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What Are Display Ads and How Can You Use Them Effectively for Brand Awareness

9 minutes read

Display ads are everywhere. You may be so accustomed to them that you don’t even see them anymore. 

This phenomenon is called banner blindness. According to a study conducted by Infolinks, 86% of consumers experience it.

As people unconsciously avoid ads, you need to step up your game when creating display ads to raise brand awareness.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the benefits of using display ads, the technical requirements, and the best practices to make an effective ad.

But first things first, what is the display ads’ definition?

A. What Are Display Ads?

Display ads are online advertisements that promote a product or a service using images, videos, and a URL. Their purpose is to send users to a website or landing page to learn more about the product or service advertised and then buy it. Display ads appear on websites that are part of the Google Display Network.

B. What Are the Benefits of Using Display Ads?

Knowing what display ads are is not enough. It’s important to understand their value and how you can use them effectively in your marketing campaigns. 

Let’s see which are the benefits of using display marketing:

1. Unlocking creativity 

Depending on your audience, display ads can be as creative as you want them to be. With advertising technology advancing each day, the ad design platforms and apps bring endless possibilities to ad creation, from videos to smooth animations, and countdowns. 

2. Increasing your brand awareness

Display advertising plays an important role in increasing brand awareness. It helps you feature your brand through creative ads on the internet to reach potential customers all over the world.

The more people see your brand, the more likely they will remember it when they will need your product or service. Therefore, by showcasing your brand with display ads, you will probably increase the chances of making sales. 

3. Reaching your audience on all devices

Display ads offer you the opportunity to show what your brand offers in a large variety of formats. Not only that, but there are no boundaries regarding devices as you can create them to be mobile responsive too.

Creating display ads using demand-side platforms (DSPs) such as Google Display Network increases the chances of having more potential customers.

4. Targeting your audience

What makes display advertising so valuable is targeting the right consumers with the right message at the right time. 

If you want to resonate with your audience and lead to more conversions, you can target based on demographics, location, language, interests, behavior, and much more. 

In this way, when people interested in your product or service will see your ads, they will most likely want to buy it. It is a cost-efficient way to use display ads.

5. Increasing your ROI

Using retargeting increases your sales chances because you address people who have already shown a previous interest in your product or service. 

If you want to get more conversions, retargeting users is definitely not a thing to ignore because it can bring customers back to your site to make a purchase.

C. Display Ad Types

Choosing a certain type of display ad depends mainly on the goal you want to achieve through advertising, your budget, and the format that will complement your product or service the most. 

Here are the types of ads you can create for your display ad campaigns.

1. Static ads

Static ads are regular ads that have no other media or moving elements. A typical static ad is a banner with elements such as text, visuals, and CTA. The benefit of static ads is that they are easy to create, and they need no maintenance after they’re published.

You don’t need to be a graphic design expert to create static ads since you can get it done in minutes with the help from ad design platforms such as Creatopy.

If they are made well, they can serve any business goal you may have. They will load very fast on desktop or mobile websites and are accepted by most ad networks.

2. Animated ads

Animated ads are creatives that have elements moving in a loop.

The challenge with this ad is creating a seamless flow so that the end of the clip transitions back to the beginning without the viewer noticing. These ads can be HTML5 banners, GIFs, or short videos. 

Animated ads are an effective way to promote your brand because you can create a short story around your product or service, which helps with user engagement.

3. Video ads

Video ads can be a great help for your marketing goals. The more interactive they are, the more they keep the users actively engaged and increase the chances of purchasing. Video ads can be cost-effective, especially YouTube video ads, and they can roll before, during, or after streaming content. 

The benefit of using video ads is that they convey lots of information in a short time frame. You can use different camera angles, put background music or even insert dialogue to keep your viewers engaged, so they’ll remember what they see.

4. Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are interactive ads that cover the interface of their host site or app. They are placed between content, most likely at natural app transition points such as in-between game levels. 

When using interstitial ads within mobile apps, you must think about how they can complement the natural flow of user engagement. They must ensure minimal disruption to user experience and be appealing so users will click on them.

5. Rich media ads

Rich media ads are digital ads that have advanced features like video, audio, and other elements. These ads are dynamic in style, and their purpose is to increase user engagement and conversion rates.

The benefit of using rich media ads is that they come with specific measures (such as interaction rate, interaction time, display time, average view time, views and completions, pauses, etc.), which help you measure their effectiveness and performance. 

D. Technical Requirements for Display Ads 

You can be as creative as you want with your ads, but keep in mind that there are a few rules you have to follow in order for your ads to be legitimate on most ad networks.

Depending on where you’ll launch your ads, you can follow the standard display ad sizes and requirements and those for Google. We’ll walk through both.

1. Standard display ad requirements

According to IAB, the organization that supports online advertising by developing technical standards and best practices for the industry, the standard display ads sizes are: 

  • 970 x 250 (Billboard). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 500
  • 300 x 50 or 320 x 50 (Smartphone Banner). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 100
  • 728 x 90 (Leaderboard). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 300
  • 970 x 90 (Super Leaderboard/ Pushdown). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 400
  • 300 x 1050 (Portrait). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 500
  • 160 x 600 (Skyscraper). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 300
  • 300 x 250 (Medium Rectangle). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 300
  • 120 x 60 – 20×60. max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 100
  • 640 x 1136 or 750 x 1334 or 1080 x 1920 (Mobile Phone Interstitial). Max. K-Weight (kG) for sub load 600
  • 120 x 20 (Feature Phone Small Banner). max. K-Weight (kG) N/A
  • 168 x 28 (Feature Phone Medium Banner). Max. K-Weight (kG) N/A
  • 216 x 36 (Feature Phone Large Banner). Max. K-Weight (kG) N/A

2. Google Display Network 

Since the Google Display Network gets across 35 million websites and apps, and on Google-owned properties (YouTube and Gmail), most brands should focus their display ad campaigns on this ad network.

2.1. Google display ad sizes

According to Google, all the banner ads must be no larger than 150 KB in file size regardless of their dimensions. 

Here are Google’s display ad sizes both for desktop and mobile:

  • 250 x 250 – Square
  • 200 x 200 – Small square
  • 468 x 60 – Banner
  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
  • 300 x 250 – Inline rectangle
  • 336 x 280 – Large rectangle
  • 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 – Wide skyscraper
  • 300 x 600 – Half-page ad
  • 970 x 90 – Large leaderboard
  • 300 x 50 – Mobile banner
  • 320 x 50 – Mobile banner
  • 320 x 100 – Large mobile banner

2.2. Display ads specs

Regarding the file types accepted for publishing display ads, there are three types accepted by Google: GIF, JPG, and PNG, with the file size no larger than 150 KB as mentioned above.

If you create animated ads (GIFs), you must keep in mind the following:

  • Make it no longer than 30 seconds.
  • If desired, you can set it to loop but must stop after 30 seconds.
  • It must be shorter than 5 FPS (Frames Per Second).

For AMPHTML and HTML, the supported ad dimensions for Google are the same. Their format must be a ZIP containing HTML and optionally CSS, JS, GIF, PNG, JPG, JPEG, SVG.

Square and rectangle 

  • 200 x 200 Small square
  • 240 x 400 Vertical rectangle
  • 250 x 250 Square
  • 250 x 360 Triple widescreen
  • 300 x 250 Inline rectangle
  • 336 x 280 Large rectangle
  • 580 x 400 Netboard


  • 120 x 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 Wide skyscraper
  • 300 x 600 Half-page ad
  • 300 x 1050 Portrait


  • 468 x 60 Banner
  • 728 x 90 Leaderboard
  • 930 x 180 Top banner
  • 970 x 90 Large leaderboard
  • 970 x 250 Billboard
  • 980 x 120 Panorama


  • 300 x 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 x 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 x 100 Large mobile banner

2.3. Responsive ads specs

The responsive ad sizes for desktop and mobile for Google are listed below. You must keep in mind that these sizes represent the size of the ad, not that of the image asset you upload.

  • 300 X 250
  • 250 X 250
  • 336 X 280
  • 200 X 200
  • 300 X 600
  • 160 X 600
  • 970 X 90
  • 728 X 90
  • 468 X 60
  • 330 X 200 (mobile)
  • 300 X 50 (mobile)
  • 300 X 100 (mobile)
  • 250 X 250 (mobile)
  • 200 X 200 (mobile).

2.4. Display ads requirements

If you want to publish your ads through the Google Display Network, you are required to submit more information such as:

  • Final URL (where the ad will take the user after clicking on it);
  • Images and logos (you must have the brand logo and the image you want to show in your display ad);
  • Headlines (you must write the main headline of your ad);
  • Descriptions (add any additional copy for your ad).

E. How to Create a Successful Display Ad

Creating a successful display ad may seem intimidating at first, but once you follow a few simple guidelines, you’ll see that it’s not that complicated. Here’s what to keep in mind when creating a display ad:

1. Keep it simple and effective

Be sure the images or videos you choose are high-quality and that users can immediately recognize what the ad is about so that they don’t spend much time looking at it. Your texts should be on point, and of course, they must be grammatically correct (unless intended).

2. Include your value proposition 

The ad copy you use to represent your images or videos should bring value to your ad. They must build trust in your brand and also make the customers want to click on your ad.

3. Stay on brand

Your brand’s color palette should match the ad and the landing page connected to it to have balance and make your brand memorable and consistent. In Creatopy, you can create brand kits to have all your brand assets together when you need them.

4. Use a strong CTA

Your ad will be useless without a strong CTA. The CTA is what urges consumers to take action, whether it is to see, watch, buy, etc. To stay true to your message, you must be sure that you will offer them what you promised after the viewers click on your ad.

F. Display Ad Examples

Let’s see some display ads examples and say a few words about their effectiveness.

1. Audible display ad

This ad captures the readers’ attention with the discount coupon offered. Moreover, they use an illustration of a popular book that most readers will want to listen to. 

2. Ridge display ad

This ad bets that it’s better than the competition’s offers with a clear visualization. The viewer will want to ditch their bulky wallet in favor of a slimmer modern version.

3. SEMrush display ad

The value proposition stands out when they offer a month free trial. With the value of $99.95 for this free month, users will definitely want to see what they offer. The CTA is visible and clear, and also the color combination catches your attention. 

3. LinkedIn display ad

This ad wants to target the attention of the B2B marketers by creating a FOMO effect because all marketers want to be up to date with everything that happens in the industry. It has a nice contrast which makes the CTA visible.

4. Asana display ad

This Asana display ad uses illustrations, and the ad copy “Make work feel less like work,” which sparks your curiosity and makes you want to click on the CTA.

Wrapping Up

Display ads can increase your brand awareness and ROI, help you reach your audience no matter the devices, and bring all the benefits of targeted ads. 

All you have to do is figure out which type of ad works best for your product or service and make sure you follow all the requirements.

Taking these tips into account increases your chances of bringing in more customers.

If you would like to design and go live with your display ads on both mobile and desktop, you can start a free trial in Creatopy and see how easy it is to create an ad campaign from start to finish.

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