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  • Writer's pictureKristiana - Founder & PPC Manager

Google Display Ads: 4 Expert Tips to Help You Create Great Display Campaigns

Google Display Ads are a crucial tool that can help your business increase brand awareness and be present whenever consumers are ready to convert. They’re usually image or animated ads you see pop up on different blogs, on YouTube, or when using mobile apps.

Google Display Ads show on the Google Display Network (GDN), a network of over two million websites and apps that reaches around 90% of internet users worldwide. With such a huge reach and multiple audience-targeting options, businesses of all sizes can access potential clients worldwide. Unlike the search network, where users have to search for a specific product or service to see your ads, display ads can reach users while they're reading or watching a certain type of content, based on their purchase intent, or the display ads can target users if they have browsed specific websites or visited certain physical locations. While display ads lack user intent and are usually found to be quite annoying and disruptive, they should certainly play a role in your marketing strategy, no matter how big or small your business is.

Google Display Ads are an excellent way to establish your branding and stay present in the user's mind until they are ready to make a decision. In this post, we will be focusing on creating successful standard display campaigns, excluding Gmail, Smart, and Discovery campaigns. As a specialist pay-per-click agency and an official Google partner, we wanted to share our 4 tips for creating successful Google display campaigns.

Research your competition. Knowing what industry leaders and direct competitors are up to is an essential ingredient to a successful Google Ads campaign. There are multiple tools like SEMrush, ahrefs, and SpyFu to help you spy on your competitors, their creatives, and even their targeting.

In our experience, one of the best ways to get your hands on your competitors' ad creatives is SEMrush. Simply navigate to the Advertising tab and click into Display Advertising, and you will have a library of ads along with the last time they were seen, the websites they were shown on, and the geolocation where the ad was served.

Don't forget to check your competitor's social media too. Facebook has an accessible ad library, publicly displaying a page's live adverts along with the platforms it's being used on and some ad performance information.

If you have enough ad examples and you're good at analysing data, you might notice certain patterns in ad creative, spot different A/B tests, and draw conclusions on what works with your target audience for your competitors.

Use different ad formats and sizes. While responsive display ads take care of automatically filling the ad slot across publisher sites, HTML5 and banner ads need to be designed with certain dimensions and according to Google's Ads Policies.

The 5 most-common sized and most-clicked-on ads on desktop are

  • Medium banner 300px X 250px

  • Large leaderboard 728px X 90px

  • Wide skyscraper 160px X 600px

  • Half page 300px X 600px

  • Large top banner 970px X 90px

The 5 best-performing ad sizes on mobile devices are

  • Mobile leaderboard 320px X 50px

  • Mobile half page 320px X 320px

  • Large leaderboard 321px X 100px

  • Square 250px X 250px

  • Small square 200 x 200px

While it might sound like too much work, there are multiple tools to help you easily create display ad size variations in bulk and allow you to easily tweak multiple ads simultaneously. While the best way to create Google display ads remains Google Web Designer, tools like Creatopy or Wordstream's Smart Ad Creator are excellent alternatives.

At The PPC Agency, we have achieved the best results using responsive display ads across all industries, with display remarketing campaigns with merchant feeds as the best performing type of display ads. Discovery and Gmail ads are another excellent way to reach users and get meaningful results.

Test and track everything. From a call to action and display ad colours, to placement, landing pages, and product pricing. You can start with simple A/B testing with just one variant on your display advert or landing page, testing just one variable at a time. Multivariate testing, on the other hand, combines a series of simultaneous A/B tests, allowing you to test multiple variables at once.

To start a display ad A/B test, also known as split tests, you need a theory you'd like to test. You will need to create two different versions of the same ad, landing page, or any piece of content, with changes to a single variable.

For example, if you think that a green call-to-action button on your display ads would work better, you can run simple A/B tests to find out.

To A/B test this theory, you'd design ads with alternative CTA that lead to the same landing page as the control. The CTA colour should be the only variable between A and B. If you usually use an orange call-to-action button across your website and ads, but the green variation receives more clicks and conversions at the end of your A/B test, your theory was correct.

The two versions should be shown to the same audience or two very similar audiences, similar in size and targeting.

You should run the test until you reach a conclusion on which is the better version. Focus on outcomes and metrics that actually matter to your business; for example, a high engagement rate doesn't necessarily make an ad successful, conversions do.

To get correct results, you need to A/B test with audiences that are equal—or even better—the same audience. Your test results will not be conclusive or you may draw the wrong conclusions if you do not split your audiences properly.

If you want to compare the performance of two or more custom audiences, keep all other aspects of the ad design, bidding strategy, and timing identical. Test your variables at the same time to avoid having your test affected by factors such as seasonality, competitor promos, or huge events that impact our day-to-day lives.

Not enough time or budget to get a good number of visits? No problem—there are many useful online sample size calculators you can use, some of which even provide you with insights on how good your campaign ROAS is. Other PPC tools will do all the leg work for you and automatically test multiple ad variations with your creatives until they find a winner. A great tool to help you easily test landing page elements is Google Optimize. It is natively integrated with Google Analytics and allows you to easily run tests on your website, including A/B, multivariate, and redirect tests, and easily customise your website to different audiences.

Of course, without proper tracking, your A/B test would be a huge waste of budget and time, which could have detrimental consequences to your business performance if done improperly. Make sure your website has working Google tag and conversion tracking and Google Analytics before you launch any ad campaigns.

Avoid wasting your budget on the Google Display Network. We have previously talked about how you can waste your budget on Google Ads, with display ads being one of the trickiest ones to master.

The display network is, unfortunately, the most problematic, littered with bot traffic and affected by ad blockers. Of all ad types, users have found display ads to be the most intrusive and annoying, spoiling their user experience. Poorly designed ads were found to be the most disliked ones, labelled as 'insulting' to their intelligence.

Consumers report that "obnoxious or intrusive ads give me a poor opinion of the websites that allow them" (85% agree) and "a poor opinion of the brands that are being advertised" (84%) according to this article.

To run successful Google Display Ads, follow these three steps:

  • Design better ads that lead to quick, beautiful, and comprehensible landing pages.

  • Use precise targeting and take advantage of remarketing while you still can.

  • Avoid bot traffic and dodgy placements by regularly checking ad placements and using click fraud protection software.

Start your Google display campaigns with a small daily budget, one or two audiences per campaign, and focus on no more than two objectives. We hope you found this post useful! Follow us on Instagram to make sure you never miss on our content and exclusive digital marketing tips.


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