Google search advertisements with images next to them have been tested from time to time over the years, and these ‘image extensions’ look like they’re now here to stay. What it means is that we can specify a photo to go with our search ad, and it might get shown next to the advert from time to time (it’s Google’s choice). A photo should increase clickthrough rate. However, we should always remember that Google’s overall aim is to make as much advert revenue as possible, which will normally mean encouraging people to click on as many ads as possible. Highlighting one advert over others may not be the best way to do this, so we shouldn’t expect to see our images that often.
If adding a specifically-chosen image to each advert is beyond our resources, there’s also now the option of specifying dynamic image extensions. This feature can be selected at account level with a click, if desired, with the result that Google will pick an image from each landing page as the image extension to potentially use alongside each ad.
For many websites, this should work well, particularly where the landing pages have an obvious, relevant ‘master’ image that Google will most likely choose. However, if our landing pages are complex, with multiple images not all of which are relevant, it’s an option that ought to be selected with care.