Image extensions for Google Ads are visual assets that you can add to search ads to increase clicks and conversions. Our experts share tips, examples, and a checklist to help you build visual ad campaigns that convert.

Here, you’ll find:

  1. What are Google Ads image extensions?
  2. How do Google Ads image extensions work?
  3. Examples of image extensions in Google Ads
  4. How to add image extensions to Google ads
  5. How can brands benefit from using them?
  6. Expert tips for optimizing Google Ads image extensions
  7. Checklist for Google Ads image extensions

Do your search ads generate tons of impressions but not enough clicks? With image extensions, Google ads create visual appeal that can successfully stop the scroll.

In this article, we’ll cover how this Google ads feature works, including why to use it, how to add images to search ads, and how to optimize them for maximum visibility.

What are Google Ads image extensions?

Google Ads image extensions are a type of visual asset that you can include in search ads. Because search ads are typically text-based, they can be easy to overlook. Image assets give you a rare opportunity to add visual appeal and help search ads stand out on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Many advertisers refer to these visual elements as image extensions. However, they’re technically image assets, and they appear on the “Assets” tab in your Google Ads account.

While image extensions may seem somewhat new, Google Ads has been experimenting with adding images to search ads for over a decade. The current iteration of image assets rolled out in May 2021.

How do Google Ads image extensions work?

Google Ads image extensions appear as part of a search ad. They can display below or to the right of the responsive text in a desktop or mobile search ad. For example, the Best eComm Platforms search ad below features an image extension.

Google Ads image

But even if you add image assets to your ads, they probably won’t display 100% of the time. Like all ad assets, Google shows them when its internal systems determine the asset will likely make the user click through.

How much do image assets cost?

Adding image assets to the ad group or campaign level doesn’t incur an additional cost. When a potential customer clicks on an image asset connected to one of your search ads, you get the same pay-per-click (PPC) charge as you would from a headline click.

Image assets vs. dynamic image extensions

When you run search ads, you may see two options for image assets. Although they look and sound similar, they have several important differences.

Image assets are elements that advertisers select and manage manually. We’ll cover the process for uploading and optimizing them below.

Dynamic image assets are automated elements that come from your dynamic landing pages. You can enable these extensions at the account level. However, you can’t choose these extensions manually.

Examples of image extensions in Google Ads

Image assets can display with search ads in virtually any category. Let’s look at a few examples of Google ads.

Image asset in a service provider ad

service provider ad

Above, the Eco-fyle search ad displays an image of a service provider. The photo adds a dash of personality to a text-heavy search results page for small business accountants.

Image asset in a software ad

software ad

Many image assets are photos, but Google Ads also allows relevant graphic overlays. Above, two consecutive ads for CRM software display graphic-based image extensions.

Image asset in an ecommerce ad

ecommerce ad

Search ads for ecommerce products often compete against shopping ads, making it even more important to use image assets. Above, the On Running search ad uses an image extension to stand out below the colorful bank of Google shopping ads.

Multiple image assets in a finance ad

finance ad

More often than not, Google search ads display just one image asset. But in some cases, search ads can display multiple image extensions at once. Above, the NerdWallet ad shows multiple image assets, giving the advertiser extra real estate on the SERP.

How can brands benefit from using them?

Like all Google Ads extensions, image assets are optional. In other words, every search ad must have headlines and descriptions before it can run. But it doesn’t have to include sitelinks, callouts, or image extensions.

So should you take the time to configure image assets? In most cases, yes. Here are a few of the most significant perks of using image assets.

Faster information sharing

Without an image asset, Google search ads are completely text-based. To understand your ad, searchers have to read the ad copy. That takes time, slowing down the search process.

With an image asset, prospects can get the idea much more efficiently. “When used correctly, image extensions can significantly enhance the effectiveness of Google ads by improving engagement and conveying information quickly and visually,” explains Stefan Valentin, Ads Specialist at Irresistible Me.

“High-quality, clear images that directly relate to the product work wonders. For our beauty products, close-ups of hair extensions and wigs, showing texture and color, have been very effective. It’s about capturing attention and immediately conveying what the product is.”

