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Google OKs Images on Sponsored Search Results

Moves past text-only format

Google will allow advertisers to include images alongside sponsored search results, the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday.

Until now, the ads that allow businesses to display their websites and contact information alongside regular search results have been text-only.

"Image extensions allow 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's product manager for ad formats, Awaneesh Verma, wrote in the blog.

As the blog explains, more than one in six Google searches have results that display images. The company encouraged advertisers to submit images that will be relevant to certain queries, such as "luxury car designs."

Google has previously introduced an AdWords extension that allows businesses to display additional links to their websites in search ads, which the company has shown increases click-through rates.

Google's broader goal is to capture a larger share of the image-oriented ad market currently dominated by television and magazines. Banner and video ads, which make up Google's Display Advertising Network, are a much more competitive market than search ads.

In an interview with Forbes, Neal Mohan, Google's vp of display advertising products, predicted that in a few years "a third of advertising will be measured beyond the click." For Mohan, beyond the click success comes from engaging, visual ad experiences, or "something where users will actively choose to engage in it."

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