Google has opened its beta testing for image extensions which allow AdWords advertisers to include images with their text ads. Google is hoping to achieve a more editorial feel than simple product screen shots, a chance for advertisers to work on their branding.
Allowing images to be displayed in a PPC advertisement gives Search Engine Marketers a whole new way to entice users to click. Seeing a picture of a product can be far more persuasive than reading simple text and businesses and industries that were limited by text ads will soon have an advantage.
There are a few issues that Google will need to work out before they fully launch Image Extensions. Currently image extensions are limited to the top ad position, and it’s not always easy to get image extensions to show even when ads are already running in the top spot. PPC Associates were told that approximately 1% of all searches are actually seeing the ads now. So early adopters will need to be patient and expect relatively small data as Google ramps the testing.
Another issue is the guideline for images. One problem some PPC managers in beta have encountered is getting their images approved by Google. Even with the general guidelines Google has provided, it can be trial and error to find images that Google will allow. Some of the image guidelines are:
Images have to be high quality. No animation, overlays or logos that aren’t part of the product are allowed. Images need to be available and visible on the website. Image size 640px by 360px is preferred, and only 16:9 aspect ratio is allowed.
The guidelines stipulate images should be representative of all the ads and keywords in an ad group. But more specifically, the majority of keywords in the ad group should be “image-seeking”, meaning product keywords are fine, but product + price/ reviews are not.
By James Maston