Most digital marketers and Google Ads experts understand the reason why they need to use ad extensions in general and image extensions in particular. Image extensions enable you to upload images alongside your existing text ads, increase the prominence of your ads, and help you to increase CTR and quality score.
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Why Is It Important To Use Image Extensions?
Unlike other ad extensions, image extensions don’t look like they are a part of the ad since they are located on the side of the text. More than that, they add another dimension of reach content to your ad, which gives it a great look and feel.
What Is The Problem With Image Extension?
It’s definitely a must to use image extensions; the problem is that, for some reason, all image extensions look the same. Advertisers are using the same resources and the same images (did someone mention Unsplash?), and once again, all ads look virtually the same, causing you to lose the advantage that image extension might have been able to provide.
How Can I Optimize My Image Extensions?
Optimizing image extensions is not a simple task, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Adcore Elite, our in-house digital marketing agency, has taken the challenge of A/B testing multiple types of image extensions and optimizing them for top performance.
The method we used was testing multiple image extensions for a period of two months on several accounts. The selected accounts are from various industries, geo locations, and goal types (eCommerce and lead generation).
How Do I Measure Image Extension Success?
In general, most of the metrics Google Ads show on the extensions’ performance reports were related to the ad itself and not the ad extension. So if you look at metrics such as CTR, you will probably see the ad CTR performance when the image extension was added. You can segment the click type and see the extension performance; in sitelinks extensions, we found this useful. In this case, most of the metrics, such as CTR, Conv. Rate, etc., are still not that useful since we don’t expect the user to actually interact with the image extension.
Because these metrics are not relevant to determine which image is better than the others, we need to find a different KPI. Since Google declared how they select which extensions to show to maximize the performance of the text ads, we have concluded that the best KPI to measure image extension success is the EIS – Extension Impression Share.
EIS is the number of impressions of the extension divided by the number of total search impressions. This is why our goal was set to test new, refreshing image extensions that would increase the success of the image extension, meaning reach a higher EIS.
Since Google declared how they select which extensions to show to maximize the performance of the text ads, we have concluded that the best KPI to measure image extension success is the EIS - Extension Impression Share.
We A/B tested the classic image extensions that are popularly used or the ones seen everywhere versus image extensions that are aimed to increase awareness and to draw attention to the ad – as per Google’s definition behind ad extensions in general. Therefore, we have come up with some designs that aim to do just that, general designs that rely mostly on social proofing and are known as attention-takers.
Some of the image extensions that were tested:
The image extensions were tested for a total time of 60 days and on more than 1M impressions on Google Search; the results were amazing.
The EIS for classic image extensions was 19% while the EIS for social proofing extensions was 27% – that’s a 42% growth in the number of ads showing the image ad extension when it was social proof related, compared to the classic image extensions that were in use prior to the test.
When we look at the overall performance reports of the accounts, we can also see a decrease in avg. CPC and search impression share, but since many other changes are being made daily, we can’t link the overall increase in performance to the image extensions themselves.
The best combination that worked for us is social proofing which also includes an element of the client business. For example, in travel, adding an airplane reached even better results.
A Note About Image Extensions Policy Requirements
Before testing new ideas for image extensions, make sure you carefully read the Image Extension Requirements to save time and effort. The instructions are very clear but might be a bit confusing at times. Many of our other proposals for testing were disapproved because of Google’s policy, so it’s best to carefully read the policy before you begin testing.
We hope we managed to get you inspired and hopefully see some more interesting, attention-oriented image extensions out there. Start experimenting!