How to Create Effective Google Display Ads





You’re reading your favorite digital newspaper on your tablet or mobile device and notice plenty of image-based ads all over. Do you ever click on them? Most likely your answer is a clear no.

Over 95 percent of banner ads are irrelevant to those viewing them.

In this article you'll discover the proven way to make your banner ads part of the remaining 5 percent - you'll learn how to make your Display ads relevant to those viewing them so you can gain more web visitors and customers.




What are Display Ads and How Do They Work

They say an image is worth thousand words. Let's watch this great video about how Display ads work before delving any deeper into it, shall we?


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Display ads are those that appear on the Google Display Network that allow you to reach your potential customers while they are browsing their favorite websites. The Display Network already has 2 million sites and can reach 90 percent of users on the Internet, according to Google.

Google Display ads appear in these 2 million websites that have signed up into Google Adsense program getting paid a small amount for every 10,000 people viewing the banners that advertisers have uploaded into their Google Ads account.

Advertisers pay to Google when someone clicks on the ads, Google pay to the websites for every 10,000 people who view them.

Unlike text ads that appear on Google search pages, display ads can have a visual impact through the use of images or video. They can even include interactive elements.




They can appear in some places or others depending on the targeting options you choose which are:

  • By public: You can direct your display ads campaign to specific sets of users such as people who have visited your website or specific demographic groups like 'young women.'


  • Contextual: You can configure your display campaign so that your ads appear in certain content contexts (you can define them with keywords or by choosing specific topics). You can also choose specific websites where you want your ads to appear if you know the web pages where your customers usually spend the most time.


For example, suppose you are the owner of an online musical instruments store and want to advertise your wide selection of limited edition classical guitars. Your audience will be guitarists interested in buying a classical guitar and you want them to see your banner ads - you can have the ads display on guitar-related websites, and/or have the ads appear to people interested in guitars, no matter the website they visit.





You need to target always both (1) relevant websites and (2) relevant audience.

Now that you know what display ads are and how they can be displayed on the sites your potential customers visit, you have to determine when it's necessary to use these types of ads.



Do I Really Need to Advertise on Google's Display Network?

To truly know if you need to advertise your products or services on the Google Display Network, analyze your potential customers and take into account how they behave when they visit your website. Your potential clients can be divided into two groups of people:

  • People who want your product but are not looking for it yet: Your potential customers may think about your product or service but still don't search for it on Google. Anticipating the need of your potential client is a great marketing strategy and the fastest way to beat your competitors. That's exactly what display ads allow you to do.


  • People who have visited your website but have left without taking action on it: This second group of people, although smaller, is a great target for banner ads. Most web visitors don't make a decision instantly and leave your website with the intention of returning later. Display ads allow you to remind them of your product or service while they are browsing other sites. This technique is also known as remarketing and its effectiveness is more than proven. According to a study carried out by Adobe, there are 70 percent more chances that users impacted with remarketing ads end up converting through your website. Another study by comScore revealed that remarketing ads lead to a 1,046 percent increase in brand searches, a clear sign that they generate greater awareness and remembrance of the brand. If your potential customers don't convert through your website, this is one of the most effective display options to reverse the situation.




How to Design a Winning Display Ad

If display ads are relevant and well designed, they can become an incredibly powerful acquisition channel for your company. Since you now know how to make them relevant by targeting methods offered by Google Ads, you can now design them to ensure you beat out your competitors.

As a rule of thumb, good banner ads have a striking image, a big-sized and catchy headline highlighting an offer or benefit of the product followed by a call-to-action button featuring striking, action-oriented text:

'Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.'

Jeffrey Zeldman

Not only must you make sure you use an attractive design, the content must be interesting enough to get users' attention. Therefore, the title must not only advertise the product but must mention an offer or focus on highlighting the benefits of the product, rather than the characteristics. The content of your ad should answer the question:

Why should my potential customers buy my product or hire my service?

Below you can see an example of a good display ad from a famous hotel chain:



This is a good banner ad for the following reasons:

  1. Has a simple and attractive design (few elements well integrated)

  2. Uses a striking title highlighting an offer

  3. Has an impactful picture

  4. Has a clear and big call-to-action button


Below, you can see a banner ad of a clothes store. It’s also a great example of a good banner ad.



