Consumer image search is much improved in several respects while the new Image Search Ads opens up ads on Google Images to all advertisers. It had been essentially limited to retailers with image feeds via product extensions.
In terms of the consumer announcement, Google is rolling out a new UI and several new features. They include a new, more attractive “tiled” layout, infinite scroll (mimicking a similar feature on Bing), larger thumbnail images and a hover preview that offers more information about the image.
Gone is the text and related information beneath the images, as well as the need to click “next.” Google said that the new scrolling pages can hold up to 1,000 images on them. The company also announced that it sees more than a billion page views per day on Google images.
Here are the current (top) and new (below) shots for the same query, “eagle”:
Beyond the new UI, the expansion of Image Ads to anyone is quite significant and perhaps more significant in some respects than the consumer UI changes.
I kept asking different Google reps, including Marissa Mayer, whether Product Image Ads historically performed better on Google Images than on Google.com. Nobody was able (or perhaps willing) to tell me. But it’s a reasonable inference that the expasion of the program to all advertisers suggests that these ads perform well on Google images.
The expanded Google Image Search Ads are different than Product Image Ads in two respects:
- They’re available to everyone
- They don’t require any kind of feed and can include just a single image or logo
Mayer stressed to me that the ads will have to abide by the same relevancy guidelines and quality standards as on Google.com.
There are many categories, for example travel, where Image Search Ads will be perhaps more successful than traditional text ads on Google.com.
Imagine someone browsing images of Hawaii or the Caribbean and being presented with discount flights, hotels or all-inclusive travel packages. In addition, these ads will for at least a time be less competitive than ads on Google.com.
I asked Mayer during the Q&A session at the event whether the new Google.com homepage design had affected Google Image search in a positive way. She didn’t directly respond but said that the new homepage had given a boost across the board to Google properties.
I also asked whether the new infinite scroll on image search might make its way to Google.com. Mayer discussed some of the technical issues behind the new image search UI but she added that “It’s something to think about.”