Image extensions are one of Google’s latest additions to the ever-expanding Google Ads platform. It allows you to add an image or a few to your ad on the SERPs to enforce them with a visual element that can push users to click on your ad.
The feature was added back in 2020 and has seen widespread use ever since because of how great it is at making your ads more visible. Read along as we explain how you can set up one and explore the many benefits of using image extensions in your Google Ads, as well as the best practices that you should follow.
How to set up image extensions in Google Ads?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to create image extensions in Google Ads, let us first explain one important thing. Google allows you to implement image extensions to an ad group as well as per campaign. This can make the process of bulk uploading less tiresome and very time efficient. See below for how to do this.
- Find your way to the “All campaigns” page in your Google Ads account
- Click on the Ads and Extensions tab
- Click on extensions, then click on the big blue plus button
- From the options presented to you, select image extension
- An “Add to” dropdown will appear. Choose between ad group or campaign
- Then click on the blue link to select which ad group or campaign you want
- Click on “done”
- Now it is time to upload your image(s). Find the Upload tab and choose the file or files you want to display on your SERP ad
- You can either upload an image from your computer or use one from your website. The latter is made easier for you; all you need to do is to enter the URL of your website, then Google will do all the work for you and list you the images that meet their standards
Like other ad extensions, the images you upload as extensions need to be first approved by Google before being put on display.
N.B: To use image extensions, your Google Ads account must be over 90 days old. You must also have a history of being policy compliant. Furthermore, your account should either be an eligible vertical or sub-vertical.
Here’s an example of how images are shown to users:
Image extensions specs
The dimensions and formats for your ads’ image extensions will sound all too familiar if you’re competent with digital marketing.
- Image Size: When it comes to image extensions, you have two options. You can either go with a landscape image (1:19:1 aspect ratio) or a square image (1:1 aspect ratio). If you’re going with the former, Google’s minimum dimensions are 600 x 314, while their recommended dimensions are 1200 x 618. However, if you’re going with a square image, the minimum is 300 x 300 while the recommended is, you’ve guessed it, 1200 x 1200
- File Formats: You can only upload a JPG, PNG, or static GIF image
- File Size: The maximum files size allowed by Google is 5120 KB, that’s 5 MB
Google also imposes several additional requirements for image extensions, such as:
- You can’t have a brand’s logo as an image extension. The same goes for an image that contains a logo overlay
- You can’t upload an image where the marketed product or service is unrecognisable
- An image that is a collage of multiple images cannot be used
- Of course, your image extensions can’t include any nudity or sexually suggestive elements
- Your image will not be accepted if it’s of bad quality
The benefits of using image extensions
Naturally, your paid ad will appear on the search engine results page (SERP) of users searching for something that includes a keyword you bid for (manually or automatically). It will just be a bunch of text preceded by a bolded “Ad” sign.
It’s widely known and accepted that images and visuals, in general, are better at grabbing people’s attention than mere text. So, image extensions are basically a great way of improving your text ads on Google. They add an extra flavour to your text ad, making it more attractive and engaging in the process. In fact, they have proven to improve the click-through rate (CTR) of ads by anywhere from 10 to 15%.
Of course, you yourself can have totally different results. It can be better or worse (but not much worse) than that. The only way to find out is by test running an ad with and without image extensions.
Google Ads image extensions – Best practices
Use simple images
Image extensions will always appear as either a small square or rectangle besides your ad. For this reason alone, you should definitely rely on simple, straightforward images that preferably contain a single item that users can focus on.
Use many images
Google Allows you to use up to 20 images per ad. And while we don’t recommend that you use this limit to its full extent, we still think it is a good idea to use a few. Again, as is the case with almost any digital advertising model out there, there is no telling regarding what works and what doesn’t.
So, the only way to solve this dilemma of numbers is by testing combos of multiple images. For instance, you can upload numerous images featuring one product at different angles and more.
Use lifestyle images
It is widely accepted amongst digital marketers that lifestyle images are the way to go in most cases, and Google Ads’ image extensions are no exceptions. After all, lifestyle pictures help to communicate feelings as well as the identity of your brand almost perfectly.
You want your image extensions to feature people holding or using your product in real-life situations if that is what you’re selling. That’s because they have long proven to be quite effective at driving more engagement.
Here’s an example of a picture you can use if you’re running a restaurant:
- Make sure the images you use are actually useful. They should convey selling points, encourage users to take action or show how to convey information
- Make sure the image(s) you use fit your content. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different creative styles to find what resonates best with your audience
- Make sure to try both kinds of aspect ratio (square and landscape). Again, experiment with landscape images to enable more serving through experiments
How to monitor the performance of image extensions
When you try a new feature or setting in Google Ads, it’s essential to monitor performance to see if it’s something worthwhile for your brand. That principle applies to image extensions.
Here’s how to measure ad extension performance in Google Ads:
- Fire up Google Ads
- Click Ads and Extensions
- Click Extensions. Once you do that, you’ll be presented with a summary view that displays extension types as a list of cards. You can switch to table view if you want
- Select the card that contains the image extension type, and you’ll find all the statistics you need to assess the performance of image extensions
Need help with Google Ads management?
Google Ads are an excellent way to reach new clients and customers. That said, they can be a bit challenging (and expensive) for newcomers. They’re still worth it for big and small businesses, though. If you feel overwhelmed by all the options offered within this paid advertising platform, send us a message. One of our UK Google Ads experts will promptly reach out to the rescue.