Image extensions are your best friend when it comes to improving engagement for your Google search ads

Officially released in 2020 to all advertisers, this extension is a must if you want to make your ads stand out from the competition and give users more information about your business. 

In this piece, I’ll explore the ins and outs of image extensions including how to set them up, how to effectively use them and the future of image extensions. 


When space is available Google will display an image you provided which helps make your boring text ad stand out on the results page.

By implementing a relevant visual with your text ad you can make your ad more captivating thus improving your click-through rate and ad rank. It’s no secret that images can have strong effects on the success of campaigns. After all, very few people will respond to plain text alone. However, it’s less well-known as to why this is the case. 

One key reason why campaigns that effectively use imagery perform well is that displaying the right image can save users time because it communicates a message which supports the accompanying ad copy, so the user spends less time actually reading the ad copy. 

It’s all about speed and convenience. It’s far quicker and more convenient for a user to take 2 seconds to look at an image than to spend a minute or two reading some copy. When the average person sees around 10,000 ads per day, speed and convenience is crucial for the user to determine what is worth their time and money versus what isn’t.

The core factors that influence engagement to content that utilises imagery are:

  • Use of colour in the image
  • Presence of a human face and what emotion the face displays
  • Image source (obvious stock images won’t have the desired effect)
  • Image quality

All of these four things can influence whether or not users respond to your ads, and if your campaign imagery is effective in displaying these things then you could see up to a 180% increase in engagement in comparison to imagery that doesn’t display the above.

Image extensions usually sit next to the description and come in two different aspect ratios. The required ratio is square (1x1) and you can have an optional aspect ratio that is landscape (1.91x1). 


So, how do you set up an image extension?

  1. When on the extensions tab in your ads account view, click the blue plus and choose Image extension. 
  2. Then select the relevant campaign or ad group that you want to apply this extension to. 
  3. Add your images by either using the asset library, or uploading directly. 
  4. Or you can save time by choosing the ‘website or social tab’ where you can add a URL so Google can scan the page for any images. 
  5. Just make sure you adhere to the image size requirements which can be found on the Google support page.
  6. Once you have added all the images you desire click save and you are done! 

If it’s still not making sense, here is a handy guide to setting up image extensions by Google.


Dynamic image extensions are automated extensions that grab images from the final URL of the ad without you having to do anything! Google automatically chooses an image from your landing page that relates the most to the query but be aware if Google can’t find a suitable image, nothing will be shown.

By showing a preview image on your ad the users can get a taste of what your landing page looks like which can increase the click-through rate. 

To use dynamic image extensions ensure that you have a good history of policy compliance, adhere to the eligible verticals and that the account is older than 90 days.

Do note that if you have both image extensions and dynamic image extensions in place for the same ad, the image extensions will take priority. So ensure you are happy with the image extensions you have uploaded! 


  • Don’t! - Use Text or graphic overlay images
  • Don’t! - Use an image that has too much blank space
  • Don’t! - Use image collages
  • Do! - Show off how amazing your product/service is with a clear, distinct image
  • Do!- Keep your product in the centre of the image
  • Do! - Have an account that has a good history of policy compliance


Setting up image extensions is one thing, optimising to get more clicks is another. Tips like uploading non-blurry and good-resolution images go without saying but the best way to optimise is to test!

Test, test, test. The more you experiment with your images, the more likely you will find the perfect visual that pairs well with your ads.

You can experiment by doing some A\B testing with separate campaigns and varying images. Make use of a wide variety of creative styles and discover which text ads work best with certain images. Google recommends adding 3 unique and relevant images at the ad group or campaign level, this is so you can give Google more potential to test and analyse which performs best. 


Yes, the future of Google Ads! Now it may sound scary but don’t be alarmed. 

From the Google Marketing Live Keynote 2022, we learnt that the search landscape is moving towards a more visual one. SERPs will no longer just be 10 blue links but will now be rich in highly relevant visuals. We could also see product ads with visuals being featured through the SERP page alongside organic search results.

With this in mind, we recommend ensuring that all your current and subsequent ads feature eye-catching images that drive engagement and make your ads stand out from the competition.


  1. Image extensions are a must if you want to run effective ads.
  2. To set up just create an image extension by uploading an image or get Google.
  3. Utilise dynamic image extensions where possible.
  4. Follow the Do’s and Don’ts to ensure maximum potential.
  5. Optimise your images by testing which ones work best for your audience.
  6. Prepare for the future of search results to be more image focused!

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