Google Adsense publishers that have placed link units on their pages will now have an image added to the search return list (which are generated upon a click from a user).
The display advertisements that appear are contextually targeted according to Google, based on the link topic that users clicked to reach the ads. If no image ads are available for the selected topic, no image will be shown (that means no PSA or blank space). Currently the display ad is placed at the bottom of search result pages
but you can bet the farm that those images will be shifted around over
time as historically, bid prices for display ads are higher and both
publishers and Google are looking for additional ways to monetize these
often underperforming units.
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Advertisers can bid on these image ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM) basis, so publisher/affiliates will generate earnings for valid clicks and impressions. We had a little trouble locating one of these ads in the wild, so I went ahead and placed a link unit on a test domain I use for personal purposes. You can see how it appears here: