What You Need to Know About Google Image Extensions

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What You Need to Know About Google Image Extensions

Create more compelling ads when you make Google Image Extensions a part of your campaign. Here’s what you need to know about this extension and how to make it work for your ad groups. 

Out with the old, in with the new: Google Image Extensions

Say goodbye to Gallery Ads, say hello to Google Image Extensions. The tech company started rolling out this new Google ads feature in late 2019 after announcing that they will be retiring their Gallery Ads beta – a format that makes your ads look like a large image carousel – in August 2020.  

With internet users becoming more and more accustomed to search experiences that combine images with text, the search engine is riding the wave by introducing visual elements to the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

The timing couldn’t be better. In fact, Marin Software’s 2019 State of Digital Advertising report found that 65% of digital marketers planned to increase their use of shoppable images for search. 

26% of marketers also said that image ads were second only to video in terms of effectiveness as a social ad format.  

Gallery Ads was not the first visual addition to the SERPs by any means. GIE is the search engine’s third foray into image extensions.  

Google notably added favicon icons to organic results early this year to help users determine where the links on the SERPS will lead. The company also did image extension tests back in 2016 and 2013.   

GIE is the latest of these iterations. Google saw potential in what was initially mobile-only feature and rolled it out on desktop in late 2019. 

GIE come in the form of thumbnail images that show up next to your search ads. But since these are dynamic ad extensions, you won’t have direct control over the image content. The beta version does, however, take images that it deems relevant from your landing page. 

Why use Google Image Extensions?

GIE is a worthy addition to your Google AdWords arsenal for the following reasons: 

  • It’s free. You can add the extension to your campaign at no cost. You won’t get charged for clicks on seller ratings either. When a user clicks on the image extension, Google will charge you on a cost-per-click basis as with a text headline. Google’s PPC model only charges you for clicks, such as when, for example, an internet user rings you from a call extension. 

Moreover, the search engine typically charges no more than two clicks for each impression and interaction with an ad and its corresponding extensions.

So you really have nothing to lose by trying out this new desktop feature – it can even be a cost-effective way of refreshing your Google Ads campaign and getting more clicks as a result. 

  • It can boost your click-through-rate (CTR). Google claims that their extensions can increase your ad’s CTR by several percentage points. More specifically, they found an average CTR increase of 10% to 15% on average for campaigns utilising new ad extensions. 
  • It can make your text ad more captivating (and effective). GIE is a creative way of infusing plain text ads with some excitement. Although ad copy should be clever enough to capture search users’ attention, it doesn’t hurt to use images that can strengthen your ad’s message.  

But images do more than make your ads look good. Humans are visual creatures, after all – studies show that data visualisation works because we process images 60,000 faster than text. Moreover, 90% of information that gets transmitted to the brain is visual.

It can help improve ad quality (and quite possibly quality score). According to Wordstream, GIE can potentially give ad quality, and in effect, your ad quality score. This could be because landing page experience is one of the major factors affecting quality score along with expected CTR and ad relevance. 

And since GIE pulls relevant images from your landing page, it signals relevancy between your ad copy and your landing page, effectively communicating to users (and the search engine) that the landing page contains information presented in the ad they’re seeing. 

Google also says that ad extensions, in general, play a role in ad rank – along with other components like ad quality, landing page quality, bids, ad rank thresholds, and user search context. 

As you know, ads that have a higher quality score not only perform better on SERPs, they also cost you less per click. 

  • Your competitors will be using it. Forward-thinking marketers and entrepreneurs keep their campaigns up-to-date by adopting new extensions to strengthen their digital marketing strategies. Your competitors and their marketers will be using GIE, getting impressions and clicks that ought to be going to your ads and not theirs.  

How to use Google Image Extensions

Adding GIE to your existing campaigns is a simple and straight-forward process: 

  • Enable GIE in your AdWords account. To use this feature, you must have Image Extensions enabled in your Google Ads account. You must also verify that you rightfully own, or at least have the legal permission to use, all the images on your landing page for advertising purposes on Google. 
  • Invest in high-quality photos. Since Google will be pulling images from your landing page, make sure that these images are crisp, clear, and engaging. This will help make your ads more effective as well as allow you to maximise the benefits of GIE.  
  • Be mindful of Google’s image requirements. Aside from image quality, you should also be aware of the search engine’s formatting requirements when preparing photos – images should measure 300 x 300 pixels at minimum while file size should not exceed 5120KB. Google recommends uploading 1200 × 1200 for best results. 

Images should ideally be in square format. At the very least, Google should be able to crop your images into squares so be mindful of logo or product positioning in photos to make sure these elements will be displayed in full with GIE.  

  • Add image extensions to multiple ad groups. For now, marketers can only implement GIEs by ad group. However, you can select multiple ad groups across multiple campaigns: 
  1. Go to “All Campaigns”
  2. Click “Ads and Extensions” 
  3. Go to “Extensions” 
  4. Add a new extension by clicking the blue plus icon
  5. Choose “Image Extension” from the options 
  6. View your campaigns and their corresponding ad groups in the pop-up box 
  7. Go through your campaigns and select the relevant ad groups you want to add GIE to
  8. Click “Done”
  9. Upload images by clicking the blue plus icon in the “Images” box
  10. Click the “Upload” tab
  11. Choose the images you want to show in your ads 

If don’t have suitable images for upload, simply enter your site URL. This will let Google scan your site for relevant images. 

As with other ad extensions, Google will need to approve your GIEs first. Once approved, the uploaded or scanned images will start appearing next to your text ads on the SERPs.

Work with a top digital marketing agency

Contevo stands for “Continuous Evolution” – digital advertising is an ever-evolving landscape the keeps the best agencies on their toes. We believe in utilising all the tools available to create robust digital advertising campaigns for our clients. Get in touch with us today to discuss Google Image Extensions and PPC advertising can help you grow your bottomline. 

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