Digital Innovation

Adding images to paid search ad copy – what does it mean for pharma?

February 14, 2023 - by Katheryn Moore

Google Ads recently announced that pharmaceutical brands now have the option to include images in their paid search ads. While leveraging Google Ad Image Assets may increase engagement, the impact on audience quality and cost efficiencies is unknown and should be carefully tested. 

What are Paid Search Image Assets? 

Paid Search Image Assets allow advertisers to upload images to visually complement traditional paid search ad copy. They can be applied at the campaign or ad group level. Advertisers can upload up to 20 images or allow Google to crawl their website to pull in images. Image assets appear beside ad messaging within the search engine results. 

Ad with image

What’s the potential benefit of adding Paid Search Image Assets? 

Advertisers in all industries, including Pharma, can benefit from leveraging image assets in their Google Ads.  

  • Increased Visibility. Not only could image assets make pharma paid search ads more eye-catching to users, it may also make paid search  ads stand out to Google. Advertisers using image assets have noticed an increase in reach and ad rank, which inevitably leads to increased engagement as more users see and click on paid search ads. 
  • Increased Real Estate. One reason to use image assets (along with all the other ad assets available, like callouts) is that it increases the size of the ad within Google, taking up more space on the results page. This will push competitor ads lower on the screen and reduce their visibility. 
  • Pre-Qualified Clicks. Images may help a product-specific site better differentiate from other health sites, increasing qualified clicks. Including a simple “Rx” image with the pharmaceutical ad copy can signal to users that if they click on that ad they will be going to a site about a specific drug or treatment. Additionally, brands could use images to further differentiate from competitors—think topicals vs. pills, pills vs. injectables, etc.  

Testing Image Assets  

While ad assets (previously “extensions”) have been around for a while, the image assets are new, especially for Pharma marketers, meaning some things are unknown. It is critical that brands who leverage ad images have a clear test plan in place to measure results. The plan should uncover:  

  • Which combination of images and copy is most effective? 
  • Does adding certain images drive a higher volume of qualified visitors to the site? 
  • What is the impact of image assets on cost efficiency? 

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