display banner guide
6 minutes read

Whether you want to start running display ads to get more customers or whether you want to start retargeting on the Google Display Network, you need to create specific ads. With this Google display ad guide you will find the answers to your questions:

What size should you choose for your Google display ads? One or more slides? What should you add in your ad? Is there anything you can do to get better performance?

What’s great about display advertising is that they go beyond the text. You can use images, text, colors, buttons and even animations to convey your message more effectively.

We’ve taken all the information and put it together in an article so you can have all the information you need.

1. Google display ad sizes guide

Google display ads come in many sizes, you can see the main ones listed in the table below.

List of Google display ad sizes

Ad size Name Where it’s featured Supply
300×250 Medium Rectangle Embedded within or at the end of articles Good inventory
336×280 Large Rectangle Embedded within or at the end of articles Good inventory
728×90 Leaderboard Placed on top or in inserted in an article Good inventory
300×600 Half Page Featured in the right or left hand side Growing inventory
468×60 Banner Featured in small spaces inside or on the left in articles Limited, declining inventory
234×60 Half Banner Featured in small spaces inside or on the left in articles Limited, declining inventory
120×600 Skyscraper Featured in websites sidebars Limited inventory
160×600 Wide Skyscraper Featured in websites sidebars Good inventory
970×90 Wide Skyscraper Top of website pages Limited inventory
200×200 Small Square Usually featured in the right hand sidebar Limited inventory
250×250 Square Usually featured in the right hand sidebar Limited inventory

Right about now, you’re probably wondering about two things. First, how much does ad size matter? And second, what size(s) should you choose?

To begin with, ad size is very important, it has a direct impact on your campaign and its performance. Going with less popular sizes in your campaign will result in a lower number of impressions and consequently lower performance.

If you want to get a fair number of impressions, it is recommended that you go with popular ad sizes. Most websites feature ad placements for 300×250, 728×90 and 160×600 ad units. Those, along with 180×150 are included in the universal ad package, a standard set by the IAB.

While these are the most popular display ad sizes worldwide, there are a few custom sizes that are more popular in specific countries. In Russia, the most popular ad size is 240×400, also known as the vertical rectangle. In Sweden, 980×120 (panorama) is the most popular, followed by 250×360. If you’re running display ads in Denmark, you might want to add 930×180 banners. In Poland, 750×300, 750×200 and 750×100 are most common.

2. Types and accepted formats

There are three main types of display ads: static, animated and interactive.

For static banners, the accepted formats are JPEG, JPG, PNG and GIF (one slide). Animated banners can be uploaded as GIF or SWF. Interactive banners are different from animated when they require an action from the user. Those can be uploaded only as SWF.

Choosing the ad type is not as simple as choosing the ad sizes. Animated and interactive ads are more efficient than static ads. Motion is one element that attracts attention and it can help you fight banner blindness. At the same time, too much animation can also make your display ads look cheesy.

One more thing to take into account when considering the type of ad. Currently, there are more websites that accept static ad formats.

Whether you’re going for static or animated, keep the focus on your customers. Try to make your display ads and your offering as interesting and as engaging as possible for them.

3. Technical requirements

Static or animated, all display ads that run on the Google Display Network must be up to 150KB or smaller.

Animated or interactive ads need to be 15 seconds or shorter. You are allowed to use loops in your display ads, but the animation length cannot exceed the 15-second length mentioned before.

GIF ads with multiple slides need to have a speed of up to 5 frames per second. For Flash ads, frame speed can go up to 20 frames per second or even lower. In addition, all Flash ads need to have the clickTAG variable set.

4. Display Ad Content

Ads that run on the Google Display Network are subject to a few rules when it comes to what you’re actually featuring in the ad.

If you’re using images, make sure that they’re clear and easy to recognize. You are not allowed to use blurry images and flashing backgrounds.

