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You may have recently noticed that the sidebar of many Google searches have ads that are supplemented with images. This feature was released in beta to a select number of retailers on November 11 according to Google, and is called Product Listing Ads.
As of late November, the feature has been released to all U.S. Advertisers according to Search Engine Roundtable. If you have product to move this holiday season, you’d be smart to add in these images to your results. Why?
For now it appears that the only people using this feature are retailers, but I can see a day coming soon when a large majority of these ads will be image enabled. Images draw the eye and increase clicks. This feature is similar to what another ad network, Chitika, has been doing. Their ad formats, seen below, have included images with ads for a while.
One of the publishers we work with reports that this style of ad, product images paired with ad text, completely outperformed the Google text ads. For publishers, this change will come as welcome news in that it will help with revenue, but the lesson for marketers is that image ads convert. That’s the obvious reason to use this feature.
But in addition to this, these ads enjoy a competitive advantage over the other ads in that they sit in prime real estate in the ad results. I’ve yet to see a result with images interspersed throughout the results. Instead they all sit prominently on the top. That’s an advantage that doesn't appear to be based on your spend. For the time being, advertisers using images will enjoy prime placement as well.
My suggestion is to begin familiarizing yourself with the process and updating your ads before the holiday season is complete. To do so, the Google online AdWords help manual explains:
To add an image ad, follow these steps:
- Go to the Data menu > Add New Image Ad or click Add Image Ad on the Image Ads tab.
- If prompted, select the campaign and ad group where you want to add the image ad, and click OK.
- Enter a name for your image ad.
- Enter your display and destination URLs.
- Click Choose Image to select an image file for your new image ad.
Your new image ad will appear in the data view with + beside it.
For those with a large catalogue of products, Google has an easy way to important images and tie them to specific campaigns. You can learn more about adding multiple images with this article.
For those following Google’s stock price, this is a strong move on their part due to the increased clickthroughs that this will drive. Consumers will find this content more appealing and relevant than text ads and you will see an increase in ad clicks. With that in mind, marketers in this highly competitive space have some work to do to begin updating their ad campaigns before the end of the holidays. Good luck!