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What are Google Gallery Ads?

4 min read.

Jasmine McKeever, Paid Search Manager

by Jasmine McKeever, Paid Search Manager

Core Investment

On the 16th of April 2019, Three Ireland launched a ground-breaking new campaign called The Island. The setting was the stormy, remote island of Arranmore, an island five kilometres off the coast of Donegal. The aim was to make Arranmore a connected island. By bringing super-fast connectivity and technology solutions to the island, Three would enable the residents to build their future on Arranmore, opening up opportunities for businesses to grow and develop, and diaspora to move back and work remotely from the island.

The campaign is one Three’s most visually impactful campaigns, grabbing the attention of the public with Arranmore’s breath taking scenery and with emotional stories from the islands’ locals.

While we knew the campaign would drive strong engagements from its impactful video, how could we use PPC (search pay per click) for such a predominantly visual campaign?

Luckily for us, we had just found out we were entered into a beta test for a brand-new, visual Google search format. This is where Gallery ads came in. This new format allows for PPC to become a more visual platform. It is something that users wouldn’t have seen making it even more impactful and eye catching – perfect for The Island campaign! This was also a great opportunity for Three to be one of the first to market with this new innovative and visually impressive search format.

What are Gallery Ads?

Gallery Ads, formerly known as Story Ads, are Google’s latest ad format that is currently in beta testing. These are a mobile only format that appears at the top of the search results and contain a carousel of 4 – 8 images. They can contain up to three headlines but the third headline is not guaranteed to show, as with the latest version of ETAs that launched last year.

How do Gallery Ads Work?

Gallery ads allow for more engagement than an ETA. Once a user swipes twice or clicks through to your site, you will be charged. However, if a user only swipes once you won’t be charged and it won’t be viewed as an engagement.

How do You Set Up Gallery Ads and What is Needed?

The first step in getting Gallery ads live for your client or brand is to contact your Google rep and get added to the whitelist. According to Google this takes between 7-10 days. Once you’ve been added to the whitelist, you’ll notice the below banner in the ‘Ads & Extensions’ section of your account.

Once you see this banner in your account, you’re ready to set up your Gallery ads. To get started you’ll need a minimum of four, 600 x 314, images. Along with these images you’ll need a tag line for each image with a max character limit of 70.  It’s important to note that you cannot repeat an image or tag line anywhere within the ad, each must be unique. Currently the only place to set up these ads is within the Google Ads interface.

To set these up in the interface you’ll need to go to the + button on the ads & extensions tab and select Gallery ads, this will then open the set-up window which will show you a preview of the ad as you build it.

How do Gallery Ads Perform?

Gallery ads are a very new format, having only been whitelisted for beta (testing) in April 2019 and announced by Google at their Marketing Live event on the 14th May. We managed to be first to market in implementing them and as a result have seen the benefit of achieving standout in the search engine results page. Since the ad format went live, we’ve seen very strong results. CTRs (click-through rates) have increased by a substantial amount and our CPCs dropped significantly when comparing against ETAs (expanded text ad). This new format has delivered the highest CTR we’ve ever seen on a disruptive campaign and performance is so strong, that we’ve removed ETAs from mobile, which accounts for 70% of our traffic, allowing gallery ads to absorb all potential traffic.

Currently, no new unique metrics have been launched to further measure the performance of these ads but hopefully metrics to show the best performing image and number of swipes an ad has received will be introduced.

Given the success we’ve seen on this campaign we’re looking forward to seeing how this exciting new format performs across different industries and the impact they will have on paid search advertising.

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