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Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads: How To Setup Effective Ads

Google Display Ads allow you to create visually appealing ads that target your audiences on the Google Display Network (GDN), on YouTube and on mobile or in-app.


There are three types of display ads you can set up in Google Ads: Smart Display, Standard Display and Gmail ads. Your choice between these three will depend on your experience and your goals.

Display Campaign Types

With a Smart display campaign, you benefit from Google’s machine learning capabilities that are powered by artificial intelligence. The ads system makes bidding decisions and other automated actions that simplify your ad targeting and campaign management.


In your Google Ads account you will see that this is the default and recommended campaign type for all of the goals types that relate to Display campaigns.


The Standard Display campaign is the best option if you want to pick your own targeting options and settings. So, you have more control over the bidding and targeting settings, however there are some automation options that are available at the bid strategy level too.


And finally there is the Gmail campaign that allows you to target your audiences in their Gmail accounts. These ads appear in the Promotions tab in Gmail and when users click them, they expand to reveal more info and they can click through to your website.


Google Display Ads Targeting

Google Display Ads have a number of targeting options that exceed other types of campaigns in Google Ads. You can target people based on custom audiences, demographics, topics, affinity audiences, in-market audiences, on specific placements and with keywords.


  1. Audiences – these are groups of people with similar interests, intents and demographics that you can show your ads to. You can create audiences in your Google Analytics account or in Google Ads and retarget them with your image and text ads.
  2. Demographics – target people based on their age, gender, income and parental status. This is ideal for B2C industries and can be used by a wide range of businesses in Travel, Retail, ecommerce, Insurance and many more.
  3. Topics – this is a simple way to place your ads on many web pages and apps that are about a specific subject. These topics are based on broad industry categories like music or agriculture.
  4. Affinity Audiences – these audiences allow you to target people based on a holistic picture of their lifestyles, passions and habits. They will have demonstrated a passion for a given topic such as beauty, entertainment or politics.
  5. In-market audiences – these audiences allow you to target people that are in the later stages of the buying funnel. They will be actively researching and comparing products or services across the Google Display Network and partner sites and YouTube. Examples of in-market audiences include dating services, cars & vehicles, personal care and consumer electronics.
  6. Placements – these are websites and apps that you can place your image ads and Responsive Display ads on. Millions of businesses around the world have partnered with Google and you can advertise on them by choosing the specific ones that are relevant to you. With other Display Ads targeting options, your ads will appear automatically if the targeting you have set matches the context of the placements.
  7. Keywords – with keyword targeting you choose specific words and phrases that relate to your products and services and this helps to show your ads on relevant websites, apps and videos that are part of the Google Display network.


Responsive Display Ads

Responsive Display ads are one of two ad types you can run in your campaign. The other type are uploaded image ads which you can read about in the section below.


With Responsive Ads you will provide up to 5 headlines, 5 descriptions, one long headline, business name, some images, your logo, videos if you have any, and a Final URL.


Responsive Display Ads


In the Preview section you are able to see how your responsive display ads will look across websites and apps and on Google properties. You can check this for the various formats like image ads, text ads, native ads and video ads.


Responsive Display Ads Preview


You can also see the strength of your ad as you create it in the Ad strength section. The strength levels are Poor, Average, Good and Excellent. You should always aim to get your ads to excellent or good strength.


Responsive Display Ads Ad Strength


Uploaded Image Ads

You can upload files from your PC to advertise your product or service. You can upload image ads as GIF, JPG and PNG. And you can upload HTML5 or AMPHTML Ads as ZIP too.


Upload Image Ads


These are the current formats and sizes that are required in Google Ads:

File types

Formats GIF, JPG, PNG
Max. size 150 KB each
Ad sizes

Square and rectangle

250 × 250 Square
250 × 360 Triple widescreen
300 × 250 Inline rectangle
336 × 280 Large rectangle

120 × 600 Skyscraper
160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
300 × 600 Half-page ad

468 × 60 Banner
728 × 90 Leaderboard


For best performance, you should run both Responsive Display ads and uploaded image ads. The Responsive Display ads will appear in placements and positions that many uploaded formats cannot appear in.


I’m a PPC consultant and Google Ads specialist with many years experience setting up and managing Google Display ads. Get in touch to discuss how I can help you increase sales and increase brand awareness whether it’s for  Retail, eCommerce, Automotive or any other industry.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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