the top of the search results page.
The introduction of Image Ad Extensions is a part of Google’s recent efforts to improve the SERP by experimenting with different ways to display images that will attract more clicks. Some time ago, Google introduced the highly successful Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which display images of products in the “shopping section.” Alternatively, image extensions represent an entirely new way to feature images on the SERP.
Unlike PLAs, image extensions do not show product information, prices, or brands – instead, they simply display three images at the top of the SERP. What make image extensions special, and more flexible, is that they don’t have to show individual products, although they may. The images can be of anything related to a business. This introduces an opportunity for businesses that don’t offer traditional products (like service and lead-gen businesses) to display engaging images on the search results page and take up more real estate on the SERP. Any business that wants to communicate a compelling message via a visual format can benefit from this new ad extension.
The primary obstacle to implementation for advertisers is that image extensions can only be shown for ads that consistently rank in the first position on the SERP. As a result, most of the opportunities for image extensions will be reserved for branded keywords, but the full impact of this new development is yet to be seen.
To learn more about how to implement a successful image extensions strategy, check out our white paper.