Not just for auto anymore: Google tests giant image search ads in new verticals.
The ads feature a carousel of images.
Remember when Google introduced that giant model automotive ad format to advertisers a few years ago? Well, it appears the format might be expanding to more verticals.
What they look like. A version of this format with a carousel of images was spotted on mobile by Search Engine Land columnist Glenn Gabe, who heads G-Squared Interactive. The ad, for Nike, appeared on a non-brand query for “what are the best running sneakers.”
The format features multiple headlines followed by a large carousel of images and a description below. Users can swipe through the set of images in the ad. Clicking on any of the images brings up a Google-hosted page of all the images and their captions. A card with a link to the advertiser’s site is at the bottom of that page. Just like any other text ad, clicking on the headline takes you to the advertiser’s site.
Testing, testing. This expansion is just a test for now. “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now,” a Google spokesperson said when we asked about this.
Why you should care. Google has tried images in search ads in several variations — visual sitelinks being the latest. This bigger, splashier format is high impact and demands little effort from advertisers, particularly in verticals likely to already have a diverse selection of high-quality product imagery.
Whether this is rolled out will depend on performance, of course. Bigger ads (RSAs anyone?) typically lead to higher engagement rates. And Google knows from Shopping ads that images can drive high engagement. But will these new ads convert? When the automotive ads launched, Toyota said it had seen higher conversion events at a lower CPA than standard text ads. The model automotive ads have now been in rotation since 2016, which means Google has more than three years of data on how they perform.
It’s also interesting to see this test showing up on a non-brand search query. Model automotive ads typically show only on brand searches.