Display Ads: Specifications & Best Practices

By January 24, 2013PPC

We live in digital world, where we are continually developing new ways of presenting and receiving data in visually appealing ways.  Have you ever heard someone say, “I need to see it to understand it”? While those people usually refer to themselves as “visual learners”, statics have confirmed that 75% of what we (everyone, not just the “visual learners”) know we learned visually.  And so, when it comes to digital marketing, display ads are considered powerful tools for engaging with your target audience.

Google AdWords allows for running two different types of graphical ads on the Google Display Network: static and animated.

Static vs. Animated Image Ads

Static image ads are ads that don’t have movement or media incorporated in them.  Static image ads can be created in these formats:

  • .gif
  • .jpg
  • .png

Animated image ads are images that incorporate movement and/or some form of media in them.  Animated ads can be created in these formats:

  • .gif
  • Flash  

Display Ad Sizes

The file size limit of image ads is 50 kb.  Image ads can be the following shapes and pixel sizes:

  • 250 x 250 square
  • 200 x 200 small square
  • 468 x 60 banner
  • 728 x 90 leaderboard (the best performing banner size)
  • 300 x 250 inline rectangle (the best performing banner size)
  • 336 x 280 large rectangle
  • 120 x 600 skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 wide skyscraper  

Programs for Creating Display Ads:  

Undoubtedly, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are most popular programs for creating impressive display ads. But if you are not a Photoshop guru or just don’t want to spend a large amount of money on the Software, you have a couple of FREE and easy options:  

GIMP – works on multiple operating systems, this image manipulation software allows users to retouch, and edit images  

AdWords Display Ad Builder – simply log into AdWords account -> campaigns -> Ads-> + New Ad-> Display Ad Builder  

Display Ads Best Practices:  

Use a compelling call to action – a word or term that is going to compel users to visit your site

Prominently show your display URL – a major component of any text ad

Use brand/logo – you should incorporate your brand/logo in everything you do online to increase your overall brand awareness.

Include details like prices, delivery details, and relevant special offers – the information visitors are really looking for when looking to make purchases

Relevance is key – make sure your display ad links to a relevant landing page, visitors want to be taken to pages that make sense to their clicks

Use appropriate capitalization – it’s a bonus! You can have all upper case letters

Promote sense of urgency in display ads – if have you time-sensitive pricing/offers

Keep it simple – keep your message clear and concise, don’t make ads too busy

Include clear images of product/people using product – as previously mentioned, 75% of what we know is learned visually, people are more easily attracted to images than text

Help users connect with your ad – advertising is about creating a relationship between your customers and your product, help your customers understand why your product is of value to them

Align all of advertising messaging – this will help build a cohesive brand and build brand awareness with customers

Make online image ads consistent with TV/print ads – keeping the same message, as well as colors, font, etc. throughout your display advertising efforts also helps to build a cohesive brand and awareness

Don’t make people work for your message – get the message across quickly and clearly and then let users interact  

Whether your currently using display ads or not, we hope this list of display ad specifications and best practices will help you begin to engage your target audience more successfully.

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Zoe Huden

Author Zoe Huden

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