Google Adwords Image Ads

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Are we going back in time with Google Adwords Image Ads? Weren’t banners supposed to be less effective than text ads? Google doesn’t seem to think so as it introduced Image Ads as an additional service in the Google Adwords program.

How do Adwords Image Ads work?

Through the Google Adsense program publishers can show ads of advertisers. AdSense delivers Google ads that are relevant to what visitors see on the pages they visit. They read the page and based on the words they show relevant ads on the page. This is called contextual advertising.

The advertiser can choose which words they wish to target and based on these words the Adsense system determines which pages are relevant to an ad (or which ads are relevant to a page). Until now it was possible to use just text ads.

Adwords Image Ads are not shown in Google’s search engine, but just through websites that use the Adsense system.

Adwords Image Ads are published through the same contextual matching system, but there are some differences in presentation:

Only 1 Image ad per page – With text ads upto 4 different ads are shown per page. With an Image Ad just one ad will be shown. This may increase the CTR (Click Through Rate) of ads shown on the adsense pages.

Publisher has to choose to show Image Ads – Where text ads are the standard ad for an Adsense publisher, the image ads have to be manually switched on by the publisher. Not every Adsense website will show Image Ads.

Image Ad Requirements

Images must be in either GIF, JPG or PNG (higher compression)

No animated images

Adwords Image ads formats are Leaderboard (728 x 90), Skyscraper (120 x 600), Banner (468 x 60) and Inline Rectangle (300 x 250)

Image must reflect the keywords it is targeting. In other words: Don’t target blue widgets and show yellow widgets in the image.

Obviously, images must be family safe.

Increase the effectiveness of your Adwords Account

In order to increase the effectiveness of your Adwords account with the use of Image Ads, you have to know how to use your Adwords account first. After that it is quite simple. A good image ad actually contains text and of course a call to action” is necessary.

Image Ad should attract attention

First question that comes into mind is “what is attention?” You would be surprised how many people actually see your ad without realizing that they see it. That is because your ad doesn’t attract their attention.

There are 2 basic types of attention:

1. Spontaneous or Natural Attention

2. Voluntary or Artificial Attention

Of these 2 types we focus on the first, Spontaneous or Natural Attention. Visitors do not visit a web page for the purpose of seeing your artwork (which would be voluntary or artificial attention) and therefore your Image Ad has to trigger the spontaneous or natural attention of the visitor.

Spontaneous or Natural Attention

Spontaneous or Natural Attention is by definition, caused by emotional states. A visitor lends his/her attention spontaneously on to what concerns and interests him/her. This can be further explained that attention is drawn to what produces an agreeable, disagreeable or mixed state. These three states do not describe all states one can be in. If you don’t care about something, you won’t agree, disagree or have mixed feelings about it.

This knowledge brings us to the conclusion that you can’t satisfy everybody. Your Image Ad should be targeting a specific group of visitors. Also, notice that here we can see one of the strong points of contextual advertising. Since the ad is related to the content of the page, the add will most likely trigger a spontaneous or natural attention because the visitor will likely agree with the ad since it is about the same subject as the page. And in most cases a page is visited for a reason. However, it is not as simple as this. You still need to set up your ad to maximize the spontaneous or natural attention response.

Spontaneous or Natural attention can not exist without an anterior emotional state. This means that the emotional state of the visitor is a factor in how well your Image Ad will work. A visitor that just escaped
death from almost getting into a car accident comes home to write about his experience in a chat box is unlikely to notice an ad about sending love e-cards. If he is a smoker, he will notice an ad about help with stopping with smoking, (he probably won’t agree with it at that moment as the nicotine would help him relax.)
So now we know 2 things:

1. The attention our Image ad attracts is a spontaneous or natural attention

2. The emotional state of the visitor is a factor in how well the Image ad works

Image Ad Subject

We have to investigate what type of people our targeted audience is. Are they mostly socialists, materialists, spiritual people, rich people, etc.? This knowledge will help you determine what your targeted audience agrees with, disagrees with, and what they have mixed feelings about. Remember, spontaneous or natural attention is triggered by these 3 factors. The stronger they believe in something, the more they are against something, or the more they doubt something, the more likely they will notice an ad that addresses that something. So now you know what subject(s) your targeted audience is likely to respond strongly to.

What emotional state will your targeted audience likely be in, when visiting a page that shows your Image Ad? The answer lays partly in what keywords you want to be found for. Of course there are the strong emotional states like pain, happiness, etc. but mostly we will be working with less strong emotional states. Depending on what you sell, a visitor can be in a buying mood or simply searching for information (not a buying mood), can be at work, or in the privacy of his home, etc. All factors that can help you determine the emotional state of most of the visitors.

Of course we want a positive response to the ad. (Meaning the visitor will be interested to click on your Image ad and check out your website), so not all subjects may be appropriate. Choose a subject that fits best to your product(s) that you want to give attention through your Image Ad and keep in mind the emotional state of most of the visitors.

As to the graphical design: As I mentioned before use text in the design and leave the rest to a graphical designer. The above can help you guide your graphical designer to come up with a more effective Image Ad.

Old Ideas about Banner (Image) Ads

Banner Ads Don’t Work
When Banners were first introduced it was thought to be the best advertising which would last for ever. Soon people started to find them really annoying. Many advertisers realized that a banner needs to attract
attention. And that is where it went wrong. Attracting attention was done mostly by making banners annoying. As a result people were so annoyed by banners they refused clicking them. Unconsiously people started ignoring them.

Then it was found out that banners that blend into the design of the website actually work better and conclusion was that banners should not attract attention. This conclusion is wrong!

The conclusion must be that Image Ads that blend in are not recognized as annoying banners and therefore not automatically ignored. More important even is the fact that banners that blend in are more likely to be about the same subject as the content of the page. As a result the ad is more likely to address a concern of the visitor. As described above, this is essential for catching the attention of a visitor.

Text Ads Work Better Than Image Ads
Text has 2 advantages over Images. First, the brain processes a couple of words much faster than an image. As a result, the text ad is recognized much faster. But this doesn’t help catching the attention. Again we have to realize that the ad has to address a subject that is of concern to the visitor. This is the case for text as well as for images.

Second, text in a text ad generally gives a short description of the place the ad link points at. Images are much more subject to interpretation than text and as a result will attract the attention of more people than an image will.

How to design successful Image Ads

Know your audience / clients

Use text to catch a targeted visitor’s attention. Use a subject that concerns your targeted audience. (don’t try to attract uninterested people)

Images may NOT attract attention

Images should convince interested people (those that were attracted by the text) to click the ad.

It is as simple as that. Text to catch your targeted audience’s attention, the image to convince them to click.

Ref: The Psychology of attention

Peter Faber is an Internet Marketing Consultant specializing in search engine marketing. He is the founder and editor of the SEO Works Search Engine News Ezine and partner in www.knowledge-finder.com.

Google Adwords Image Ads
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  • http://www.liquidclick.net web design

    HI whats your feeling over 4 years later,text or image ?

  • http://www.seethrureviews.com/Sit-Stay-Fetch-Book-Reviews.html Sit Stay Fetch Reviews

    I don’t really like image ads on my site for two reasons. First, the ads don’t usually look good with the page and second, I find that a lot of the ads are not relevant to the content of the page.

  • http://musicpurana.com Saetu

    I like image ad because it will add more add colors to my website. So attractive, since i am using black as my background.

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