- Google this week introduced shoppable ads on Google Images, the section of its website and app that indexes searchable pictures. The new format lets marketers show multiple products available for sale within a sponsored ad among Google Images results, according to a company blog post.
- Shoppable ads show a tag-shaped icon on the lower right corner of an image. Shoppers who hover a mouse over the icon or tap it on a smartphone screen will view more information about products, including price, brand and other details. Google is testing the format on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers in search categories like "home office ideas," "shower tile designs" and "abstract art," per Google.
- The search giant also added Showcase Shopping ads, which let marketers promote brands and products with imagery, descriptions and other details, to Google Images. Retailers also can provide product data free of charge to Google to display to potential shoppers.
The new Google Images ad products open up fresh opportunities for brands and retailers that are looking to insert themselves in users' image searches. "Google's push into shoppable images reflects a trend in digital marketing toward the unification of content and ecommerce," Jason Roussos, VP of strategy at Adlucent, told sister publication Mobile Marketer in a statement.
Google's shoppable ads in Images make its platform more directly competitive with Pinterest, the social media company that lets users create digital boards of images around different topics. Pinterest last month introduced fully automated curation of its Shop the Look feature. It previously relied on computer vision technology and human curators to match pinned images to products that users can buy from Pinterest partners. Levi Strauss and Room & Board are among the brands that have tested and found success with Pinterest's expanded social shopping features.
The shoppable image push comes as Google also introduced an in-app program that offers rewards to Android users who watch ads, according to VentureBeat. The program lets app developers increase revenue while sharing rewards with their users, and could help app developers that are growing more dependent on ad revenue to monetize their content, including games.
"Developers are increasingly using multiple methods to monetize their apps and games," Patrick Davis, product manager at Google Play, wrote in a blog post about the new feature. "One trend has been to reward users for a monetizable action, like watching a video, with in-game currency or other benefits."
Many apps need to overcome monetization challenges by maximizing revenue from purchases, subscriptions, in-app purchases and in-app ads, per a study from measurement platform AppsFlyer. Rewarded video ads — which give players extra game points, lives or virtual goods in exchange for watching a commercial — are offered by 65% of mobile game developers, a DeltaDNA study found.
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong title for Jason Roussos. Roussos is VP of strategy for Adlucent.