New Google Ad Format: Shoppable Image Ads

Stephen McCance January 2, 2019

In September this year, Google announced the pending launch of it’s new advertising format: Shoppable Image Ads.

The format is inspired by the surge in online social media influencers, aspirational blogs and lifestyle images, which Google has recorded a growing number of searches for over recent years. It has also become apparent from Google research that these searches are then directly linked with the purchasing behaviours of their users:

One-third of holiday shoppers said they searched for images before they went in store to shop. The growth of “street style” and online influencers all show the movement towards looking at lifestyle images for visual inspiration.”

Whilst it has been possible to optimise imagery organically since the birth of the Google Images search functionality, this new advertising format will take this several steps further, and give way to a more integrated and instinctive user experience. Shoppable Image Ads will allow advertisers to showcase products from their Shopping feed on curated, relevant published content from Google’s publisher partners, with the aim to make online shopping behaviour more seamless.

Below shows an example of how Shoppable Image Ads will appear across the two designated platforms: published content (left) and the Google Image Network (right).

The published content Shoppable Image Ads shows that while on a third-party sites, users can click onto a blue tag icon and will be shown a carousel of product listing ads relevant to the image.

As shown in the example below, the ad format designed for the Google Image Network differs slightly. These will be labeled as ‘sponsored’ and have a white clickable shopping label icon in the lower left corner of the image, users are then presented with relevant products from product listing ads.


The new format aims to allow advertisers to show their product to targeted audiences in a more straightforward way.

Shoppable Image Ads are currently in beta, only available to a select number of advertisers and following success will increase over time. They will also trial a soft launch across the Google Image Network to capture interested audiences.

Over the next year, we will continue to roll out this experience to more publishers, as well as pilot new surfaces like Google Image Search, where we also know shoppers go to look for inspiration.”

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