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Google Banner Ads: A Guide to Better Performance

Top Google Banner Ad Sizes in 2017:

  • 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
  • 200 x 200 – Small Square
  • 250 x 250 – Square
  • 300 x 250 – Medium Rectangle
  • 300 x 600 – Half-Page
  • 468 x 60 – Banner
  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
  • 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard

Bonus: 320 x 50 – Mobile Leaderboard

Best Performers: 300 x 250, 728 x 90, 300 x 600

Top Banner Ad Sizes for Google AdWords in 2017 and Other Banner Ad Optimization Tips

Digital banner ads are everywhere. Is your business out there as well?

That’s great, because your customers (and your competition) are out there as well.

But have you ever wondered how well your online display ads are performing?

More importantly, have you ever wondered how much better your display ads could perform?

You’re not alone. A lot of advertisers feel stuck when it comes to banner ads. Effective banner advertising is not easy.

The key to long term ROI is testing, and constantly making improvements based on results.

And there’s a lot about a banner ad you can test…

In this series, we’ll cover some of the most important elements to test.

SIZE MATTERS Banner ad sizes and shapes, plus file size and text size, and how they affect performance…

A WORLD OF COLOR Color schemes, accent colors, and your intended audience’s relationship to those colors…

ONE BANNER, ONE MESSAGE You’ve only got a split second. Don’t split your focus…

Banner Ad Sizes and the Best Sizes to Use

What to Test

Which banner ad pixel sizes perform best.

How to Measure Campaign Performance

Under “Ads” you’ll be able to see the Click Through Rate (CTR) of each banner. If you label your ads with the pixel size in the name, you’ll easily see which sizes outperform others.

It is also always wise to track conversions and view-through conversions.

So if your banner design has been through the ropes, maybe changing the pixel size (with the same design) can get your audience’s attention and help improve that CTR.

Banner ad size determines things that design doesn’t, like placement on the publisher’s page, or which publisher will even publish your ad at all. Not all publishers have the 728 x 90 pixel “leaderboard” style banner, and not all have the 300 x 250 profile box. Some publishers have common sizes at the bottom and unusual sizes at the top — or vice-versa.

And testing the size requires less thought than redesigning the imagery, colors, or message. A wide variety of sizes of the same ad design gives your message the best chance of catching web users’ eyes. Best of all: you’ll have your data on the performance of each readily available.

The Most Popular AdWords Banner Ad Sizes

According to AdWords, the most popular and commonly published banner ad sizes are:

120 x 600 – Skyscraper
This is a great size for downward descending visuals or text. Its narrow width allows it to fit where wider ads won’t go. Its height brings enough visibility for solid advertising impact.

160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
Like the narrower Skyscraper, the Wide Skyscraper serves a similar purpose. As you’d expect, it’s bigger! The width allows even more messaging impact.

200 x 200 – Small Square
A tight square ad with a versatile size for placement anywhere. Surprisingly, this size ad is not found on many publisher’s sites.

250 x 250 – Square
Bigger and presumably better, this ad carries the same symmetrical versatility. But again, it is not published often enough for this size to be the optimal size for most businesses.

Medium Rectangle Banner Ad - 300 x 250 pixels
300 x 250 – Medium Rectangle
Also known as the “Inline Rectangle,” this size is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. It’s one of the most commonly-published sizes. That means your ad could potentially see a much wider audience.

Half-Page Banner Size - 300 x 600 pixels
300 x 600 – Half-Page
This format is large and obvious, designed specifically to pull in lots of attention. It gets nearly half a page’s worth of attention.

468 x 60 – Banner
A good wide format, like the Leaderboard, but smaller so it can fit in more places. Despite versatility, not as popular as the Leaderboard itself.

Leaderboard Banner Ad - 728 x 90 pixels
728 x 90 – Leaderboard
A well-recognized wide format. Often found at the top of a web page, especially in forums, above the main content. Highly visible.

970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard
A good size for extra-interactive ads. For example, can be made to expand to 970 x 415 when users engage.

