Google Adwords’ Five Highest Performing Display Banner Sizes

The majority of Google’s display banner ad sizes are not worth the money. But do you know which do work, and why?

Do you ever come home from Target having bought the three items on your list—and a cartful of other stuff as well? Welcome to humanity. There’s the stuff you intend to buy, but there’s also a whole world of products you didn’t even know about that once you see them you can’t live without. Retail display is a science, and those big chain stores have it down.

It’s kind of like that with Google AdWords. While you might like the crisp analytics of Google Search, and seeing your company’s name in lights (i.e., the Google “Top Three” search results), ignore the Google Display Network (GDN) at your own peril. Your clients are not just those dear souls typing your business’s name into their browser. There are tons of prospective customers who might see your banner ad while reading the Huffington Post or their favorite blog, and think, “I need that thing immediately!”

While it’s true that display ads have a lower direct click-through rate, raising brand awareness and remarketing to your website’s past visitors greatly increases the likelihood of a sale or lead (we call them conversions). And you think Target’s big? According to Google, the Google Display Network reaches over 90% of global internet users expanding across 2 million sites.

Here’s some more good news: While GDN offers a dizzying selection of ad sizes (17 at last count), we’re here to tell you which Google says are the five highest performing display banner sizes. In other words, just like you “had to have” those M&Ms in the Target checkout line, or grabbed that “life-changing” juicer from the aisle end cap, certain display banner ads get the most attention and make the sale.

Simply180 has found that with these top five sizes, our clients often reach the same audience/number of impressions, have enough banner space for eye-catching design and copy, and see a faster turnaround time results-wise. Strictly speaking, we don’t bother placing our products on that dusty bottom shelf.

Size isn’t everything. First of all, you’ll have to select the banner that best spotlights or flatters your content or product. For instance, if the content is vertical, consider staying away from horizontal layouts. (Show that electric broom at work, not lying on the floor!) Also, choose a size or sizes that will accommodate your message properly. People can’t read your fancy artisanal soup logo up on the top shelf; they’ll just pick the Campbell’s at eye level instead.

These days everyone, even customers physically in a mall, car dealership, or model home, is doing their research and purchasing on mobile devices these days. Therefore when designing ads, you should always keep mobile performance in mind. According to Google, 300x250, 336x280, 320x100, and rectangular responsive ad banners get the best mobile results. Most of these sizes also accommodate animated banner ads (gif’s), which allow you to get creative and tell your brand story with just a few simple graphics.

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Here’s a rundown of Google’s five top performing display banner sizes:

  • 300x250: ALSO KNOWN AS A "MEDIUM RECTANGLE."
    This size tends to have more ad inventory available from advertisers, which can increase earnings when both text and image ads are enabled. (So don’t stop that Google Search marketing campaign; using text and display ads together is the sweet spot.) Performs well when embedded within an article or at the end.

  • 336x280: ALSO KNOWN AS A "LARGE RECTANGLE". 
    This size offers the same benefits as the medium rectangle, but (you guessed it) with a little more room to broadcast or enhance your message.

  • 728x90: KNOWN AS THE "LEADERBOARD."
    Keep it simple and you’ll kill it with this attention-getting size. The leaderboard performs well if placed above a site’s main content, and on forum sites.

  • 300x600: THE HALF PAGE AD.
    Think of it as the modern, much improved version of a postcard or brochure. This format provides a larger space for your company to get its message across and engage potential clients. The 300x600 half-page ad is one of the fastest growing sizes by impressions. Publishers are now scrambling to meet the demand for more of these visually powerful ad sizes favored by many brand advertisers.

  • FOR MOBILE: 320x100, OR THE "LARGE MOBILE BANNER."
    This compelling size can be used as an alternative to the 320x50 and the 300x250. It offers advertisers twice the height of the standard "mobile leaderboard.” Simply put, if designed correctly, it’s really hard to ignore.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if you are choosing the best Google display banner sizes, you have to know your audience, design memorable and effective ads, and target your market effectively to see great returns. Building an integrated marketing campaign is imperative to get the best results. This is where Simply180 comes in. As Google Partners, we are always up-to-date on the latest AdWords product knowledge. Choosing quality over quantity in display banner marketing is the way to go. Feel free to call us today and we’ll show you how it works.

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