Choosing the best web banner sizes can be an important part of optimising your ads on the Google Display Network. Banner images are not all created equal; some of them aren’t going to give you the best return for your dollar.
To make the most of your marketing budget, you’re going to want to know which banner sizes are the most effective. Which web banner sizes generate the best impressions, follow-through clicks and, ultimately, sales or conversions?
We’ll look at the top 10 Google Ads banner formats, based on impression share, that Australian businesses should be using right now. First, let’s find out the reasons why banner size matters so much.
What Are the Top 10 Google Ads Banner Sizes?
Google, on its AdSense help page, simplifies the whole ad size issue to the width — pretty much like my method of choosing a date when I was younger! They argue that, as a rule of thumb, wider ads will outperform taller ads, as they’re a more user-friendly format.
The following top 10 banner sizes account for 90 percent of all ad impressions on Google. We’ll concentrate mainly on the top three, which offer nearly 80 percent of all impressions on the GDN, but will also briefly look at the others.
1. Medium Rectangle
The medium rectangle is the most widely used banner on the Display Network, with a third of all impressions (33 percent). The relatively compact size makes it a favourable option for more publishers, as it doesn’t take up too much space.
Another advantage of this style of ad is that it can be embedded in the text, eliminating the possibility of banner blindness.
For the availability and in-text embedding, this size ad is a great option for many campaigns, and a good place to start if you’re new to banner ads.
Normally displayed in a prominent place at the top of the page it’s published on, the “leaderboard” is the second most served banner size on the display network.
With a 32 percent share of all display ad banner impressions, it’s only one percent below the medium rectangle.
According to Google, a leaderboard banner should always be put at the top of the page. If you see it placed anywhere else on a potential site, you may want to choose not to have your ad served there.
3. Wide Skyscraper
Skyscraper ads tend to be favoured by many site publishers, and can increase profitability if both text and image ads are enabled on the site. They’re best when used in the sidebar of a web page.
Ad impression share = 13 percent.
A banner ad of this size is perfect for those smaller spaces which can’t fit the larger leaderboard ad. Unfortunately, the supply of available display ads for this size can be limited and may lead to the sub-optimal performance of your ad.
Impression share = 3 percent.
A narrower version of the skyscraper for when space is more limited.
Impression share = 2 percent.
This rectangle is particularly interesting as it has shown the second highest growth rate of 70 percent in the top 10 sizes of ad banners.
Impression share = 2 percent.
7. Micro Bar
Mainly used to advertise financial products. Although it only has a total impression share of 2 percent, it will probably capture a larger share of impressions in the financial industry.
8. Half Page
Although this ad is called “half page,” it doesn’t quite cover a full half page. One of the larger premium ads, it gives you, the advertiser, more space to get your message across. With more space, you have a better chance of catching the reader’s eye.
If placed strategically, these ads can get some good results. According to Google, it’s one of the fastest growing ad sizes by impressions, with a growth rate of 37 percent.
Impression share = 1 percent.
9. Large Rectangle
Although the large rectangle was previously one of the more popular banner ad sizes, in recent years it has dropped to only a one percent share of impressions.
Unlike the medium rectangle, which continues to grow in popularity, the large rectangle currently shows zero growth.
10. Mobile Leaderboard
The mobile leaderboard may come last in the top 10 of Google Ad banner sizes, but with a growth rate of 119 percent, it is outpacing all other sizes. The strong growth of this banner size is obviously driven by the growth of the overall mobile marketing traffic.
Impression share = 1 percent. One to watch!
(Source of rankings: Display Business Trends Publisher Edition)
Why Does Ad Size Matter So Much on Google Ads?
Setting up banner ads on the Google Display Network (GDN) can be a tricky process at the best of times. A steep learning curve is often accompanied by a wasted marketing budget. One way to avoid that is to consider the image size you use.
1. Bigger Isn’t Always Best!
On the GDN, websites which publish your ads and banners, Google ultimately has control over which ads get served. If they’re putting banner images on the top, sides or bottom of their site pages, they don’t want you trying to publish your banners as half-page ads.
Choosing the wrong-sized ad can severely limit how much reach your marketing campaign has. If you’re trying to reach a specific niche, look at the web banner sizes most often seen on the pages you’ll be aiming for.
Studies, like the “Display Business Trends Publisher Edition” from Google, can offer data insights into which ads are performing best.
2. Ad Blockers
The curse of every online marketing campaign, ad blockers, can thwart your efforts. For all they know you might be offering a free case of VB to every visitor, although you’re probably not. If you are, please let me know!
Ad blocker services, like Opera VPN, Adblock Plus, Nord VPN or Brave Browser, tend to focus on the most common web banner sizes. While they don’t always get it right, they can hurt your campaign if you only use more common 300 x 250 or 728 x 90 sizes.
The key point to take away is just one size of Google Ads banner is not going to do everything you need. Some ads are going to get blocked by their size, although larger or smaller variants of the ad may get through, often just by 10 pixels or less.
Mix it up a bit, try running two different-sized ads, maybe next to each other, or on the same pages. Double the exposure, double the hits, but sometimes only one of the ads will make it. Still, better one banner than none.
3. Mobiles and Google Ad Banner Sizes
Just when you thought you had it all sussed, the mobile Display Network throws itself into the mix. What may look good on a desktop won’t necessarily look good on a smaller mobile device, like your iPhone.
Worldwide, the mobile ad expenditure for 2018 was over 135 billion US dollars. Can you afford to ignore that? Because other businesses obviously aren’t and it’s predicted to keep growing.
All this means that you have to keep mobile devices in mind as you design your ads and choose which size to use. The most popular ad sizes for mobiles tend to be very different from the ones we’ve already looked at. The 320 x 50 banner is even referred to by Google as a mobile banner.
If you’re just starting out in the Google Display Network marketing, the top three banner sizes can give you access to 78 percent of all impressions. Australian businesses need to be using the top 10 banner sizes if they want to achieve 90 percent of all impressions on the GDN.
Although there are plenty more Google ad banner sizes available, it can get messy. Remember the whole market of non-standard banner sizes only accounts for 10 percent of impressions on the GDN in total. Even some lower-performing web banner sizes of the top 10 are showing growth and should be considered above non-standard sizes.
Hopefully, we have guided you towards using one of the top 10 Google Ads banner sizes. If you need any more information, Google has plenty of resources, or get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do to help out.