Breaking News: Google considers launching 1000 word ad extensions.
OK, so that’s not quite true, but if you are a fan of old school colloquialisms like myself, then it’s not too far off the mark. Google recently launched their “Visual Sitelinks” beta; a test to see whether or not a picture really is worth 1000 words in the world of paid search.
What are Visual Sitelinks and why do I need them?
As described by Google, visual sitelinks are a “mobile-only format that shows relevant images with descriptive text via a swipeable carousel.” Visual sitelinks operate in a similar fashion to traditional text sitelinks with a title, description line and unique URL, but aim to increase user engagement with an additional eye-catching visual element.
Carousel? Sounds like fun! It’s as much fun as you’ll have with a text ad! Much like Facebook and Instagram carousel ads, visual sitelinks will expand your ad real estate in a horizontal direction, allowing you to highlight products, provide extra information and support your call to action.
Do I need them? As we PPC experts know, the game is all about standing out from the pack. Adding extensions not only increases the size of your ad, but the amount of content you communicate, relevance of your ad, and the overall reputability of your ad. Adding visual sitelinks to your ads has the potential to catch the user’s attention like traditional text extensions can’t.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Visual Sitelinks
How do I make my visual sitelinks awesome? There are a few best practices Google has already given advertisers:
- Make sure the image in the sitelink is featured prominently on the landing page
- Make sure the image, title and description are relevant to the keywords being targeted
How do I make my visual sitelinks not stink? Don’t worry, Google has also graced us with a list of what not to do:
- No animations
- No logos
- No graphic overlays
- No text overlays
- No collages
Essentially, Google wants to see relevant imagery that is void of additional content within the frame. Advertisers should also keep in mind that this is a mobile experience, and should use images that are optimized for viewing on small screens.
Are Visual Sitelinks here to stay?
As with all betas, we do not yet know whether visual sitelinks will be a permanent addition to Google’s library of ad extensions. All signs point to yes however, as they have just recently expanded this beta to even more English-speaking regions globally.
We are always excited to test new betas for our clients where the application makes sense. We will be testing visual sitelinks for clients in the travel and ecommerce verticals in the coming weeks.
Being the curious cat that I am (some of my friends call me Whiskers), I will be digging for answers to a few questions right away:
- How many ads per SERP will be eligible to display visual sitelinks?
- How often do the sitelink description lines appear?
- How will visual sitelinks pair (if at all) with Google Shopping ads?
Stay tuned for answers to these questions and our take on how visual sitelinks perform!
Want in on the fun? Reach out to your Google account rep to get whitelisted for this beta.