So, can we put images near AdSense ads?
Google asks publishers do not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the two.
I have placed a space/line/border between images and ads, is it ok?
No. If the ads and images appear to be associated, either with or without space/line/border is the same — against AdSense policies.
Example of unacceptable AdSense implementation
The above implementation(with images next to ads) does not comply with Google AdSense policies, because the ads and images are related — “fruits”. It is not ok even with a clear border between images and ads.
Is AdSense Beautifier compliant to AdSense policies?
The AdSense policy clarification says that the images used cannot related to the ads(even with border).AdSense Beautifier plugin uses meaningless images which are not related to the ads.
In my opinion, AdSense Beautifier is OK in this case but not recommended. It is a “gray area”.
AdSense Beautifier is a WordPress plugin that adds images next to AdSense ads automatically.
My two cents
In short, do not use images to increase your AdSense CTR.
I am sure the AdSense policy clarification has affected many AdSense publishers. Frankly, the implementation can double(even triple) the ads CTR. However, it is bad for advertisers. Google is doing right to protect both publishers and advertisers.