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Image Extensions

What are Image Extensions?

Image Extensions are a feature on Google which allows you to add images to your search ads. As the organic experience is becoming more visual, Google are taking steps to ensure the paid experience can match this level of engaging content. Image Extensions are designed to help the user understand the ad message through providing relevant images.

All verticals can utilise Image Extensions except for sensitive topics such as alcohol, gambling, adult and finance.

Example of Image Extension:

Image Extension screenshot

Key Differences between Static and Dynamic Image Extensions

There are two types of Image Extensions: Static and Dynamic.

Static Image Extensions are images which you upload, these will not change in appearance. You can either apply this at campaign or ad group level. Typically, Google will serve Static Image Extensions over Dynamic Image Extensions, so ensuring you have a mix of both will aid in visibility. In addition, Static Image extensions will only show on Mobile at the absolute top of page.

With Dynamic Extensions, however, you have less control. To enable Dynamic Image extensions, you opt in to allow Google to show an image from your website based on what they deem most relevant. In addition, this is applied at account level so there is less control over where you apply these extensions. To be able to enable Dynamic Image Extensions, you must have legal rights to all the images on the landing pages used in the account and give permission to Google to use these for commercial purposes. Dynamic Image Extensions are eligible to show across Mobile and Desktop.





Mobile (absolute top position only)

Mobile + Desktop

Level of Control

High – you can select which images are applied and at what level

Low – images are dynamically pulled in by Google, however you can remove images through the Extensions tab.

How to Apply

Upload images

Opt In to allow Google to pull images

Google’s Priority Level




Best Practices

Typically, Image Extensions are shown less frequently in comparison to other extensions, which may be partially due to static Image Extensions only showing on Mobile at the top of page. This can therefore create quite strict requirements for showing. In order to get the most out of these extensions, Google recommends applying these to your highest traffic campaigns and ad groups. I would also caveat this may be due to volumes being capped for betas, however now Image Extensions are more widely released, we may see volumes increase.

Ensuring you have a wide enough coverage is also key to maximising visibility. This means you should aim for around 3 unique images per ad group and have one square image and one landscape.

Lastly, where possible, opting into Dynamic Image Extensions as well as applying static Image Extensions can aid in increasing visibility.


As explained, there are two types of Image Extensions and therefore two implementation processes.

Static Image Extensions

1. First go to the extensions tab and click on the drop down, then click on Image Extension

Image Extension set up part 1

2. You will then need to click on the plus icon which will bring you to the screen below. From here, all you need to do is select which level you want to apply Image Extensions at and upload the images you wish to show. Google also offers a tool which scans your website to pull in static images.


As previously mentioned, you’ll want to add at least one square and one landscape image to increase visibility. There are further guidelines around the image which include:

  • Image must be static (no moving images or gifs)
  • No photoshopped background
  • No logos overlaid on top of the original photographic image
  • No text overlaid on top of the original photographic image
  • No collages
  • No repetitive imagery
  • Size requirements: Landscape (1.91:1): 1200 × 628 (min required: 600 × 314, max file size: 5120KB)
  • Size requirements: Square: 1200 × 1200 (min required: 300 × 300, max file size: 5120KB)

Further guidelines can be found from the below resources:



Image extension set up part 3

Dynamic Image Extensions

1. Dynamic Extensions are much quicker to set up; for this type of extension all you need to do is click to Opt In within the Dynamic Extension box within the Extensions Tab. Then you will need to accept the terms and conditions.

Image extension set up

2. Once you’ve opted in, it can seem like the extension has disappeared, but fear not, the extension can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the extensions tab and clicking through to Automated Extensions.

From here you have the option to opt out of Dynamic Image Extensions through clicking the three dots to “More” and selecting off as per the below image outlays.

Image extension set up part 4

3. In terms of monitoring which images are being pulled in, you can do this in the extension tab in Google Ads, under the summary page. From here, you can scroll down and find the section for Dynamic Image Extensions.  This will then allow you to review the images being pulled in, with the option to remove the ones you don’t want to show.

With both types of extensions, it can take a while to build volume so don’t worry if you don’t see impressions and clicks immediately.

Image extension set up part 5


It’s expected the search experience is going to continue to become more visual as consumers needs and demands increase. Today is the day to start testing Image Extensions and take that step towards increasing click engagement.

Keeping up to date on features like this can make a huge difference in remaining competitive. At Merkle, we take pride in being leaders in the industry, if you want to find out more get in contact with us today.

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