Google has recently broadened the area of sponsored search results to include images in addition to text. Previously, businesses could only serve ads with website links and contact information attached to text search results, but the new image extensions allow the use of visual content in search ads.
As search has evolved in the last several months, the capabilities of ads have evolved as well. Businesses can now choose images that they wish to display with their search ads to be reviewed by Google. Google’s blog states that “image extensions allow you to more accurately convey the body style of a car, the cut of a pair of jeans, or a particular shade of eye shadow, making your ads richer and more informative so they stand out in a crowded marketplace.” These images give consumers a literal picture of what they searched for, making ads more relevant, informative and effective.
This process also ensures that the images selected for sponsored searches will be applied to searches likely to result in visual content. For example, a search for “fuel efficient car designs” is more likely to give image-based results than a search for “nearby Ford dealerships.” This then presents consumers with the information they’re looking for, paired with the most effective ads a business can provide, thereby giving the simpler sponsored text search results a face-lift.
The goal here is to bring some of the visual-oriented ad market of TV and print to the world of search. Engaging image-based ads will encourage users to actively elect to participate in the ads. Past updates have allowed the placement of links in search ads, which proved to create a rise in click-through rates. This most recent extension is anticipated to increase click-through rates as well, benefiting both the client and Google.
Overall, the new image extension for sponsored search results is expected to produce more interest in ads from the consumer perspective. The inclusion of visual material provides branding opportunities and the ability to effectively reach more users, which will create more revenue for businesses serving ads through Google.
[Sources: Google AdWords, AdWeek]
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