For a comparison, here are two examples of not-so-good ads:



This banner ad doesn’t stand out at all. The image is just a generic stock picture that doesn’t tell a story. The text is way too small—it can barely be seen, actually. The call-to-action button doesn’t inspire much of an action either. Avoid boring wording like, 'Visit site.' This is a textbook example of a bad banner ad.

Here’s another example of a lackluster banner ad:



You could argue the design is actually clever and professional-looking, but take another look at it. This ad is missing key elements like a call-to-action button or a clear depiction of the product’s benefit. The wording built forever is intriguing but falls flat because the meaning isn’t clear enough.

Banner ads help you reach more people and expand your customer base. Make sure they are eye-catching and well designed to get them to direct more potential customers to your website.


Which Display Ads Size Should I Use?

In the same way that design and content are important, the size is also a key piece that can influence the success of your ads.

Before choosing any size, you should analyze your potential customers and know the devices they use to navigate their favorite websites. There are some ad sizes that won’t show up on mobile devices, so if your potential customers use tablets or smartphones to navigate, they won't see your ads. On the other hand, there is also an ad size that only shows on smartphones, so if you choose it, you should bear in mind that it won't appear on computers or tablets.

Google offers you a wide range of ad sizes to choose from. Some have shown better performance than others, so to make your choice easier, here are the five most effective ad sizes according to Google.






According to the data provided by Google, the sizes that are the most effective at the level of impressions and engagement are:

  1. Medium rectangle (300 × 250): A display ad size that works well when it's embedded within the content of a website or at the end of articles. This size is also shown on high-end mobiles.


  2. Large rectangle (336 × 280): This display ad size is similar to the previous one although a little larger. It also works well when embedded within the content of a web page or at the end of articles, but is not displayed on mobile devices.


  3. Leaderboard (728 × 90): Ads with this size usually work well on top of a web page's content as the first thing users see when they visit a website or in forums. This size is only displayed on computers.


  4. Half page (300 × 600): It's one of the fastest growing sizes by number of impressions. It offers a greater space than the previous ones so advertisers can transmit their message and, therefore, creates a greater potential to generate engagement. This size is only displayed on computers.


  5. Large mobile banner (320 × 100): As indicated by its name, this size only appears in high-end mobile devices and can be used as an alternative to the 320x50 and 300x250 sizes. It's twice as tall as the standard mobile ad size, known as mobile leaderboard.



What Display Ads’ Format Should I Use?

To create effective display ads you have to take into account the format, too. If it's not appropriate, Google will reject them and they won't be published. Here are some tips to choose the best format for your ads:

  • Create static ads: Your ads can be animated (.gif) or static (.jpg/.png). Although it would seem that animated ads draw more attention because of the movement, creating static ads is actually better. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group showed that

79 percent of users don’t actually read web pages, they scan them.

If users only spend a second looking at display ads, it's likely that they won't see the full animation of your ad and will miss important information. If, on the other hand, your ad condenses the information into a single static image, the impact will be immediate and the chances of users clicking on it or remembering your brand will increase.


  • Make sure the weight of your image ad is less than 150kb: If the weight of the .jpg or .png file that contains your ad exceeds this figure, Google will reject it. If you create it yourself, be sure to export or compress the image so that it weighs less than 150kb. If you hire a designer to do it, let them know about this before they send you the final file. There are some free useful online tools to compress images without losing quality, such as TinyPng. Below you can see its interface:






  • If you use a white background in your ad, be sure to add a dark border:Using colors that contrast with most web page backgrounds (such as blue, orange, or green) is usually the best idea since it helps your ad stand out on the page. If you use a white background in your ad, it may not pop on web pages that also have a white background and will go unnoticed. To help combat this, Google created a rule that says all ads with a white background must include a dark border so that the ad is separated from the content on web pages with a white background.





You now know enough about display ads and how to use them successfully in your marketing strategy that you’re ready to start creating your own and increasing your clientele. If you liked this article and want to discover more marketing strategies to apply to your business, take a look at our 5 winning marketing strategies for your company.




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