Google AdWords Ads Appearing in Google Image Search

Google AdWords Ads Appearing in Google Image Search

During a recent Google Image Search, I noticed something I don't recall seeing before. I saw AdWords ads displaying along the top of the first row of images in Google Image Search.

Here's an example:

I searched for topics discussing this change, and a number seem to think the ads are being served up permanently after recent testing by Google.  The ads, however, only seem to be appearing for search terms that infer a buying/shopping/selling situation. In the image above, I used the phrase 'Family Guy stuff'. Google looks to have interpreted my search as a potential buying situation, as I was looking for 'stuff'.

If I do a simple search for 'Family Guy' without the added keyword 'stuff', the ads no longer appear. This is most likely because Google did not interpret that search as a shopping or buying situation. Rather, I'm looking for images about the TV show in general.

Here's the result:


As Matthew Elshaw of SearchNewz points out, AdWords users currently have no way of opting out of showing their ads in Google Image Search results. The option should be there, as Image Search users tend to want images, not full pages, sales pitches, or general text information. Click through ads on GIS pages run the risk of being of lower quality and could prove a waste of money.

Not allowing users to opt out could anger more than a few AdWords users.

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  • avatar

    Interesting how this has developed over the years. I guess the big news fro the last year in the same area was the development of Google Shopping platforms showing Shopping ads for free. Great win for online merchants!

  • avatar

    Yeah; a pretty sneaky replication of what they are doing with text search – the coloured box at the top for 1st 3 (adwords) entries is so light as to make it unnoticable…..

  • avatar

    I am seeing them on more searches today than before. Any idea if this feature has been rolled out further than in Jan & Feb?

  • avatar

    I suppose google added a feature to block adwords on google images, but today i am losing money in my campaigns.

  • avatar

    Well Dimitry I think it’s a smart move on Google’s part. Apparently people are now performing more commercially-oriented searches even with images. Google just wants to “monetize” those pages which can win potential customers for advertisers. They are trying to make every opportunity count.

  • avatar

    It makes an amusing read. For this is a marked change in Google’s stance. I can recollect Google saying no to text ads in image search some 2 years back. Experiments then showed the ads proved a distraction and as a consequence, people used the image search service less. One wonders how this one will turn out!

  • avatar

    Even I haven’t seen this before! Are they really the AdWords ones?? There doesn’t seem to be any mention that these are ‘Sponsored Ads/links’.

  • avatar

    GO Google! – Keep on lining your pockets 🙂
    I guess it had to happen sooner or later, surprised it wasn’t sooner….. – definitely not a good idea to not have an opt-out option, perhaps it’s around the corner
    Interesting find, though

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