I grew up with a lot of baby boomers. If there’s one thing to know about baby boomers, it’s that they love their music. At every holiday gathering, my beloved baby boomers would congregate in the music room, and we’d “Beatle it up.” Uncle on the piano, aunt on the vocals, 12 year old me wondering how I just time traveled back to 1967 and if I’ll ever get back. I thought Let It Be was a Thanksgiving song until I was 16 years old. I grew up on the Boomers’ music. Beatles and everything else, so when I think of the word “change,” it’s not surprising that I find myself humming The Byrds’ Turn! Turn! Turn!
So as I sit here listening to that song on YouTube, I am thinking a lot about the image asset on Google Ads search campaigns. It’s so different than it used to be. Back in the day when I started on Google Ads, it was all text. The ads were all text and nothing else. I should write a song about my Google Ads years from 2014 to 2020 and call it Text! Text! Text!
It was all text. But in 2020, Google launched the image extension, now called the image asset. And man have I warmed up to it. At first I was defensive and missed the good old days of all text ads, but over the last few years I’ve really come to appreciate the power of the image asset. I see how it positively affects the Google Ads campaigns I run, and I see how it affects me as a search user and how I’m drawn to seeing and clicking on ads that have the image asset on them. The image asset is a powerful tool inside of your Google Ads campaigns, and it should be utilized to the maximum extent.
There’s a few requirements for the image asset, including that the Google Ads account has been open for more than 90 days. But once you’re able to run image assets, you should definitely try them out.
Go search “movers near me.” Which ad drew your attention the most? For me, it’s whichever ad had the image asset running with it. The image just draws my attention and gives that advertiser the first chance of attracting my attention and earning my traffic. It’s powerful.
The data backs it up too. I just picked out three campaigns in Google Ads accounts by random. Look at this data.
When the image asset shows, the clickthrough rates are:
Campaign 1 – 10%
Campaign 2 – 20%
Campaign 3 – 25%
And I can’t tease out the clickthrough rate when image assets do not show, but overall and including when the image assets show (so combined, when it does and does not show) the clickthrough rates are:
Campaign 1 – 8%
Campaign 2 – 12%
Campaign 3 – 18%
I see this data theme over and over. Image assets draw eyeballs, that attention leads to clicks at a higher rate, which can lead to improved Quality Score, Ad Rank, more leads, and more profitable leads.
How many images should you add and test? My approach is as many images as make sense. I don’t add image assets for the sake of adding image assets. I add images when my advertisers have quality and relevant images. Those are my two threshold bars that we need to cross for image assets, quality and relevance.
I also like trying different kinds of images. Different search users are attracted to different kinds of images. For example, if I’m advertising for a real estate attorney, I’ll use images of the attorney’s picture, a group photo of the firm, a picture of the law firm’s building, and a picture of a legal document that says “real estate title” or something like that, relevant to whatever services they offer. For a moving company, I could use pictures of the guys, the truck, moving boxes, people packing for a move, etc. Google’s automation is very powerful, and it’s important to give it lots of assets to work with so they show the right image next to the right ad on the right search to the right person. There’s a lot of moving parts these days, and the more assets you throw at the machine, the better chance you have of getting as close to perfect relevance as possible on each search auction.
Times change, and search ads on Google are no longer just about text. I’ve embraced the change, I’ve become devoted to fully utilizing image assets, and I’ve seen the rewarding results that come with this mindset. Image assets are a powerful part of a Google Ads search campaign, and they should be used to the full extent possible.
That’s it for this one. I’m going to go watch Beatles videos on YouTube and think about memories I made in the music room, eating Thanksgiving dessert and singing with my sweet Beatles obsessed aunts and uncles.
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