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How to Boost Click-Through Rates with Image Extensions [Case Study]


One recent test we did involving Google ads was with image extensions. We wanted to see what would happen to the click-through rate (CTR) if we used an image of a green arrow pointing to the ad copy. We tested this on several different clients in various industries.

Medical Industry:

We tried this on a medical practice where we previously had been showing a headshot for the image extension and that image performed well (12.69% CTR). It seems that Google did not show our image of the green arrow (it only had 20 impressions and 0 clicks) and instead showed the image of the headshot we had been using previously.

Home Services:

We also tried this on a home services business (pool remodeling). We started by adding the green arrow image extension to one of their campaigns. It had a 5.27% CTR. Since it performed so well, we added it to other campaigns and it too performed well compared to our other image extensions.

Personal Injury Lawyer:

Previously, we had a blue or green phone image on this campaign, which received a CTR of 9.89% and 12.07% CTR respectively. Although this is a great CTR, the green arrow extension performed even better with a CTR of 16.16%. We do need to note the conversion rate was lower than with the phone images.


With the dentist we tried this on, we actually usually do not see conversions with our other image extensions, but the green arrow did bring in six conversions. Also, the CTR was the highest with this image.

Does It Work?

As with many things in SEO, the answer is…it depends! In most industries, including home services, dental, and legal brands, CTR increased. However, in the medical industry, it did not.


  • Image extensions help the click-through rate (CTR).
  • The image used is important and should be monitored. Some images do better than others.
  • Green arrows seem to work well based on our testing.

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

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