Display ads sizes and formats guide covers the following:
- Display Ad Sizes: Horizontal, vertical, tile and other premium formats.
- Display Formats: Native, Responsive, Dynamic, and rich media ads.
You must have already encountered thousands of display ads while you are browsing on the net or shopping online. Following the already existing formats, new ones are added on an ad-hoc basis regularly. Here is the first display ad ever displayed on the internet in 1994:
Although this ad generated a good response from the users, it does not even count as clickbait now. As we are exposed to thousands of ads on a daily basis, there is a growing immunity among users. The existence of the ad can easily be overlooked by the user. Hence as a display specialist, it is important to keep yourself updated with trending new formats that work the best in piquing user attention.
Here are some common Ad sizes that you need to know:
Horizontal Display Banner Ad Sizes
Most commonly known as Medium Rectangle or MPU(Mid position unit or Mid page unit). One of the popular formats among advertisers for the mobile platform which works well on desktop and tablets as well. MRec integrates within the content and usually has more inventory as compared to other ad sizes.
The leaderboard ad with the ad size of 728×90 is a part of top performing ads released by Google. Users can find them on the top of the webpage and sometimes at the very bottom. As you might have guessed, the ones placed on the top perform well and generally have higher CPMs. You would commonly find them on desktop usually used to promote sales or sometimes awareness campaigns with a brand logo.
The ad widely known as “Billboard ad” in the advertiser community is a popular format used by premium brands for their branding/awareness campaigns. Due to its large size, it is easier to convey the message to the user with high definition images. The ad is placed on the top of the page in most sites, hence the viewability of the ad is high. However, the inventory availability is low and it is predominantly used by big brands as the ads have high CPMs.
The ad 300×50 is a mobile banner ad which looks like a mobile leaderboard. As it is a tiny ad, the advertisers need to make sure they have a compelling message and a precise call to action to get the best out of the limited space availability. The inventory available is low and it has been decreasing over the years.
The large rectangle ad a.k.a LRec is slightly larger than MPU unit 300×250. This ad is available on most of the publisher sites, hence has high inventory and is a desktop only format. However, when advertisers are unable to submit this creative size, the MPU ad unit is served by the ad network. Large rectangle performs well at each stage of the consumer journey right from the awareness stage until the product sale.
This ad size is called ‘large mobile banner’ and as you have guessed, it is one of the largest mobile formats. Despite the size, the format seamlessly integrates with the mobile content and has been observed to perform better than the mobile banner ad with a higher number of click-throughs.
234×60 is called as a half banner and 468×60 is called a banner. These ad sizes are not so common among the advertisers. The banner format is used in case of exhaustion of leaderboard format inventory/unavailability. However, due to lack of demand for this format, it is not available with all the publishers. Similarly, with a half banner which is used when the mobile leaderboard is unavailable and it may not perform as expected due to low inventory and size limitations.
This is a part of lightbox Ad on Adsense and is a popular rich media ad format for branding campaigns. The premium format is negotiated as a direct buy with high CPM. 100×600 has good performance with high CTR and the advertiser usually spend a considerable amount of time building the best of designs as it commands high media spend.
Vertical Display Banner Ad Sizes
The wide sky scrapper format is a narrow format that can be sneaked in as a sidebar. This format also has a high inventory availability and is usually widely seen on mobile. The CPM of sky scrapper is slighter lower than MPU and the billboard due to its performance. However, among advertisers, this is not classified as a premium format and is usually used for coupons and sale.
120×600 is also called as a skyscraper. This ad size continues to be in-demand among publishers due to its performance as sidebar ads. Due to this, skyscraper also got an upgrade in size to 160×600. If the advertisers do not have 160×600, the ad-network usually serves 120×600 in 160×600 frame.
120×240 ad size is called a vertical banner. Due to its small size, it has poor performance, hence it cannot be used as a primary Ad for any marketing objective. However, a vertical banner can be utilized well by choosing the right placement complementing it by getting the creative design just right with the precise CTA.
300×600 is commonly known as a half page ad and is very popular among the advertisers. Due to its growing demand, the inventory has been increasing year on year. Publishers are also working on their end to make it impactful by including this ad size for expandable formats. Half page Ad has proven to be a performant format to advertisers and has been voted to be the ‘rising star’ format by IAB.
This ad is commonly called as a “Portrait Ad” and is a large vertical sidebar format. The portrait ad is deemed to be premium and with interactive formats and good creative design, it can yield good results. As it takes up quite a lot of space on the webpage, it is sold at a higher CPM. However, this is not available with all the publishers. It is favored by global brands who cherry pick the sites/publishers for their promotional campaigns.
Tile Display Banner Ad Sizes
The small squared banner 250×250 is a mobile format that smoothly fits in the side columns on desktop. It is predominantly displayed on high-end mobile devices. This format is suitable to promote a coupon/promotional campaigns and is extensively used in remarketing campaigns.
As you might have guessed it, this is called a “Small Square”. The tile Ad performs well on the mobile platform as compared to desktop/tablets. However, due to limited space availability, it has sub-optimal performance and is advised to use as a complementary Ad with other popular formats like MPU, leaderboard, etc.
Widely known as “Button Ad” is one of the cheapest ads in the market. Button Ad has poor performance due to size limitations. It is difficult for the advertisers to communicate their message in a small space and is usually used only as a listing. It is recommended to use this ad if you are running a giveaway campaign. For all the other campaigns, using button Ad is not suitable as it may look “spammy” to the users.
