Why is it important to discuss AdWords Display ad sizes? If you’re in online advertising, and specifically in paid, more than likely you’ve heard of the Google Display Network (GDN) and even experimented with it a bit. GDN can help you find new audiences and retarget to existing ones. It’s a great way to get in front of a large audience, often at a lower cost than search campaigns.
What Is The GDN
While I can go on and on into what the GDN is, here’s a great article that will break it down for you. What I am focusing on are the banner ads, and specially the different sizes and how each size is used.
What To Know When Creating An Ad
Before I get into the ad sizes, there’s a few basic points to understand when creating banner ads. Google AdWords (now Google Ads) is great with their support pages, but it can also be found as you start to create the ads.
Image Ad Format
Say you have a client who asks if they can send you a GIF file for a banner. Not sure if you can upload a GIF? Just check it out in AdWords:
Once you click this, you’ll reach a page where you can drag and drop your images or upload them from your computer. Below, that’s some text that tells you the ad formats–but for even more information, click on the “Supported sizes and formats” link.
Here you now have access to all the supported formats and ad sizes that you can use for the banners.
While not all of the following elements are required by AdWords to run banner ads on GDN, I’d strongly recommend that you add them in:
- CTA – It’s important that people know why they’re clicking on your banner, and a strong CTA can make a difference in the conversion rate.
- Image – This is what’s going to capture the attention of your audience. While design is subjective, make sure that your design stands out and will be noticed.
- Text – Less is more here. Hopefully, your image conveys enough information–because for the text, your banner can look cluttered and illegible if you have too much text, especially with the smaller mobile ones.
- Logo – Don’t forget this. You might be able to upload your banners without one, but Google will come back and let you know they’re disapproved without one. Plus, why would you not want to show off your label here?
Types of Ads
There are a number of different types of ads that you can create:
- Responsive Ads – These are ads that you create, which will format to the size that the real estate space calls for.
- Image Ads – These are the ads that you can create or upload.
- Ad Gallery – This includes Dynamic Ads, Lightbox Ads, Video Ads, General Purpose Ads, and Gmail Ads.
Ad sizes have changed much over the years that Google AdWords has been running banners on the GDN. It started with only a few, but now there’s multiple as the inventory has grown.
There are 4 different types of image size buckets. They’re split up by “Square and Rectangle”, “Leaderboard”, “Skyscraper”, and “Mobile”. In those 4 bucket types, there’s a total of 20 different ad sizes that one can create.
They’re listed below, and here’s a great Google support article which details the sizes even more, where they may perform the best and whether that would work with display or text ads better.
- Square and Rectangle
200×200 Small square
240×400 Vertical rectangle
250×360 Triple widescreen
300×250 Inline rectangle
336×280 Large rectangle
930×180 Top banner
970×90 Large leaderboard
160×600 Wide skyscraper
300×600 Half-page ad
300×50 Mobile banner
320×50 Mobile banner
320×100 Large mobile banner
In addition, there are some ad sizes which are only available in certain countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Below details those sizes, and you can find more info. in Google support.
240×400 Most popular size in Russia
980×120 Most popular size in Sweden and Finland
250×360 Second most popular in Sweden
930×180 Popular size in Denmark
580×400 Popular size in Norway
How To Create Banner Ads
One of the greatest things about working at KlientBoost is our super skilled design team. If you’re lucky enough to have a designer, they can create the banner ads for you to use in your campaigns.
If you’re without a designer, good ol’ Google has come through for you by providing tools to create your own image ads within AdWords.
Image Ads Builder
If you’re looking to create some ads with Google’s help, simply navigate to your display campaign, click into the ad group, and press the large blue button to create a new ad. Here, you have the choice to create a “Responsive ad” or to “Upload display ads”. Click on the “Responsive ad”:
When you get to the next page, click on the blue Images button, and you’ll have the ability to select a few options to build your ads:
Scan Website: This will look for any images and logos on your site. Simply type in the url and you’ll be provided options of images to choose from. In our experience, the images are hit or miss here. There might not be exactly what you want, but it will provide some options.
You can chose to use the image as a logo or as an image for the ad. Beware though that not all images will fit the size that you want. For example, if you want to use the super cool rocket as the logo, it wont fit. 🙁 The logo must be a 1:1 ratio–and because our rocket is tall and skinny, it wont fit as a logo.
Upload: Here’s where you can upload any media assets to add to the banners.
Recently Used: These are going to be assets that have been uploaded before and recently used in creating these types of ads.
Stock Images: Type in your website url again and Google will find images that are related to your website content.
Your Assets: This contains assets that belong to you and that you can use in the ads.
Sizes That Perform Best
What are your KPIs? That’s going to help you determine which banner ads to go with.
Depending on your goals, ad size might matter. If you’re looking for more brand awareness to get impressions and clicks, choosing a size that has the most inventory is the way to go. If your goal is conversions, it’s really all about testing. In my experience, the size varies across offers, images, clients, audiences, etc. It’s best to test.
As the example above shows with the two clients, the size really doesn’t matter too much. It’s not going to be the same across clients and audiences.
Google has their own opinions about display size–and according to them, the most popular and best performing banner sizes are the following:
So, while these might be the most popular because of the large amount of real estate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they perform the best.
This is where we like to say, “let the data do the talking.”
From one of our accounts, where our focus is to increase conversions and lower CPA, we gathered together all the sizes of image ads across different audiences, with different offers and CTAs.
Here’s what the data is showing us…
In this account, when we filter by one of the popular sizes, 300×600, the data is telling us that CPA is way higher than the other ads in this campaign, and conversion rate is much lower.
But we did have much better success with the 728×90 size:
For mobile, Google claims that the following size is the best performer:
In fact, I’m inclined to say that while the mobile ad does indeed get a lot of clicks, the conversion rate for such an ad is in the toilet.
We actually try to avoid mobile ads if we can, because what we’ve found is that people are tapping on these mobile ads accidentally. I know, personally, when I’m trying to finish a crossword on my phone and then click an ad at the top, it only infuriates me. No, I don’t want your free car estimate thank-you-very-much. I just want to finish my game, so I can get my points.
Wrap Up on AdWords Display Ad Sizes
It’s important to be aware of the top performing ad sizes–but unfortunately, there isn’t one banner size that performs best across all audiences and with all offers. It’s all about testing and figuring out what works for you.
So, while ad size does matter, since there’s more real estate for certain sizes than others, keep in mind that design matters too. They should be able to capture the attention of the visitor, offer an enticing reason to click on the ad, and to have that ad go to a page that’s going to convert.