Using Image Search Ads in Google

If you’re relatively new to PPC advertising, Google’s image search ads may have flown under your radar. What are image search ads, you may be asking? Image search ads are ads that include both text and an inline image, appearing only on Google image search results pages. Don’t confuse these with image ads, which are graphical ads that show on Google’s Display Network.

Here’s what an image search ad looks like:

As you can see from my sample search for a wedding dress, this type of ad can be very effective for branding purposes for products that people would be likely to search for by image. Furthermore, as you can see above, image search ads are served in an excellent location on image search results pages.

Before setting up your image search ads, here are a few best practices to keep in mind. Create separate campaigns/ad groups for your image ads, as you would for your Search and Display ads. (We here at PPC Hero always recommend segmenting your account content by network location.) You’ll want to be able to monitor and control search image ads separately from your other Search Network content, tailoring your keyword lists to image searches and not general Web searches. You’ll also want to make sure your images are specific to your content so searchers are seeing a thumbnail image that is relevant to their image search. Unlike Google Product Ads, the image thumbnail shown with your image search ad is static, i.e. you have to specify which image shows with your ad. Google recommends choosing an image that is simple and encompasses the general essence of your product or service.

To create an image search ad, head into AdWords, and once you’re in your desired campaign and ad group, go to the Ads tab. Click the “New Ad” button, and select “Display ad builder” from the drop down menu. I know this is slightly confusing as I mentioned not confusing these with Display Image Ads, but for whatever reason this is where Google houses the image search ad template.

Once in the Display Ad Builder, choose “Image Search” in the left navigation, under “Media and Channels.”

From there, you’ll see the Image Search Ad template:

You’ll create your text ad in the same format as you would any other text ad in Google (headline, two description lines, display and destination URLs), and you’ll select an image to display inline with your ad.

Google will let you select an image from your computer, a previously uploaded image, an image from their stock image gallery, or an image from your website. If you choose to upload an image from your website, you simply enter in your URL, certify that you have permission to use these images, and then Google will pull all images from the page/URL you entered.

A few additional notes about Google’s image search ads. You can edit your image search ads in Adwords’ desktop editor after you’ve created them using the ad builder in the online interface. You will find your image search ads on the Display Ads tab in the desktop editor. Unlike ads on Google’s Display Network, you can track your image search ads performance at the keyword level. And, lastly, just make sure the campaign housing your image search ads is opted into Google’s Search Network.

If you’re currently running image search ads in Google, we’d love to hear how they’re working for you! Let us know in the comments section below.