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PMG Digital Made for Humans

Images in Paid Search Ads

2 MINUTE READ | June 14, 2016

Images in Paid Search Ads

Just 3 short years ago, Google introduced Image Extensions. Touted as the future of paid search (by me), Google gave the advertiser the ability ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ when promoting brand or business. If you remember, Yahoo actually pioneered this concept a few years earlier with Rich Ads in Search (RAIS). RAIS even took Google’s extension one step further by allowing video.

But, apparently the future came too fast. Image Extensions were sunsetted before they officially left the beta phase and we were back to square one with text only in our paid search ads. Is it just me or does this seem like a big missed opportunity? It is very common for brands that we manage to routinely see over half of their search traffic through standard (non-PLA) search ads. In some cases, this may be the very first interaction that a brand has with a consumer. How much more impactful

If Google is going to continue to convince advertisers to use paid search as a tool for prospecting and brand discovery, it is only natural to allow images back into their ads. We’ve all seen the benefits of PLAs, but there’s only so much of a story you can tell from a single product image and a few lines of text.

Google hasn’t completely cut ties with this concept and we are seeing recent signs of life. Currently available on mobile for auto only, automotive extensions were announced earlier this year. Now how about you throw the other industries a bone Googs?

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I’m not asking for anything crazy. Nobody is advocating for a Baidu Brand Zone-esque program or the difficulties that come along with implementation. But, let’s give it a shot. Let’s give advertisers a better platform in search to tell a story.


Posted by Jordan Schmitt

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