What to Expect From Adwords Image Extensions?

Google recently announced that they are rolling out a new form of advertising unit which focuses heavily on images called Adwords Image Extensions.

You can read the “official” Google Adwords announcement of Adwords Image Extension

Here’s what the ads might look like.

We’ve yet to see any “live” examples in the wild. If you see them first, be sure to screenshot them and post the link in the comments.

Adwords Image Extensions

adwords image extensions

Click to enlarge

With the rapid uptake of smartphones and tablets this is a good move on Google’s part, we believe.

For you, the advertiser, this opens up another first-mover advantage door for the savvy digital marketers to capitalise on and then your competitors can play catch up in the months to come.

Here’s the relevant points from the announcement.

We think the speed at which you can capitalise on this will make this opportunity big for advertisers for the next few months.

You snooze, you lose. Every time a new feature comes out the opportunistic advertisers need to commit a certain amount of time and money to experiment with these features. Some you win, and win big, others you lose, and you can lose small.

When Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) came out in 2003 we cleaned up for months, then every other advertiser learned about it, so it made more sense NOT to use DKI so our ads still stood out.

We call it zigging, when everyone else was zagging.

The main points are:

  1.  You can choose the images you want to upload (up to 3 per ad group)
  2. Consider breaking out into separate ad groups keywords with a descriptive element to take advantage of this opportunity – think “dog training image”, “dog training picture” or words with an opportunity to get a closer look – “red lip gloss”
  3. Make sure you have the digital rights to use the images you upload
  4. This is an experimental program so your mileage may vary in terms of results. We think it will be awesome for those advertisers who get it right (same as we think Enhanced Campaigns are the best thing since sliced bread)
  5. You need to apply – fill in the simple form at https://services.google.com/fb/forms/imageextinterest (see the required fields below)
  6. It is currently only for English speaking markets – seems strange seeing as it is an image extension, but I suspect this is an operational issue and that only the english language Adwords team have received training on the approval process for images

Here’s all you need to answer on the form, so really easy.

Adwords Image Extensions – Application

adwords image extensions application

Adwords Image Extension Application

It looks like you will be able to run these image ads alongside site links.

There is no information on whether the Adwords Image Extensions will run with review ratings or social extensions, so we will wait to see if they do.

There does seem to be some details missing from the release :

  • Is there a requirement to be in the top ad spots rather than down the side?
  • The maximum file size?
  • The image dimensions?
  • Can you upload higher resolution and Google will crop?
  • Is this just for Google sites or will it work on Google Display Network and partner sites?
  • When will it be available via API and Adwords Editor?
  • What types of images would not be approved? (How much skin for dating images)

We think these image extensions will work very well on tablets and smartphones, so this might be a reason to be more creative with bids where these types of ads are available.

As the keywords are less likely to be transactional and more descriptive the average CPC and competition should be smaller.

If you do roll this out, be sure to add annotations and measure the results and let us know what results you get.

Might this be a fore-runner to Google trying to buy Pinterest (again) as was rumoured back in 2012 and they are testing the water out to see how things go before tabling an offer.

Jim Banks is a digital marketing old-timer and the Head of Biddable Media of Blueglass, a strategy driven digital marketing agency specialising in paid, owned and earned media. You can connect with Jim on Twitter, Google+ (Jim's favourite social network) and Facebook and read all Jim's blog posts here

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