Google Adding Interactive Shopping Ads To Images

Alphabet’s Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is adding new shopping ad features to Images that let brands target shoppers at the point of inspiration. According to Google, half of online shoppers look for and are then inspired by images when making a purchase. The new features will allow brands to directly annotate their images with product names and price tags.

One of the new shopping ad format can be used to overlay labels and price tags on sponsored picture results. The name, price, and other qualifiers, like Sale labels, will be listed on a floating label next to the product. Multiple items can be marked up within a sponsored image. A blue tag icon in the bottom-right corner will hide the details and let users view the complete image.

According to reports, this new type of ad is currently being tested on a limited number of queried for “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”. The company will be expanding the ads to more categories and more retailers in the upcoming months.

Google will also be adding Showcase Shopping ads to Image Search. These ads will be displayed in a carousel format at the top of the results page when certain phrases are searched. The company is also allowing retailers to provide product data free of charge for its Merchant Center feeds and content.

Google is trying to prevent the defection of users who search for products using Google, but then purchase from competitors’ sites. Images are increasingly being used to advertise and directly sell products to users and every social platform is looking at how to monetize the trend. Instagram has rolled out several shopping tools for brands in recent months and Pinterest has announced new shopping features as well.

Google has explored using advertising in this way before. Advertisers can already target shoppers with sponsored ads in Google Images. Image Search on mobile already has features to help users find similar items to those in a scanned picture. An earlier version of Shoppable Ads was tested last year for third-party sites.