  1. You must use the entire space in your banner ad and you can’t feature multiple copies within the ad.
  2. Don’t imitate site content, news or text ads
  3. You are not allowed by any means to trick users into clicking your ad. What does this mean? Don’t mimic system or site warning, operating system dialogue boxes or error messages.
  4. Your display ad must have the distinct look and feel of an ad and must be easily separated from page content. If you’re using a white background, make sure you add a contrasting border to mark your banner
  5. You can replicate animated features or icons as long as those exist on your landing page.

5. Restricted Content Categories

While you can advertise a broad range of products and services on the Google Display Network, there are a few sensitive categories. You are not allowed to advertise:

  1. “Anti” or violent concepts or ads against an organization, person, group of people or a protected group distinguished by race or ethnic origin, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity;
  2. Alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and spirits
  3. Escort services, prostitution, or adult sexual services;
  4. Offline gambling, online gambling, and gambling-related products;
  5. Illegal drugs, legal or synthetic highs, herbal drugs, chemicals and compounds with psychoactive effects, drug paraphernalia, or aids to pass drug tests;
  6. Websites infected with malware, or the sale of malicious software.

Five Tips for Great Display Ads

Ok, so you know about ad sizes, which ones to choose to get a good number of impressions. We’ve also told you about how large your banner should be and what you’re allowed and not allowed to put in it.

Now, before starting to write about how to sell display advertising, I want to give you some tips on what actually makes a good display ad:

1. Focus on Your Customers

The first step when you design ads is to consider your customers. If you want to get clicks, leads or sales, you need to get your target audience’s attention. And you can easily do that by using elements, facts, product features or benefits in a way that captures their interest.

Take a few minutes and think about your customers.

What are they interested in? What attracts their attention? What are they passionate about? What problems do they face? How can you help them solve those problems?

Brainstorm a few approaches to see which ones work best for your customers. Don’t hesitate to innovate by combining Google Ads with Facebook Ads for narrowing your target.  If you have special offers or free trials, mention those in your display ad copy. “Free”, “Special offer”, “limited”, “discount” they are all powerful words that attract attention.

2. Use Branding

Adding elements that are specific to your business can help you build trust and awareness with your audience. Use your logo so your customers can have an easy time identifying and recognizing your business.

Also, make use of your website’s color scheme.

The more similar your banner is to your landing page, the smoother the user’s experience. People don’t always like surprises and if you direct them to a landing page that’s very different from your banner, they might leave straight off.

3. Add a Call-to-Action

Without being told so specifically, your viewers won’t take any action after seeing your ad. Add a call to action to your display ads telling your users exactly what you want them to do. You can ask them to “Read more”, “Shop now” or “Learn more”.

For best results, integrate the call to action with the rest of the messaging on your banner.

4. Good Design Matters

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to add too many details to your banners. It will only make your banner look crowded. Keep the design simple and don’t use too many colors. Bad design doesn’t inspire trust and that could hurt your campaign performance.

Another rule to follow here is to

make sure you use a typeface and a font size that’s easy to read.

Go for Verdana, Tahoma, Arial or Roboto and a size of at least 9 pixels.

5. Test, Test, Test

You never know what works until you try it. While display advertising does offer you some control over who sees your ads, it’s not an exact science. Each business has its own secret recipe for success and you can’t know it until you test to find out.

Test different display ad sizes to find the one that performs best for your business.

Don’t stop at ad sizes though – test other elements as well: headlines, background images, different calls to action.

Whether you want to attract new customers or bring the lost ones back with retargeting, display ads are a very efficient way to advertise. Moreover, you can use our banner ad maker to create display ads that comply with all the Google Display Network requirements.

Now back to you – is there anything else that you’d like to know about Google display ads?


Executive Account Manager


    1. Thanks for such a valuable information. As these days, banners are lot in use for advertising purpose.
      Nice post!!!

    2. Thank you, Mark! We’re glad we could bring more insights about banner ads!

    3. Nice Information. Banner ads too much in tradition these day!
      The information you shared is very knowledgeable. I know you guys are giving online banner making services. But on Fiverr and Getwebsitebanner.com, these services can be taken too!

