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 sizeNameWhere it’s featuredSupply
300×250Medium RectangleEmbedded within or at the end of articlesGood inventory
336×280Large RectangleEmbedded within or at the end of articlesGood inventory
728×90LeaderboardPlaced on top or in inserted in an articleGood inventory
300×600Half PageFeatured in the right or left hand sideGrowing inventory
468×60BannerFeatured in small spaces inside or on the left in articlesLimited, declining inventory
234×60Half BannerFeatured in small spaces inside or on the left in articlesLimited, declining inventory
120×600SkyscraperFeatured in websites sidebarsLimited inventory
160×600Wide SkyscraperFeatured in websites sidebarsGood inventory
970×90Wide SkyscraperTop of website pagesLimited inventory
200×200Small SquareUsually featured in the right hand sidebarLimited inventory
250×250SquareUsually featured in the right hand sidebarLimited 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. It was a useful article for me because I work in this field

    2. Thank you for providing such valuable insights. In today’s digital landscape, traditional banner ads have become quite overwhelming. Your shared information is truly enlightening and knowledgeable.

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    You may also like