Recently, there has been a popular trend among Adsense publishers to display images next to their ads in order to attract more clicks but the question of whether they are against Adsense TOS is never really answered/understood very well. Generally, the rule followed by many is to not attract direct attention to the ads (e.g. an arrow pointing to the ads or an image with Click Here) and some have claimed that Adsense support said images with a light border around the images are fine.
So will they really improve your click-through rate (CTR)? Well, these are some responses I gathered visiting various sites:
So far, they are mostly positive, but note the relevant images idea suggested. However, to implement that into your site would be quite difficult for a noob like me, so an alternative way would be to randomise the image so your visitors won't be too used to a static image to ignore it. So how do you do it?
Well, here are a few methods from Digitalpoint forums:
Although it only displays static images currently, Adsense Beautifier is a very easy to use Wordpress plugin for the lucky WP users. Plans are on hand to create a version which will return an image related to post though.
Anyway, just to share, I've recently encountered some interesting changes to Adsense ads showing up on one of my sites. Instead of appearing as either a contextual text ad or an image ad, it shows up as a hybrid of both images and text as shown in the image above!
A quick search on Google returns quite a few sightings as well from other web publishers:
I've researched abit on some other forums and most people are saying that Google is just testing this idea of images which corresponds to the contextual ad it is displaying e.g. a TV site will have a TV image next to it, a PDA site would have a PDA image next to it, etc. Anyway, since the images from other websites are about 1 month old or more, with a clear border around them, I would like to direct the focus on the one that appeared on my site:
Not only does it have a related image, there's some words saying "More sponsored links…". Also, the image is clickable, but I didn't click it, so I'm not really sure if it leads to another site which displays more ads from Google. So, is this the new ads we'll be seeing soon?