Increased CTR

The biggest benefit of image extensions is the potential for increased CTR. Image assets stand out on SERPs, which increases the likelihood that searchers will tap or click them.

Google Ads recommends using as many assets or extensions as possible with every search ad for optimal results. For example, Google reports that retailer Hugo Boss saw 5% higher CTR and 2.5x return on ad spend (ROAS) when using image assets.

As a PPC agency, we use image extensions with most digital marketing clients. With the help of image assets, HawkSEM helped ThriftBooks increase CTR by 35% and achieve a 50% higher average order value (AOV).

Improved ad relevance

Ideally, your search ad copy speaks to your target audience and creates a highly relevant experience. Image assets give advertisers an extra tool to improve relevance, making ads more appealing to the right audience.

“As a Google partner agency, we get early bird access to all the bells and whistles,” explains Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM. “We’re all about using image extensions, as they help increase CTR and draw in a more targeted audience with search ads.”

Higher Quality Score

High-quality image assets can potentially increase your Google Ads Quality Score. Image extensions can affect expected CTR and ad relevance, two elements that factor into your Quality Score.

As a result, with image assets, Google ads can experience improved ad performance. For best results, upload images relevant to your keywords, then monitor quality scores closely.

In turn, a higher Quality Score can positively affect your Google ad rank. Since ad rank impacts how your search ads perform in the ad auction, this metric is a key factor in a successful campaign.

More optimization opportunities

The more you use image extensions and review the results, the more opportunities you have to optimize performance. But remember, these findings can apply to more than just Google search ads.

In fact, when you add image extensions to search ads, they can display in YouTube search. This placement opens the door to more opportunities to grow your audience, generate leads, drive traffic, or get sales.

At HawkSEM, we collect data from Google image extensions to improve Google Ads display campaigns, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn ads. We use ConversionIQ to analyze and attribute conversions.

How to add image extensions to Google ads

Google Ads allows advertisers to add image extensions to new and active campaigns. Let’s walk through the process for creating these assets and reviewing their performance.

Confirm your account is eligible

First, make sure your Google Ads account meets the minimum requirements. To use image extensions, your account must be at least 60 days old with a history of policy compliance.

Your account should also have active text ads. You may not have access to image extensions if your account hasn’t been running search campaigns for at least the previous 28 days.

Also, your account has to be in an eligible sub-vertical. Sensitive verticals (e.g., gambling) can’t use image extensions.

Add image extensions to new Google Ads campaigns

To add image assets to a new Google ad, create a new search campaign or ad group. Go through the standard process of setting a budget, choosing a bid strategy, and configuring audience targeting.

After adding keywords to the search campaign, you’re ready to create an ad. Input as many headlines and descriptions as possible for maximum optimization.

Scroll down to the Images section and click “Add Images” to choose or upload extensions.

Ads campaigns

If you’ve already added Google Ads pictures to previous display or search campaigns, you can reuse them by accessing your asset library. Alternatively, you can upload new images directly to the ad group.


To save time, go to the Website or Social tab and scan your website or social media accounts for images. If you don’t have unique images to use, browse the Google Ads free stock images library.

social media accounts

Every time you select images to add, Google Ads will automatically set an aspect ratio. To change the crop or select a different ratio, click the pencil icon for the image in question.

Then choose the aspect ratios you want to apply and adjust the crop manually if necessary. Note that Google Ads recommends uploading both landscape images and square images.

Google Ads campaigns

After selecting relevant image assets, upload brand logos and choose a landing page. Then preview and publish the search ad campaign.

Add image assets to existing Google Ads campaigns

Adding image assets to new search campaigns isn’t your only option for leveraging this type of extension. You can also add image assets to existing campaigns and ad groups.

To get started, go to your Google Ads campaign dashboard and click to open the “Assets” menu. From the dropdown menu, select “Assets.” Then select the “Image” chip. Click the blue plus icon to create a new asset.


Choose whether to add the image asset at the campaign or ad group level. Use the dropdown menu to select your preferred option. Then choose the campaign(s) or ad group(s) you want to add the image assets to.


