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responsive display ads

How To Setup Effective Responsive Display Ads

Responsive display ads are a key part of advertising on the Google Display Network. They are one of two ad types you can use and the other is uploaded image ads that you create outside of Google.


The benefits of using responsive display ads over other formats is that they appear in more settings because they are able to appear in placements that others can’t. They are responsive, so they update to the device being used and the website or app or other placement that it is being viewed on.


With uploaded ads on the other hand you can upload them as GIF, JPG and PNG formats. And also in HTML5 or AMPHTML Ads as ZIP and you can work with a graphic designer to create these for you. However, they are limited in where they can appear at times and that depends on the sizes that are accepted by the websites and apps they are eligible to appear on. But one of the main benefits is that they give you greater control over your branding and how you appear.


However, using responsive display ads together with uploaded ads usually produces the best results. So, they are able to adapt to different placements. Google will automatically generate ad combinations from your headlines, descriptions, images, videos and logo for websites, apps, YouTube and Gmail.


Ad strength


One of the first things to look out for as you create your display ads is the ad strength. Before you add any assets like images, logo, headline and so on, this will show as ‘incomplete’. And as you add them this will be updated, ranging from incomplete to excellent.


This ad strength is an estimate of the number of ways that your assets can be combined. And it looks at the number and diversity of your images, headlines and descriptions.


responsive display ads ad strength


A higher ad strength is always more desirable and will help to maximise the performance of your ad. And that’s mainly because it enables the system to test many ad variations and then deliver the most relevant to every user.


To improve your ad strength and to have effective responsive display ads, follow the guidelines below to update each of the assets you add.




Images are required for responsive display ads. And you can add up to 15 images for each ad, which should relate to what you’re promoting. As you upload your images you’ll be able to see what they look like on mobile and desktop.


responsive display ads images


Some important things to consider when uploading your images are the following:


⁃ high-quality images – images help visitors understand what you’re promoting in just a few seconds. So it’s important that they’re of the highest quality. Avoid any images that are blurry, pixelated, unclear, upside-down and so on.

⁃ no overlaid logos – don’t overlay your images with your logo because in some instances that can be repetitive. The focus should be on the image but it’s Ok if the logo is integrated in the photograph.

⁃ Avoid overlaid text – avoid adding any text and words on top of your images. That’s because when assets are combined, your messages may become repetitive if it is too similar to a headline, for example. And it can be unreadable in smaller ad sizes.


There are other guidelines and you’ll see these as you create your responsive display ads.




Adding a video is optional and not required. To add a video, you’ll first need to ensure that it is active on YouTube. So, you’ll enter the URL of the video or do a search and when you find it, click it and add it. And then click the save button.


responsive display ads videos


Adding a video has many benefits including reaching people that are interested in watching a video instead. So, it will help to boost clicks and conversions.




You can add up to 5 headlines with a maximum of 30 characters each. So, each headline should help to boost clicks and conversions. Add some good benefits and features here and a call to action.


responsive display ads headlines


They won’t all show at the same time, but only the most relevant to your visitors and in line with the context of the ad.




You can add up to 5 description lines with up to 90 character limits each. Like your headlines, include text that will get people to click through and help you achieve a click through rate (CTR) above 1% on average.


responsive display ads descriptions


Like headlines, you’ll also get recommendations to improve your descriptions to improve the whole ad strength. These recommendations cover areas such as benefits, trust, awards, ratings and review.


Final URL


Your final URL is the landing page for your display ad. This should not be a general page like your homepage or a page about your business. Instead it should be a page that is highly reflective of what you’ve included in your ad.




Responsive display ads are one of the most effective ad types to use in the Google Display network. Creating great ads will help you achieve a good return on investment as you continue to improve them. So, following the guidelines above and the ones available in your campaign as you setup your ads will help you achieve your goals.


Get in Touch


Still need help setting up effective responsive display ads? I’m a Google Ads consultant with many years of ad copywriting experience. Please contact me below to discuss your requirements and to find out how I can help you setup effective ads.


    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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