Google Images Joins the Search Network – What It Means for You

This week, we welcome a guest post from our Digital Advertising Associate, Carter Poore.

Carter specializes in Google Ads, search engine optimization (SEO) services, and paid social advertisements. He is responsible for optimizing ongoing campaigns and works closely with our clients to reach their advertising goals.

Google recently announced that Google Images is now part of the Search Network by default for Shopping ads. Previously, advertisers had to enable the Search Partner Network during campaign setup to display on Google Images (the popular image-specific Google search option).

Listen up e-commerce companies! Including Google Images in the Search Network is a significant change, and savvy marketers stand to benefit from increased search traffic at lower cost-per-click. This will impact all Google Shopping campaigns and any retailer or agency running Product Listing Ads (PLAs) (a.k.a Shopping Ads or Google Shopping Ads).

Read the full Google announcement below, and see how the addition of Google Images to the Search Network will impact your campaign performance and economy.

Quick Background

The Search Network for Shopping Ads enable companies to upload product data according to Google’s product feed formats to advertise their products across applicable Google searches (now, to include Google Image searches).

Product Listing Ads show above all other ads on Google’s search engine ranking pages (SERP), including organic and paid search results. PLAs hold a 43% overall share of Google’s paid search clicks and 70% of non-branded paid search clicks.

Though Google Images occupies 10% of Google’s search traffic and 27% in total search traffic across engines, including Yahoo!, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and Facebook, it’s a commonly overlooked search network channel. In total, Google Shopping is moving from around 60% total search traffic potential to 87% of the total search traffic potential.

How will PLAs in Google Images Impact My Ad Performance?

Google states that any given user should expect a “3-10% increase in traffic at lower cost-per-click and comparable conversion rates.” However, Industries that should expect the greatest changes fall under fashion, home, and beauty, as many people seek how-to guidance and product discovery via Google Images.

In the official email, Google states you are “eligible*” for shopping ads in Google Image searches, meaning you cannot opt out of the Google Image search channel.

If you are currently running Google Shopping campaigns, you’ll need to keep an eye out for unqualified traffic with unknown buyers’ intent. This additional channel will make negative keywords, search term reports, and daily optimizations that much more important for Google Shopping moving forward.

The Email


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.

We are excited to announce that we will be integrating Google Images into our core Search Network in late March. This means Shopping ads, that you are already familiar with, will now automatically be eligible* to appear in Google Images results when users are searching for relevant keywords.

What this means for your Shopping campaigns:

All of your Shopping ads will be automatically eligible* to serve on Google Images. You will no longer have to opt into the Search Partner Network to show Shopping ads on Google Images.

*For Europe only: if you are unsure what surfaces your ads show on, please check with your CSS.

If your campaigns currently run on the Search Partner Network – you may see a decrease in traffic coming in from Search Partner Network and an increase in traffic coming from the Search Network. This is because Google Images was previously a part of the Search Partner Network. Note: Historical Google Images traffic will not be re-categorized from the Search Partner Network to Search Network.

If your campaigns are not currently opted into the Search Partner Network – your ads will start showing on Google Images and as a result there may be a 3-10% increase in traffic at lower cost-per-click and comparable conversion rates.


The Google Ads Team