Google recently announced a brand new ad extension that is getting us at Strong Coffee excited (and we’re pretty sure the espresso this morning had nothing to do with it). Get this… Google search ads are beta testing image extensions. Yep, you heard right, we will hopefully soon be able to add relevant images to our text ads to help get some real attention (we’re on the beta roster too). What’s the big deal you say… we’ve been doing this for years on Facebook? Well, while that is true, image ads on Facebook have much more generic targeting capabilities when compared to Google Adwords. We’ll now be able to hone in on specific keywords and generate images to match.
So what does this mean?
Well in short, we can tie images to keywords. Looking for a hotel in Banff? We can show you pictures of hotel rooms in Banff. Wanting to know what to do in Edmonton? You can see pictures of West Edmonton Mall, Fort Edmonton Park and Whyte Avenue. Want to play a round of golf? We can show you pictures of nearby golf courses. You get the picture (pun intended).
Take a look at this sample ad:
Tourism Industry just got a huge boost
These ads make for a perfect fit in the tourism industry (and industry we’re quite fond of), and really help solve one of the fundamental roles tourism advertising tries to solve – “why should I go to your city/destination?”. Images are worth a thousand words, and when you’re limited to only 70 characters to describe your tourism spot, that image is invaluable.
What should you watch out for?
Well, as you can imagine, Google is baby-stepping around these new ads. They currently have really strict guidelines regarding the types of images you can use to help promote/substantiate your ad. Don’t expect to get away with images that don’t directly related to your ad.
Like all ad extensions, you really only benefit if you’re in the top ad spot, so beware of the costs it will take to get there and be stingy on your keywords. You may end up paying an arm and a leg, so be sure you have the metrics behind your ad to determine your ROI.
Furthermore, you can be sure this new ad platform will extend to mobile devices as well. Google has also announced that images that are loaded to the ads must be high-quality 16:9 images – which leads us to believe they will have an option to open to a larger format. Finally, and most importantly, Google has said they will not currently provide any reporting on interactions with your ad images.
Take that, Facebook…
This change is in the “about time” column for us here at Strong Coffee. While we will still utilize the Facebook platform for its great visibility at a low price, some of our budget will definitely be allocated towards really targeted ad/image placements. There really has never been a better way to reach relevant customers than through keyword targeting, and the added benefit of images is really going to help boost return and click-through-rates.
Can’t wait to get started with these ads.