Want to quickly set up and optimise your ads on Google Display Network (GDN)? Well, it can all be done fairly easily if you have the right know how although more often than not, it’s more a matter of “easier said than done”.

Even for advanced users, setting up and optimising ads on GDN may involve a bit of trial-and-error and entail a generally steep learning curve. Unfortunately, the steep learning curve comes at the cost of additional and often wasted ad budget which could have been utilised elsewhere.

This doesn’t have to be you.

With the right know how and best practices model, you can ensure that your digital marketing spend is being put to good use – and one of the best ways to do this is to choose the right size images for your Google Display ads.

Why does it matter which ad size I choose?

Well, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes when it comes to display ads on Google and as it turns out, the wrong image size can limit the reach of your campaigns. In fact, if you are trying to reach a specific niche (like most businesses are), choosing the wrong size could render your ads almost completely useless.

The process of putting up a banner ad on Google’s Display Network involves choosing the right size for your image – of the 200+ million websites on the network, the ones that do publish your ad have full control over the size your ad gets featured in. So, if the requirement on those sites is publishing images which show up easily on the top, sides or bottom of the page, then you definitely do not want to publish your content as a half-page ad, for example.

Now, with all things said, 300 x 250 ads tend to get the most clicks on any given day of the week. But we need to be weary – at a glance, this would seem like the best option to choose if you want to put up your ad on as many sites as possible, right?

Well, this is half true, because it only partially demonstrates why size is an important factor for your ads’ images, and their subsequent success.

The process of understanding and uncovering which ad sizes will get you the most click-through’s (CTR – click through rate) is a very important one because banner ads actually do not always get the best CTR. In fact, their CTR has been decreasing steadily as of late. To add to marketers’ dismay, you have ad blocker services (Opera VPN, Ad block Plus, NotdVPN, etc.) which can render your banner-sized images even less effective.

Therefore, the common ad sizes of 300 x 250 and 728 x 90 can actually hurt you more than get you the clicks you need. For now, the key thing to remember is that one or two ‘popular’ Google Display ad sizes will not get you where you need to be and for a very simple reason: some sites prefer smaller images while other prefer larger ones.

So, what’s the solution then? The best one is to prepare your ad in a way that it is optimised as much as possible. At the same time, we also need to take mobile ads into account as nearly 60% of consumers are using mobile devices to view these ads. Now we have a new variable to work with: create your images and choose the size in a way to get the ads to show properly on mobile devices.

This is confusing – which ad size should I choose eventually?

With so many variables at play, it can be confusing, even frustrating, to choose the right ad size as it can affect how well it performs.

Luckily, Google published a report in 2021 where they deciphered the best-performing ad sizes. According to the research they did, five primary ad sizes must be considered when you build out a campaign for GDN.

These are:

  • 300 x 250
  • 336 x 280
  • 720 x 90
  • 320 x 100
  • 300 x 600

However, the above sizes should certainly not be considered the “be all, end all” of images sizes for ads as they may not work in once place or, for that matter, for one campaign. So, what we’ll do now is take apart each one of these ad sizes recommended by Google as the ‘best performing ad sizes’ and show you how it could impact your ad campaign performance.

Google recommends 300 x 250

The “medium rectangle” ad size is one of the most commonly used banner ad sizes today – it’s relatively compact and does not take up too much space compared to taller ad sizes like, for example, 300×600. This is why many publishers tend to regard this as a favourable option.

Another major advantage of this ad size is that it gets embedded in the text most of the time, which reduces the chances of your users scrolling past it or missing it.

So, based on availability and in-text placement, this is a superb option for most advertisers and marketers. Furthermore, if you’re just starting out with banner ads on GDN, this size is a safe bet to begin with.

Google recommends 336 x 280

This ad size is referred to as the “large rectangle”. While this ad image size may not get the same number of impressions as the above, it is still popular across a wide range of sites and publishers within Google’s Display Network.

It’s almost the same size as the 300 x 250 one, but noticeably bigger given the dimensions. Another great option if you want your ad embedded in the text of an article, for instance, so that the most number of readers can see it.

Google recommends 720 x 90

This ad size is known as the “leader board” as it is displayed boldly at the top of the published page. Again, it’s a great option if you’re looking to have your ad in front of as many target users as possible.

Google says that you should put this ad size at the very top of your content or preferably, on a forum-style website. However, if you see it in other spots on a site, you should consider opting out of getting your ad placed there as it may not get as many clicks and impressions.

Google recommends 320 x 100

This one is referred to as the “large mobile banner” and Google recommends it as a much better option instead of the shorter (320 x 50) or taller (300 x 250) ones if you’re targeting mobile users.

This ad size sits very comfortably on a variety of mobile screen sizes and doesn’t detract a whole lot from its surroundings. It’s an excellent choice to implement across any mobile device and you will likely gain more visibility on mobile devices compared to the “leader board” ad image size.

Most users tend to view ads on mobile devices more than anything else so this is a good option to implement.

Google recommends 300 x 600

Marketers often refer to this as the “half page” ad size even though it doesn’t exactly cover up a complete half page. The main idea here is to give you more elbow room to get your message across your target audience. And, since you’re taking up more space than the other options, you may stand a better chance at drawing attention and getting clicks.

This ad size always displays very prominently against the copy and imagery of the site’s content, giving you a better chance to make the ad ‘pop’. In fact, place these strategically, and you may get really good results.

Google says that this ad format is among the fastest growing sizes based on impressions alone because it offers such a great visual impact. If you want your banner ads to be large and have an ‘in your face’ type of appeal, then this is the one you need.

Conclusion: Optimise all your ad sizes for mobile

Unless you’re marketing specifically to other businesses where you know for sure that your target user will be seeing your ads on desktop workstations, it makes sense to choose your ad image sizes with ‘mobile first’ in mind.

Most people today come across ads on their mobile devices, so you’d want to design all your ads in a mobile-friendly way.

Our Google Display Ad design team has vast experience working across nearly every vertical and are well-versed in crafting ads for all popular sizes. They are especially good at crafting mobile-friendly display ads to help you squeeze the most out of your ad spend.

With the total number of mobile users exceeding 4 billion as of a January 2021 report, it really pays to work with an expert mobile ad designer who is specialises in crafting, setting up and optimising your ads.

Published On: April 3rd, 2023 / Categories: Content Marketing, Digital Marketing /

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