Gallery Ads – Visualising The Future Of Ad Formats!

What exactly are Google gallery ads?
Are you asking what are gallery ads and will they be a useful addition to my advertising campaign? With many new features added to Google Ads, there can be a minefield of information littered with biased views and outlandish claims. Gallery ads are no different, with some claiming it will revolutionise advertising overnight and they are “Urgent Changes” but this is not the case.
First introduced at the Google Marketing Live Conference last May Gallery ads are a new addition to the current ad formats that can be used in addition to text ads in search campaigns.

They display a swipeable, image-based ad unit that appears at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). They’re designed to help businesses showcase their brand offerings visually with the ability to include up to 8 images with a minimum of 4. Each image can have a unique caption under the image, and advertisers can take advantage of a call-to-action button at the end of the gallery. 

It’s widely accepted that users have increased interactions and recall information better visuals than with solely text. Google are now capitalising on this and making it clear their focus is on visual imagery, top-of-funnel ads. This will not only help users during the discovery/awareness phase of the purchase cycle but also help with brand recognition. Users will initially be exposed to an increased number of brands visually to consider with the potential added benefit of brand recognition and loyalty for the business.

What are they used for?
You can use gallery ads to connect with users before they visit your website by showcasing lifestyle imagery and branded visual content. With the rise of visual ads from platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook, users are moving away from the traditional text format and towards a new image-focused way of consuming digital content. Google in the past has taken steps to adapt to trends via display ads, shopping ads, showcase shopping ads, video, and Gmail Ads formats but now search ads are jumping on board the bandwagon. 

Gallery ads image-focused characteristics make them a no-brainer for B2C brands and industries such as clothing or food service. Restaurants can use gallery ads to visually show mouthwatering images of what’s on offer, and retail brands can use the ad format to display their different departments before a user even clicks. At first glance, it may not be obvious but B2B brands can also use gallery ads to accomplish their goals. The eye-catching design can be used to engage with new and existing audiences. This in turn can help to promote their brand and introduce new products or services to users that may not have considered them otherwise.

What you need to know before embarking…
Gallery ads aren’t a specific campaign type so for the new ad format, there is no need to create a specific campaign. Gallery ads can run in your search campaign’s ad groups alongside text ads and they will compete in the same auction against other text ads. The ad format only shows one ad at a time and currently, gallery ads are only eligible to show on mobile and in the first position in Google search results.

One important difference between Gallery Ads and other search ad formats is how advertisers will pay for them. Depending on how the users engage with the advertising there are two different ways to be charged:

  • Cost per click: This is the standard way advertisers get charged for search ads, e.g. they have to pay every time a user clicks their ad through to the website.
  • Cost per swipe: If a search user doesn’t click the ad but swipes through 3 images, the advertiser will be charged. 

A keynote is that advertisers will only be charged once, even if a searcher swipes through 3 images and then clicks the ad. Additionally, advertisers will only be charged once if the user swipes through more than three images. The ads are formatted with between 4 to 8 swipeable images on a carousel and feature up to 3 standard text headlines (up to 30 characters), each image will have its own tagline (up to 70 characters), an optional disclaimer (up to 2500 characters) and a display URL.

Carousel images: Landscape (1.91:1): 1200 × 628 (min required: 600 × 314, max file size: 1024KB)

Gallery ads (beta) are currently available in 11 languages and are limited to; English, German, Japanese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Swedish, and Polish but are also expanding the beta to more customers.

Pitfalls to avoid
With all ad formats, there are do’s and don’t and gallery ads are no different. In order to provide good user experience, Google has strict requirements and best practices. Google requires that all images used in ad formats such as Gallery ads meet high-quality standards. 

Listed below are a few pitfalls to avoid when deciding on imagery.

  • Moving images or gif images are not allowed so keep your images static.
  • Photoshopped backgrounds that aren’t part of the original image.
  • Image or text overlays or Images with logos on top of the original photographic image.
  • Collage images or any images that are a combination of different images assembled together.
  • Repetitive images that are identical to other images in the same ad, or very similar to other images in the same ad, with only minor differences.

Gallery Ads are a unique ad format as they combine the power of search with the uses of imagery, allowing advertisers and users to get the best of both worlds. This new approach will help the Google platform compete with other visual ad platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Then most importantly it will enable advertisers to target top of the funnel activity to engage with new users and increase brand recognition. 

Even though gallery ads are not designed to give an immediate return on investment they will start the initial journey to purchase. Advertisers should see an overall uplift in brand awareness as well as creating new purchasing patterns that can be capitalised on the long term. Currently, there isn’t a huge amount of traffic that engages will gallery ads so get ahead of the curve, for, when/if they become more widespread you will have more data to capitalise on. Since they are in the same auction and compete with regular text ads they can be easily monitored and A/B tested for performance allowing you to push the best performing format. 

My final thoughts on Gallery ads are if you have them available to you use them but make sure you are monitoring performance against standard text ads and considering the wider picture. 

Want to find out more about Gallery ads or what our team can do to help you? Contact our team NOW.