Google Makes Move On Instagram & Pinterest With Shoppable Images
On Tuesday, Google revealed two new shoppable ad formats for Google Images at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas.
The sponsored images highlight products that, when moused over, reveal brand, price and other details. The new Google Images offering is very similar in nature to features which Pinterest has been rolling out for about three years.
This new format enables advertisers to highlight multiple products available for sale within your sponsored ad among Google Images results.
The feature is currently being tested with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries like “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”. Essentially search queries with an underlying visual intent. Unlike, say, ‘cheap credit cards’, which has a more text-based need.
Surojit Chatterjee, Google Vice President, Product Management, Shopping:
"Let’s say a shopper is searching for home office ideas on her mobile device or desktop and goes to Google Images to explore ideas around how to organize her room. She can scroll through the images, hover over any sponsored ad with the price tag, and see the items for sale in the image — along with prices, the brand, and more. We’ll continue to roll this out to more categories across more retailers over the next few months."
Visual Marketing Has Been Massively Underexploited By Google
It is a measure of Google’s power that it could have a gargantuan visual library, like Google Images, and do absolutely nothing with it for a decade.
In the time Google has sat on Google Images, visual players like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest have been acquired, IPOed and made billions of dollars in ad revenue.
Essentially from selling ads next to pretty, if not heavily airbrushed, pictures.
Also, not to mention, the smaller visual libraries, apps and tools which have been absorbed into these and beyond.
In the meantime, Google Images has been primarily used to rip off images for blog posts, website redesigns and powerpoint presentations.
The same can be said of Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube.
While the above all have marketing opportunities, they have never been a priority due to the easy search engine marketing (SEM) money.
In 2019 Google’s Image & Video Game Will Come On Strong
Therefore, to say that Google’s left money and opportunities on the table, in the visual space, would be an understatement.
Gary Illyese, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, and all round bigshot, discussed the upside Google media search offers in his recent Ask Me Anything Reddit talk, last month:
‘We simply know that media search is way too ignored for what it’s capable doing for publishers, so we’re throwing more engineers at it as well as more outreach.’
‘I cannot pre-announce things here, but yes, media search, in general, is something we’re throwing more engineering resources at nowadays. Google Images and Video search is often overlooked, but they have massive potential.’
To be fair to Google, it has ads around its multi-media search engine results for years, and its Shopping Ads are a star performer anyway. So it easy to see how Google's go there.
Also, as Google prepares for a future where its main text-based search cash-cow is disrupted, inevitably its marketing solutions will come to resemble those of the social channels more and more.