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It is no surprise that Google looks to continually improve their search engines through numerous A/B testing to see what works best and what does not. Examples in the past of this include the likes of testing a green ad logo for PPC search and the test of a new sitelink extension too.


One of the latest tests from Google was found by Sergey Alakov, who tweeted a picture of his findings whilst browsing Google, in incognito, on his smartphone:


What does this mean?

As already mention, Google are always testing and this seems to be no different than any other test. As it stands, Sergey has been the only person to document such an image in PPC search adverts. Therefore, it can be elucidated that the test of images in adverts is in the very early stages, or niche areas of PPC.


The results of such a test will prove to be the most interesting, considering that the introduction of an image to search adverts could significantly affect the advert’s performance and of those around it as competitors too (in what way the image affects it is still debatable, hence the testing). Having an image in a search advert should increase engagement. However, having images on Google’s search page for paid/organic results seems something that should not really happen. Will this happen for organic search results too, in time?


Continuing the discussion, what is also very interesting is the type of image that is put into this advert, automatically, it seems. Sergey makes clear that the advert was picked up from the landing page of the advert. This could then work similar to how some of Google’s ad extensions work, where they will automatically determine whether an advert should use ad extensions or not – if there is an appropriate enough image on the landing page, then it could make sense to put it into the advert.

The problem with this is that it is making the search advert less distinguishable to the landing page. Although the search advert might appear more engaging with colour related images, the landing page’s appeal will reduce due to the image being already in use.


For this reason, I don’t feel this test of images in search adverts catching on mainstream to PPC anytime soon. The structure and layout of PPC search adverts has not changed much in a decade because it does not need to change much to be successful. Yes, there is extensions that were created. But, importantly, it has always been written content that has been introduced. The introduction of images are too big a change for PPC to handle, especially when the whole of PPC has been based around text adverts only.

Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money developing himself into an expert in PPC, blogging SEO, and online marketing. He now runs others websites such as Poem Analysis, Book Analysis, and Ocean Info. You can follow him @willGreeny.

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