Bonus: 320 x 50 – Mobile Leaderboard
This size is available only on handheld smartphones. Google won’t actually serve these ads on a desktop, laptop or tablet.

Some Other Accepted Sizes:

300 x 1050 – Portrait
A very large format, this size is excellent at attracting eyes and is great for branding. Fits well with a large variety of websites. Current supply of ad slots is still somewhat limited, though.

Large Rectangle Banner Ad - 336 x 280 pixels
336 x 280 – Large Rectangle
A good size for ads shown in bodies of content.

The Top Banner Ad Sizes for Desktop and Mobile, According to Google

The effectiveness of ad size will also depend on the user’s device. In a nutshell, here are the most effective sizes by device.

* = Top Performing

Desktop:
  • 300 x 250 *
  • 336 x 280 *
  • 728 x 90 *
  • 300 x 600 *
  • 468 x 60
  • 120 x 600
  • 160 x 600
  • 970 x 90
  • 250 x 250
  • 200 x 200
Mobile:
  • 300 x 250 *
  • Mobile Banner Ad Size - 320 x 100 pixels
    320 x 100 *
  • 320 x 50
  • 250 x 250
  • 200 x 200

The standouts here are are the 336 x 280 (desktop) and 320 x 100 (mobile banner ads).

These are the most effective performers, but are not the most popular with advertisers. These sizes can bring you a competitive edge.

But also pay attention, of course, to those that are both popular and effective. Google will automatically resize the five most popular sizes to fit 95% of all placements on their display network. This helps you increase visibility as much as possible while staying focused on effectiveness.

Google Banner Ad Examples

Speaking of Size: File Size Matters, Too

150 KB is the general limit among most ad serving tools like AdWords. Anything larger than that gets harder to serve, so most of the time they just won’t serve them at all.

You’ll also need to make sure your file format is correct. Most accepted file types are:

  • .jpg
  • .png
  • .gif
  • .swf
  • .html (HTML5)

There should be no need for any advertiser to stray from these file types, and in fact .swf is on its way out, too. (Read below for the warning on Flash banner ads!)

Text Size

The proportions of the text within the ad can also play a part — for one thing, the design is at stake. Do you push visuals over text? Or do you let the image serve as the backdrop for the written word? The goal is the best, most harmonious balance of the two.

This is worth testing as well. But once you’ve got a good balance, it’s best to stick with your chosen design and focus on testing sizes.

HTML5 Now

Warning: Forget About Flash Banners!

The most popular types these days are static JPG images, animated GIF images, and HTML5 banners. Flash banners used to comprise a large percentage of online banner ads. But over time, major publishers grew wearier and wearier of Flash ads.

Flash has many problems, including both load time (tends to be very, very slow) and security. Additionally, they were flat-out faulty. Last year, 98% of all Flash banners defaulted to static images anyway.

The Long Goodbye to Flash
So, for a large number of reasons, ad servers no longer serve Flash ads. Even Google announced in fall 2015 that its wildly popular Chrome browser would also default all Flash banners to static images, effectively rendering the technology obsolete.

More on the decline of Flash Banners:
The End of Flash As We Know It | The Long Goodbye to Flash

As of June 30, Google AdWords stopped accepting new Flash files for their display network. As of Jan. 2, 2017, AdWords stopped serving Flash ads at all. (Read more from Google here: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6249073)

 

 

Ad Design Packages for Businesses

Banner size testing is important for the overall health of your online advertising efforts. We strongly encourage every business to do it, but we also understand that most business owners don’t have time for this extra chore.

If you need new banner sizes created for you, we’re happy to help. We can take your old assets and convert them to whichever size or format you need. We can also design high-quality custom digital banners to meet your business’s unique needs.

Banner ads have been our specialty since 2004. We’ve delivered over 100,000 banners so far, and we know how to design for clicks.

Call us now at (818) 865-1267!

Or, you can contact us here.

Ask us about banner ad packages!

Special for Ad Agencies: Free First Banner!

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Author: Bil Gaines
Bil Gaines is head of the Custom Creatives online marketing team, specializing in SEO, PPC, content marketing and more. He also writes screenplays and designs trucker hats.

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