AdSense launched Vertical Images at the end of June, where they would replace one ad within an ad unit with a related inage instead, and if a visitor clicked on an image instead of one of the other ads within the ad unit, they would then lead to an Ad Links landing page.
While I was doing site placement reviews at BlogHer, a site came up where I noticed a new variation Google is testing of these vertical images. Now, the vertical image has been changed slightly to include “See more sponsored links > >” Whether you click the image or that text, they both lead to the traditional ad links landing page, where all the listings are paid links.
Here is an example of what the new style of vertical images looks like (was shown on a political site)
Since I have seen this, I have also seen these vertical images without the accompanying text as well, so it appears to be something AdSense is testing to determine if the added text results in a higher click through on the image. They are still likely also testing to determine if the ad units with these vertical images are overall increasing revenues versus ad units without these images.
Google definitely is testing new formats within ad units, often with slight variations, so it is always interesting to see if it is going to find its way as a permanent addition to the Google AdSense program.