Google just announced the beta launch of a new capability for the businesses that advertise alongside its search results — the ability to include images.
While the company offers a variety of ad formats across its networks and properties, its search ads have remained text-only until now. Earlier search ad extensions allowed businesses to include things like more links, an address or a phone number.
I’m guessing some users will see this as another way that Google is spoiling the simplicity or purity of its search results page. The flip side is that the company’s advertising is just catching up to the more multimedia approach that Google has been taking to search. As the blog post notes, one in six Google searches now have results that include visual content.
The company writes: “Image extensions enable you to more accurately convey the body style of a car, the cut of a pair of jeans, or a particular shade of eyeshadow, making your ads richer and more informative so they stand out in a crowded marketplace.”
Google says it’s launching the program in English initially. It will be reviewing the images submitted for ads, and the advertiser must have the rights to the image.