Whether you are new to using the Google Display Network or a seasoned veteran in the pay-per-click (PPC) game, the utilization of Google’s Display Network (GDN) is a key factor for the growth and overall performance of your Google Ads account and your overall business.
Google’s Display Network is one of the most expansive and wide-reaching tools for awareness within the digital advertising universe, with more than 2,000,000 websites, videos, and apps where your Display ads can appear. With a massive reach, Display campaigns have become a prominent strategy to expose your brand cost-effectively.
Besides their extensive reach, another benefit of Display campaigns can be a lower cost of entry. You can choose from cost-per-view (CPV) and cost-per-click (CPC) bidding, depending on your campaign goals. For campaigns using CPC bidding, Display campaigns tend to have a lower click cost than search, particularly in more competitive industries. A click on a Display ad might average $1.00, while CPCs for Search campaigns in the same account might average over $5.
In some industries, the average click cost could even cost upwards of $100 or more, depending on the keywords being bid on. Metrics do vary depending on the targeting of the campaigns (Remarketing or Prospecting), but overall, Display ads are a much cheaper method to get more eyes on your product or brand at a much lower cost.
Knowing the reasons to use Google Display Network, the next questions would be, how would I create these ads, and which ads perform the best?
There are two types of ads to load in Google:
If you would like to control the look of your ads to match your brand guidelines, 20 ads might feel daunting. Do you really need to create ads in all these sizes, or are some just a waste of time?
I’ve analyzed more than 2,300 Google Display ads gathered from JumpFly-managed campaigns. Our data set is from the last two years of data (April 2020 – April 2022) and shows some clear differences in the distribution of the different ad sizes.
I created a Flourish chart with the data, so it is interactive. Impression share is broken out by size category (Square, Mobile, Leaderboard, Skyscraper). You can check it out here.
JumpFly’s Recommended List of Sizes:
Based on our analysis, the ad formats you should always create when building a Display campaign are:
Complete List of Ads
Below will be a breakdown of each format that Google will accept, as well as more information gleaned from analyzing JumpFly’s Display ads. Each ad will have different requirements, so be sure to meet all the requirements for the format you are creating.
All non-animated image ads must be in a GIF, JPG, or PNG file format, with a max file size of 150KB. This file size is quite small when creating GIF files, so I would recommend using HTML5 formats if you plan to create an animated Display ad. Google recommends using their Google Web Designer tool.
Square and Rectangle Ad Category
Square and rectangular formats are the bulk of Display ads being shown on GDN. These ad formats can be shown on most of the placement options, so including the recommended formats should be taken as a requirement.
Incline Rectangle (Recommended)
The Incline Rectangle is by far the most popular non-animated static Display ad format. It encompasses 68.66% of the impression share of the square and rectangular formats with a moderate average CPM of $2.35. If you are creating static image ads, the Incline Rectangle should be the required size.
Large Rectangle (Recommended)
Closely behind the Incline Rectangle is the Large Rectangle, with ~30% of the search impression share from the square and rectangular formats. The conversion rate is a bit higher than the Incline Rectangle, which makes it another required size to create.
For the smaller and less shown sizes, the Square format only takes up 1% of the search impression share from the square and rectangular formats. That being said, since the specs of this format are quite similar to the rectangular sizes, I would still recommend creating these.
Small Square (Recommended)
Taking up a similar search impression share to the Square ad, the Small Square should not be hard to recreate but does show in unique placements that others don’t.
Vertical Rectangle/Netboard/Triple Widescreen (Optional)
With the lesser shown ad variations, these formats were taking up less than 0.2% of the search impression share from the square and rectangular formats with comparably low conversion rates. If you are looking to show everywhere possible, go ahead and create these formats, but in all reality, you would not be missing out on a lot of traffic. This includes the Vertical Rectangle, Netboard, and Triple Widescreen sizes.
Skyscraper Ad Category
Half Page (Recommended)
Taking up over 60% of the impression share between the skyscraper landscapes, the Half-Page ad format is an ad type that many don’t create but should as it is the largest format that is frequently shown, providing ample space to portray your messaging.
Wide Skyscraper (Recommended)
The Wide Skyscraper is also a must-have when making new banner ads for your campaigns. These are shown in various formats accounting for 35% of the impression share between the skyscraper landscapes. The Wide Skyscraper ad is frequently shown on the sides of websites and provides plenty of space for information or a quick, catchy call to action.
Accounting for less than 5% of the remaining impression share, the Skyscraper and Portrait ads are less frequently shown in the Google Display Network, so only create these if you’d like to, but expect lower traffic from these sites.
Leaderboard Ad Category
The Leaderboard ad format is a must-have as it is the second-highest performing size overall, just behind the Incline Rectangle format. It may be the only “leaderboard” format you will have to make, as it accounts for 85% of the impression share between the formats listed below.
Banner, Billboard, and Large Leaderboard (All Highly Recommended)
These three sizes take up the remaining 15% of the impression share between the leaderboard formats. They are very similar aspect ratios to the Leaderboard ad, so copying and pasting designs should not be too difficult. The Billboard ad is also one of the larger ad sizes, so I would highly recommend implementing these into your campaign.
Panorama/Top Banner (Optional)
These two ad formats rarely show. Only create these formats if you are looking to cover all bases.
Mobile Ad Category
Mobile Banner & Large Mobile Banner (Both Recommended)
Both the Mobile Banner and Large Mobile Banner ads take up the bulk of the impression share in the mobile category. These ad formats are essential if your website receives a large amount of mobile traffic or if your website is optimized for mobile users. Although these formats are small, they are shown on devices much smaller in size compared to a desktop. These ads will take up a good amount of the screen, so be sure to get your message across!
Mobile Banner Version 2 (Optional)
This ad format is an alternative to the Mobile Banner; it should be easy to create and can account for 2% of the impression share for the mobile formats.
Optimizing your Google Display ads for the best possible formats is essential if you’d like to increase your branding. Recapping our required recommendations, the ad formats you should always create when building a Display campaign are as follows: