Make Text Ads Stand Out with the New Google Image Extension


Make Text Ads Stand Out with the New Google Image Extension

Quinn Kane, Justin Colbert & Karen Cinpinski


Advertisers are already seeing the benefits of Google’s latest ad extension, which promises to draw users’ attention to top-of-page text ads. The Image Extension, which serves a clickable image in the bottom right corner of a text ad, has delivered a 10% increase in CTR.

Advertisers can select their own images at a campaign or ad group level, or they can opt in to dynamic image extensions, which allow Google to select images from the advertiser’s website. The extension is currently serving only on mobile, and it appears only for ads that serve at absolute top of page. The image extension is still in beta, so check your Google account to see if your client has been granted access.

Our Take

Image extensions are an exciting way to make ads stand out at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (or SERP). Results have already shown that users engage with these ads at a higher rate than with standard text ads. But while image extensions have promise, there are still a few factors to consider when implementing.

Choose campaigns carefully: Image extensions will only serve when an ad is in absolute top of page position. So, consider implementing image extensions on campaigns that are optimized for top of page impression share, since these campaigns will be most likely to serve image extensions at a higher rate. Additionally, image extensions are currently only serving on mobile, so consider implementing them on campaigns that perform well on mobile devices.

Consider which products fit the format: In order to see the best performance, enable image extensions for products that can be easily represented with visuals. Image extensions still serve below Product Listing Ads, so they offer another good opportunity to grab a user’s attention at the top of the SERP.

Gauge your client’s comfort with dynamic image extensions: Google has encouraged advertisers to opt in to dynamic image extensions, which allow Google to pull images directly from the advertiser’s site and even show up on desktop. These perks mean that dynamic image extensions offer increased reach for advertisers, but they also mean that advertisers have less control over the images they serve. If you do opt in to dynamic image extensions, work with your SEO team to ensure that images on your site meet the proper specs, and consider adding image alt tags or schema to help Google pull the most relevant images. 

Pitch image extensions as an exciting, free new feature: Image extensions don’t require any additional funding, and they could even help lower costs in the long run by increasing quality score (with a higher CTR). When proposing image extensions to clients, it may be beneficial to have a few campaigns or products in mind that they could use – these would be good campaigns to use for initial test-runs, to gauge performance of the new extensions within your account.

The Details

Requirements & Best Practices

Image Specs

  • Aspect ratio: 1x1
  • Resolution:
    • Minimum: 300x300
    • Recommended: 1200x1200
  • Max file size: 5120 KB
  • File format: PNG, JPG, static GIF
  • Image safe area: Situate important content within center 80% of image

Best Practices

  • Prioritize ad groups that are optimized for absolute top of page impression share, because image extensions only serve for ads at absolute top of page
  • Provide at least 3 images per ad group
  • Certain image types are not supported: GIFs or moving images, collages, low quality images, images with overlaid text or overlaid logos (text and logos that appear in the original image are OK)

Implementation Process

Standard Image Extensions (Advertiser provides images)

  • Step 1: Navigate to the extension creation page, and select image extensions
    • Ads & Extensions tab -> Extensions -> ‘+’ Create extension -> Type = Image Extension
  • Step 2: Select campaigns
    • Google ads will ask the user which campaigns should be enabled for image extensions
  • Step 3: Provide images – select one of the two following options
    • Create New: choose from one of the below options to create a new image
      • Scan website – Google suggests images from the advertiser’s website
      • Upload – Images can be uploaded from your computer
      • Recently Used – Select from previously used images
    • Use Existing:
      • Select images that are already being used as an image extension on another campaign or ad group

Dynamic Image Extensions (Google selects images from Advertiser’s website)

  • Go to Ads & Extensions tab, select Extensions, scroll to Dynamic Image Extensions, and click “Opt In” at the bottom right of the box. When a pop-up appears to confirm, check the box, and then click “Turn On.”

Quinn Kane, Justin Colbert & Karen Cinpinski

Search Marketing

Quinn Kane is an Analyst, Search Marketing; Justin Colbert is a Manager, Search Marketing; and Karen Cinpinski is a VP/Director, Search Marketing. 


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