    4. Great & elaborated topic indeed…. You cleared my confusion which I had regarding animated or interactive ads duration (15 seconds that I came to know from you) … Thank You & keep posting such helpful knowledge.. Happy PPC

    5. Thank you Laura! Really it gave me more clarity on banner Ads !!

    6. Great guide on display ads. I am a big fan of them as they help with re-marketing and also allow you to target your audience easily.

    7. Can anyone tell me how to make gif for this type of advertisement

    8. Another thing you can do with Google Display is the ability to select websites to advertise on. I’ve found this to be extremely powerful because you can target websites based on niche or even down to the exact page in a website you want to advertise on.

    9. Thanks Laura, your article gave me a good basis on how to run a successful Display Network campaign. Do you intend to write about the analytical side where you would take a closer look at determining which ad is more successful? Best Regards

    10. Wow Great Information! Thank you so much Sarah.
      All display advertising information in one place. I learned very much from this post. Thanks a Lot.

    11. Finally – a post with all the info you need on sizes in one place – awesome thanks

    12. Great Post. Love the way you explain everything in detail without leaving a chance for confusion. Learned a lot about online advertisement here!

    13. Thanks for the amazing information. Was a great reading. and I appreciate the tips!!

    14. Hello, zainexx technologies, thanks for writing! Unfortunately, we don’t have this function.

    15. Such a great post, these tips have proved to be very helpful to me. Thanks a lot.

    16. This is a super helpful blog. You have provided deep knowledge, which I was looking for.

    17. I am starting to prepare AdWords Display for my company. I am pretty lucky to find this well explained blog about google display ad. Now, I can start the work! Thanks

    18. Great. Google Ads are the go-to place for showing your product or services and converting into sale or lead. Display ads are I catching & have the advantage of taking more website space than text ads.

    19. Thanks for Sharing a best post Google Display Ads…
      Very help to know about Google Display Ads and how to create.

    20. Your guide for the Google Display ad is really helpful for the newbies. You have mentioned every point that should be kept in mind while creating a campaign. An effective ad can be created, that can result in better ROI.

    21. Thanks for sharing this helpful blog regarding Google Display Ads. This will help to create Google ads or campaign.

    22. Google Display Network is great for remarketing and can work out cost effective if done right.

    23. Agree with Alan that GDN is ideal platform for remarketing. Cost effective if done right

    24. Thanks for providing this information

    25. Very amazing blog, for sharing content and such nice information for me. I hope you will share some more content about. Please keep sharing!

    26. Very nice blog for me. amazing content and nice information

    27. Thanks for this Information.its amazing blog and thanks to guide us.

    28. Very insightful read. Definitely subscribing for more. Good job

    29. Thanks for This information and good blog & good job

    30. Very nice blog for me. amazing content and nice information

    31. Hi, Thanks a lot for your wonderful article.
      I will translate your article into Persian soon and publish it on my blog. (https://www.novin.com/google-ads)

    32. Thanks for the amazing information. Was a great reading and I appreciate the tips!!

    33. thanks for beautiful post . it was very useful :)

    34. Thank You so much for the insightful information you provided here.

    35. It was very useful, thank you

    36. Hello and Thank you for your good article, unfortunately in our country Google advertising sanctions

    37. Google Display Network is great for remarketing and can work out cost effective if done right.

    38. So much goodness here! I think I’ll have to read through this a few times so I don’t miss anything… Thanks for sharing!

    39. Thank you for your useful article

    40. Thank you for your good article

    41. Thank You so much for the insightful information you provided here.

    42. Thanks for the chart. Bookmarked this for easy reference of the ads sizing chart.

    43. thanks for useful information. enjoyed it

    44. thanks for beautiful post. it was very useful :)

    45. Thank you for your useful article

    46. The article was very good. it gave me more clarity on banner Ads !!

    47. Thanks for the sizing chart.

    48. The article was very good. it gave me more clarity on banner Ads !!

    49. Thank you for your useful article…

    50. The article was very good.

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