Google Images now part of Google’s core Search Network

Paid SearchPerformance Media

A few of you might have received an email from Google with the update that Google Images is now part of its core Search Network. If you haven’t then yes, it’s true. It’s happened. 

Photo by Medhat Ayad from Pexels

Google states that Google Images is an integral part of the user journey. Here is Google’s exact description:

Google Images is a visually rich surface and a key part of millions of users’ shopping journeys every day. Users frequently turn to Google Images for idea exploration, how-to guidance, product discovery and visual imagery related to key shopping categories like fashion, home and beauty.

With this argument Google has made the decision to integrate Google Images into the Google Search Network. This means if you are running shopping campaigns, your ads will be served on Google Images for any related queries.

We agree with Google that Images is an important part of the user journey. In my opinion, users searching on Google Images tend to be at the top of the funnel in terms of their purchase decision making process. However, what we find with shopping ads is that they are great at converting and capturing people at the bottom of the funnel. Many marketers are typically skeptical about Google’s intentions, and I can’t say I am any different. I envisage the integration will increase shopping ad impressions and clicks but it may have a negative effect on conversion rates due to the quality of Google Image traffic.

Google Images was already part of Google’s Partner network, so if you previously opted into Google Partners when setting up your shopping campaigns you may not see much of a difference in performance. There may be a shift in traffic from Google Partners to Google Search Network but we predict there won’t be any significant change in overall performance.

So, it follows that those who have not opted into Google’s Partners on shopping campaigns will see a more significant change in clicks and impressions.

Here is how shopping ads look in Google Images:

It will be interesting to see what actual effects this integration has on overall shopping performance. If you’ve already started testing this, let us know what you’ve found in the comments! 

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