From here, the process for selecting and optimizing images for an existing campaign or ad group is the same as the workflow above. Choose images from your asset library, scan your website or social accounts, upload new images, or pick free stock images.

Adjust the aspect ratios and cropping. Then click “Save” to add the image assets to the campaign or ad group. If necessary, repeat the process to optimize other existing campaigns and ad groups.

Review image asset analytics

After adding and activating image assets, treat them like you would any other Google Ads element or extension. In other words, don’t just let them run unchecked. Instead, review analytics regularly to evaluate performance and make additional optimizations.

You can check image analytics from the asset dashboard. From your Google Ads dashboard, select “Assets” from the left navigation. To filter out other extension types, click “Image.”

Then click to modify the columns that display on the dashboard. From the list, select the metrics that matter most to your team. For example, you may find it helpful to track CTR, cost per click (CPC), conversion rate, and cost per conversion.

image asset analytics

You also have the option to create image asset reports for exporting or sharing. Using either method, you can monitor performance and switch off or update underperforming assets.

Expert tips for optimizing Google Ads image extensions

To maximize the value of your image assets, optimize your setup and creatives. Use the tips below from our PPC and Facebook ad agency and other experienced power users.

Get familiar with image asset specifications

You can upload and optimize image extensions more efficiently when you know the requirements for creatives and file formats. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Always add a square image measuring at least 300 x 300 pixels. Landscape images (at least 600 x 314 pixels) are optional but recommended.
  • Edit images before uploading to ensure they’re under the maximum file size. Google Ads rejects image files over 5120 KB.
  • Use JPG, PNG, or static GIF files. Google Ads doesn’t support other image file formats or video files.
  • Place the most important content in the center of the image to avoid any potential information loss.

Upload as many image assets as possible

While you don’t have to provide a wide range of image assets, it’s in your best interest to upload as many types of images as possible. The more image assets you add, the more options you have for the Google Ads algorithm to create the optimal user experience.

Remember that Google Ads may show multiple image extensions in a single ad. By providing more options, you allow the algorithm to generate a more eye-catching ad with multiple images.

How many should you upload? Google Ads recommends at least four image assets for each ad group or campaign.

Add image assets at the right level

Be strategic about where you link new image assets. Adding images at the campaign level is faster and better when all ads in a campaign are related to the same product, service, or offer.

Adding images at the ad group level takes longer, especially if you have a lot of different ad groups to manage. However, using an ad group strategy ensures image assets are relevant.

Align image assets with search intent

Unsure whether an image extension will enhance the user experience? Consider the search intent behind the keyword.
“Don’t force image extensions purely for format variety. Mismatched visuals undermine relevance. Also, limit product images when pushing informational resources. Stay laser focused on viewer intent. Images must add value,” advises Robert Brandl, Founder & CEO of Email Tool Tester.

“At ToolTester, images play an integral supplementary role in showcasing post-click content quality. But we only use them when confidence is high in matching visitor intent. With careful testing and optimization, they deliver fantastic performance lifts as visual endorsements. But arbitrary images backfire fast. Relevance is king with extensions.”

Optimize image assets regularly

Don’t set and forget image extensions — or any Google Ads extension, for that matter. Review analytics regularly to ensure image assets reach performance goals.

If you spot an underperforming image asset, consider pausing it and adding another. Use the top-performing assets for the campaign or ad group as inspiration.

Checklist for Google Ads image extensions

Confirm your Google Ads account is eligible to use image assets

Add image extensions to new Google Ads campaigns

Upload new images, scan your website, or choose from your asset library

Review performance regularly and optimize as necessary

Add image assets to existing Google Ads campaigns

Choose to add image assets to campaign level or ad group level

Upload new images, scan your website, or choose from your asset library

Review performance regularly and optimize as necessary

The takeaway

With the right image extensions and the correct campaign setup, you can transform how your ads display in Google search results. While image assets are relatively simple to set up, optimizing them and using the data to inform other campaigns tend to require experience.

We’re here to help. Contact HawkSEM for a free Google Ads consultation and learn how our experienced PPC team can level up your ad campaigns.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation