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[Google] Attract and Engage Customers with Digital Marketing: How to create a responsive display ad

This reading will explain what responsive display ads are and how to create them.

Create a responsive display ad

Responsive display ads are the default ad type that appear across the Google Display Network, which is a group of more than two million websites, videos, and apps.

Responsive display ads are considered “responsive” because they automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces. Responsive display ads can show any sized text or image. They can even be shown as “native” ads, meaning they can blend into the font and feel of the publisher’s site.

Getting started

Before you upload your assets, you’ll need to complete, gather, or establish the following items related to your brand:

  • Business name: This is the official name of your business or brand. Ensure your company name is spelled and capitalized correctly, as your ad will contain exactly what you provide.
  • Display URL: This is the page the ad will direct customers to once selected. Google’s policy is that your landing page and final URL must share the same domain as your display URL.
  • Display campaign: Before running a responsive display ad, you need to create a display campaign in Google Ads. You learned previously that your campaign is the base of your ads. Here, you will set your budget, bid strategy, ad groups, target audience, etc.

To get started:

  1. Log into your Google Ads account.
  2. Select the display campaign you want to create ads for.
  3. Select Ads & extensions.
  4. Select Ads.
  5. Select Responsive display ad.

Upload assets

Responsive display ads are an asset-based ad type, which means that you can create them by uploading various assets. When setting up a new responsive display ad in Google Ads, you can upload the following assets when prompted:

Images: These will appear as the primary element of your ad. Your images should:

  • Be high quality and have a strong visual focus
  • Make the product or service the focus of the image
  • Support the main point of the ad
  • Have a background that suits the product
  • Not overlay a logo, text, or buttons
  • Not be blurry, skewed, or use excessive filters

You can upload between 5 to 15 images from your computer, or use a free library of stock images provided by Google. You can also scan your website for relevant images to choose from using a Google Ads feature.

Logos: Your brand’s official logo will also appear in the ad. It should be a 1:1 ratio image, or square. The recommended size is 1200 x 1200 px.

Short Headlines: You’ll be asked to write at least five short headlines. These are the first lines of your ads and will appear in tight ad spaces where long headlines don’t fit. Short headlines may appear with or without your description and are 30 characters or fewer.

Long Headlines: You’ll be prompted to write one long headline. These will appear in larger or longer ads and are 90 characters or fewer. Both short and long headlines should:

  • Be written in sentence case (i.e., only capitalize the first letter of the first word, except for proper nouns)
  • Incorporate unique and compelling copy that demonstrates your brand or product’s value
  • Stand alone without the support of a description
  • Describe any promotions or special offers
  • Tell customers what to do

Descriptions: You’ll need to write up to five distinct descriptions about your product or service that encourages your audience to act. Each description has a 90 character limit. Your descriptions should:

  • Be written in sentence case
  • Complement your headlines
  • Explain your product or service’s value clearly
  • Include unique selling points, prices, and promotions
  • Explain in more detail why customers should trust your brand
  • List ratings and reviews

Videos: Videos are an optional asset. If you choose to include videos, they must be a length of 30 seconds or fewer, and the video must be uploaded to YouTube before creating your ad.

Once you enter your assets and publish your ad, Google Ads will automatically generate the best ad combinations for available spaces based on what you upload, so upload as many assets as you can, if applicable. The more assets you have, the more opportunities Google Ads have to fit your ads in different spaces.

Be sure that you keep accessibility in mind when creating your ads. Viewers with low vision may not be able to read your ads without the assistance of a screen reader, which is an assistive technology that reads aloud the description of text and images. For this reason, keep your headlines and descriptions straightforward and descriptive.

Review performance

Over time, Google uses machine learning to determine which combination of assets work best for your marketing needs and begins to only show the most effective versions of the ad.

Approximately two weeks after launching your ad, Google Ads will collect enough data for you to view the best-performing versions.

If certain responsive display ads are not performing well, you can identify if there is a correlation between the ads and the assets used in those ads. Change out the assets that are receiving little to no traffic for ones you think would achieve more success.

Key takeaways

Responsive display ads rely on the assets you choose. Put time into selecting the best quality images and the most thoughtful headlines and descriptions.

Resources for more information

Get an detailed overview of creating responsive ads: