For some time now Google’s publishing partners and advertisers have been requesting image based advertising through the AdSense and AdWords programs, and Google is listening.
Currently still in Beta, Google has introduced image ads into its AdSense / AdWords program.
Much like traditional Google AdWords ads, image ads will be displayed based on associated keyword targets, however, will only be shown on content sites. Webmasters participating in the AdSense program will have the choice to display text ads, or a combination of text and image ads. Google will automatically determine weather it thinks an image or text ad is more likely to generate revenue and serve up according. Currently webmasters do not have the ability to display only image ads, but as the program grows and more and more advertisers begin using images, Google will likely allow this option.
Google image ads are available in 4 major, traditional formats, 468×60, 728×90, 120×600 and 300×250. These are only accepted in unanimated .jpeg, .gif, or .png formats and are limited to 50K in size. (examples) AdWords advertisers, when creating new ads, have the option of uploading an image instead of creating text ads. At the bottom of each image the destination URL will be made visible along with a link to a Google feedback form on the relevancy of the ad.
Image ads are restricted to contextual ads on content sites and Google says there are no plans on using image ads at Google.com.
Not long ago the popularity of banner ads slipped with the rise in text-based advertising. Google image ads are not much different then the traditional banner ads, with the exception of the lack of animation. Just how well they’ll do is anybody’s guess, and I for one, am interested to see the outcome. This just may trigger a strong comeback in banner advertising.