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AdWords Display Ad Sizes:
Sizing Up What’s Best For Your Campaigns

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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.
 

In this specific account, CPC is much lower in Display than Search, making it cheaper to get to this audience.

In this specific account, CPC is much lower in Display than Search, making it cheaper to get to this audience.


 

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:
 

In your Display campaign, select the “Upload display ads” once you click the blue plus button.

In your Display campaign, select the “Upload display ads” once you click the blue plus button.


 
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.
 
 
From here, you can click on the link on the left to see more format details.

From here, you can click on the link on the left to see more format details.


 
Here you now have access to all the supported formats and ad sizes that you can use for the banners.
 
 
Pop-up details the file types and sizes to be used in banner ads.

Pop-up details the file types and sizes to be used in banner ads.


 

Design Elements

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. Responsive Ads – These are ads that you create, which will format to the size that the real estate space calls for.
  2. Image Ads – These are the ads that you can create or upload.
  3. Ad Gallery – This includes Dynamic Ads, Lightbox Ads, Video Ads, General Purpose Ads, and Gmail Ads.

 

Ad Sizes

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.

  1. Square and Rectangle


    200×200        Small square


    240×400         Vertical rectangle


    250×250        Square


    250×360        Triple widescreen


    300×250        Inline rectangle


    336×280         Large rectangle


    580×400        Netboard

  2. Leaderboard  


    468×60         Banner


    728×90        Leaderboard


    930×180        Top banner


    970×90        Large leaderboard


    970×250        Billboard


    980×120        Panorama

  3. Skyscraper


    120×600        Skyscraper


    160×600        Wide skyscraper


    300×600        Half-page ad


    300×1050        Portrait

  4. Mobile  


    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”:
 

Choose “Responsive ad” to create your ads through the AdWords interface.

Choose “Responsive ad” to create your ads through the AdWords interface.


 
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:
 
 
Options to add assets to your banner ads.

Options to add assets to your banner 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.
 
 
When I type in klientboost.com into the URL, a whole bunch of images from my site are displayed for me to choose from.

When I type in klientboost.com into the URL, a whole bunch of images from my site are displayed for me to choose from.


 
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.
 
 
Choose your images smart, or add white space to avoid a logo that gets chopped off.

Choose your images smart, or add white space to avoid a logo that gets chopped off.


 
Upload: Here’s where you can upload any media assets to add to the banners.
 
 
Pretty self explanatory. :) Just simply drag and drop your images, or choose your files to upload and use.

Pretty self explanatory. 🙂 Just simply drag and drop your images, or choose your files to upload and use.


 
Recently Used: These are going to be assets that have been uploaded before and recently used in creating these types of ads.
 
 
Variety of images will pop up here which you can use in your ads.

Variety of images will pop up here which you can use in your ads.


 
Stock Images: Type in your website url again and Google will find images that are related to your website content.
 
 
Ughh. I hate stock photos, but if you’re in a bind you have this option.

Ughh. I hate stock photos, but if you’re in a bind you have this option.


 
Your Assets: This contains assets that belong to you and that you can use in the ads.
 

Sizes That Perform Best

 

On Desktop

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.
 

display_ad_size_example

The client above is seeing the best conversion rate from a 300×250 and 728×90 ad.


 
trucker_display_ad_size

This client has a much higher conversion rate from a 160×600 and a 250×250.


 
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:
 
300×250
 
The 300x250 tends to have a lot of inventory, increasing your chance of more impressions and clicks.

The 300×250 tends to have a lot of inventory, increasing your chance of more impressions and clicks.


 
336×280
 
The 336x280 size is very similar to the 300x250. It has lots of inventory, helping to boost more eyeballs on the ad.

The 336×280 size is very similar to the 300×250. It has lots of inventory, helping to boost more eyeballs on the ad. – image source


 
728×90
 
A lot of inventory for the 728x90, plus it mainly shows above content, making it seen quite a bit.

A lot of inventory for the 728×90, plus it mainly shows above content, making it seen quite a bit.


 
300×600
 
Great size for brand awareness ads and takes up a lot of space, meaning people see if longer when they’re on a page.

Great size for brand awareness ads and takes up a lot of space, meaning people see if longer when they’re on a page.


 
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.
 
 
While the 300x600 might be a top performer according to Google, in this case, it wasn’t because our focus was conversions.

While the 300×600 might be a top performer according to Google, in this case, it wasn’t because our focus was conversions.


 
But we did have much better success with the 728×90 size:
 
 
728x90 in this account had the most clicks of any ad size as well as the highest number of conversions & lowest CPA.

728×90 in this account had the most clicks of any ad size as well as the highest number of conversions & lowest CPA.


 

On Mobile

For mobile, Google claims that the following size is the best performer:
 
320×100
 

Compared to all display ads, the 320x100 perform much worse. Engagement is lower and cost is higher.

Compared to all display ads, the 320×100 perform much worse. Engagement is lower and cost is higher.


 
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.

Klientboost Blog Author Kim Fitkin

Kim Fitkin

VP of Client Services

Over 445 businesses got a proposal from us in August, 2019

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