So I awoke this morning to a PPC advertising world abuzz with excitement over the latest Google Adwords ad extension, the image extension. As I watched the social universe explode with excitement I couldn’t help but get caught up in the frenzy, and for good reason. Google image extensions will in all likelihood transform the performance of your campaigns; and in a way which will make previous ad extensions pale in comparison.
Why so bullish about image extensions?
So why am I so bullish about ad extensions I hear you ask? Well to predict the future it is always best to look at the past and so it is that to predict the impact of image extensions, we should first look at how and why previous ad extensions have improved our Adwords advertising campaigns.
Creating a point of difference
The first reason ad extensions have proved so effective is pretty obvious, anything that makes your ads stand out is likely to attract attention and at the end of the day it’s the ads that stand out that get the clicks. What you do with that traffic once it hits your site of course is a topic for another day. Google will be the first to tell you that just adding an ad extension – any ad extension – will increase your click through rate.
Simply including site links in your ads for example has been shown to improve your click through rate by as much as 15% and that’s before you even start to get creative with the copy you include in your sitelinks.
Visual Trust Signals
The second reason that ad extensions have worked int the past is due to visual trust signals and this point is most important when considering Google Image Extensions. When any person is looking to engage with a business in any way, they are subconsciously searching for visual cues that tell them that they can trust the company. Is this business is reputable and is this firm is an authority in their industry?
These signals become more important the further along the buying funnel we progress, but they are no less significant when deciding which ad to click on a SERP.
The very reason that ad extensions have worked so brilliantly in the past is that they provide additional cues that help to validate the users decision, that your advertisement will meant their needs. For example;
- Social extensions provide cues that there exists, other satisfied customers in the market place who are willing recommend your services.
- location extensions provide evidence that you are located within a geographic region that is able to service the customer;
- Site links offer greater opportunity to prove to a prospective visitor, that they will find what they are looking for once they land on a site.
Why Image ads will conquer them all
Quite simply image ads will provide a more effective way than ever to achieve the above. And they will do so by
- Standing out from the crowd in a way no other ad extension has been able to do in the past; and
- By providing a better visual trust signal than you have ever been able to achieve with a mere 70 characters of text.
The other thing you might want to consider is the effect that product listing ads has had on eCommerce. Wordstream’s Larry Kim provides the best insight in his article How Product Listing Ads Are Stealing Your Conversions where he states boldly “If You’re An E-Commerce Business And You’re Not Using PLA’s, Good Luck!”
It’s not a long bow to draw that image ad extensions could have a similar impact on non eCommerce businesses. In fact I would argue that it’s exactly these sort of results which have lead to Google rolling out their latest ad extension in the first place.
So what should you do now?
Well put simply, the first thing you should do is drop everything and head to the image extension beta test sign-up form and fill in the required fields like your advertising life depends on it.
But from then do as I will be doing and start collating visual cues for your clients or business. I will be looking for pictures of smiley happy plumbers wearing official company polo shirts, stand out images from my photography clients portfolios, images of slick websites for my web design clients and so on and so on.
My fellow PPC managers,today could be the dawn of a brave new world in ppc advertising! Or perhaps it’s just a particularly eventful day in the life of a easily excitable search marketer. Either way I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to getting my hands on this latest feature from the friendly folks at Google Land. So who’s with me?