Perhaps the most surprising thing about the news that Google is now including ads in its Images search results is that it didn’t do it sooner.
The initiative is designed to tempt the shopper in you, so if, say, you do a Google image search on your smartphone for a coffee table, among those many pages of lovely photos of gorgeous tables you’ll also see ads for them. These will link directly to a merchant’s site, enabling you to part with your cash in just a couple of clicks. The merchant wins, you win … oh, and Google wins, too.
The Mountain View company is hoping it’ll further encourage online shoppers to hit its site when looking for a product rather than heading straight to, for example, Amazon to perform a search. Of course, buyers can also visit Google Shopping to search for a product, but including ads on Images offers an additional route to a possible sale.
Google says it’s been making progress in encouraging more shopping searches on its mobile site, with inquiries increasing by a significant 30 percent in the past year.
“Whether they’re looking for a new sofa or the perfect pair of earrings, people who search and shop on their smartphones at least once a week say that product images are the shopping feature they turn to most,” Google Shopping’s Jonathan Alferness wrote in a post announcing the new feature.
For now, ads in image searches are for mobile only, though they’ll likely also come to desktop in the near future. You’ll spot them in a strip along the top of your smartphone screen beneath a “sponsored” sign, so in that way they’ll stand out clearly from the regular results.
Besides ads in images, the Web giant is also improving the experience for online shoppers researching local retailers, allowing inventory checks directly within search so you’ll know your journey won’t be wasted if you go to collect in-store.