The premium top layer Ad is a large desktop format that has maximum share of voice on the publisher webpage with high viewability. It can be used to create an awareness campaign for the brand or an event to get your message out there. Being a high impact format, the CPMs are higher than the standard formats for 1000×1000 tile ad. The advertisers invest a considerable amount of money as a production budget to build a rich media creative for the 1000×1000 ad size.
Other Unpopular Display Ad Sizes
Few publishers accept extended versions of the popular formats with slightly different ad sizes. This could be the result of an external request made by the advertisers or simply because that particular format has worked well with their users. CPMs vary due to the seasonality, competition, CTRs, placement, etc which are often interdependent. Here are some examples of such ad sizes:
Premium Display Ad Sizes
There are a lot of premium formats that are sold out for high CPM by the publishers. These large formats are majorly used to promote an event or a brand due to budget constraints. They are popular sponsorship formats as well. The premium formats are usually in rich media format which is very interactive and has a high engagement rate. Here is a not so exhaustive list of sizes:
1. 1024 X 115
2. 1024 X 768
3. 728 X 500
4. 940 X 230
5. 940 X 250
6. 960 X 230
7. 980 X 250
8. 970 x 2500
Now that we had a look at ad sizes, it is important to have an idea of different formats available in display advertising. Let us have a look:
Native ads are in Vogue right now due to its organic look. They sync in with the publisher’s layout and appears as if it is just another section of the webpage. The advertiser feeds the creative, headline, description and a Call-to-action with URL. Following this, the ad network builds the ad to adapt it to the respective publisher’s layout. All native ads are either square or rectangular ads. An interesting point to note is that the native display ads are not animated. For now, DV 360 allows 3 types of native creatives: Site creatives to promote the website, App install creatives to drive app installs, and native video creatives.
Responsive Ads, Now Responsive Display Ads
Although by simple definition, responsive ads are the ads that adjust the ad sizes based on the available ad spaces, it can do much more than that now. Responsive ads have been replaced by responsive display ads that use the true power of automation using algorithms. This is how it works: The advertiser uploads up to 5 headlines, 15 images, 5 logo variations, 5 descriptions. Google’s machine learning algorithm makes a permutation and combination of different elements to display the final Ad. This helps the advertisers optimize and get the optimal results for their marketing efforts.
Dynamic Display Ads
Dynamic Display ads are widely used for remarketing purposes as these ads get their inputs from the advertiser’s feed. You might have already encountered this ad when you have abandoned a product in the cart. The advertisers chase you everywhere with a remarketing product ad. However, it is not just used for remarketing. Based on the chosen targeting strategy, the banner ad adapts itself according to customer interests and affinity categories. They are part of campaigns with a goal of incremental growth by using similar audiences as the data source. In this era of rapid online advertising spend and user immunity to ads, personalization plays a very important role in campaign success. Make sure to test the dynamic ads and optimize them regularly to get the most of your display ads.
Rich Media Ads
Rich media ads are interactive ads that may include audio, video, or any other elements that let the user engage with the ad. It could expand, have animations or expect input from the user to complete an action, etc. The advertisers hardly use static image formats for display ads. Due to its interactive format, rich media ads have better performance with higher conversion rate, action rate, and also visibility rate. Let us now dwell through different rich media ads that are commonly used in display advertising:
Interstitial ads are large responsive formats that appear on top of the content or take up full screen on the user interface. One of the most expensive formats that are popularly known to be highly intrusive. Major brands do not use this for their awareness campaigns as it can be annoying to the users and they associate negatively with the brand. Interstitials can be used both on mobile and desktop platform. Timing plays a crucial role for interstitial ads. The ads should not be displayed when the user is in the middle of a task. If the rules are followed, they have a high probability of getting clicked especially on mobile gaming apps.
Banner Ads & Banner with Floating
Banner ads are the basic rich media ads with primitive animation functions like slider, pop-ups, movement of text from the right and left the side, etc. The ad tends to perform better than the static ones with just an image and a CTA. Depending on the size, the ad works ideally for all the funnels in the customer journey. As a rule of thumb, use large sized banners for branding/awareness campaigns and medium-sized banners for product influence and sales campaign.
Lightbox is a premium format on Google Ad Network. The ad expands on the user platform and is suitable for both mobile and desktop. The ad could expand to videos, images, maps or any other customized element uploaded by the advertiser. In the non expanded state, the ad invites the user to click on it and after 2 seconds the ad goes to an expanded state. The advertiser can add up to 90 images in the gallery to showcase the products. You can buy this only on a CPM basis. The lightbox can only appear in the following sizes:
Half Page Ad: 300×600
Mobile Leaderboard: 320×50
Large Rectangle: 336×280
Expanding Ad, Multi-direction Expanding Ad, Push Down Ads.
As the name suggests, expanding ads expands on the user’s browser. The normal expanding ad expands in one direction: right, left(center, bottom, and the end) and is a responsive format. Multidirectional expanding ads expand in many directions at once and push down ads are a type of expanding ad that expands to push the content down on the publisher’s webpage. The expanding ads have similar CPMs as banner ads depending on the size. However, the CTR of expanding ad tends to better than the banner ads as it captures the user’s attention.
Parallax ad appears in the background of the content when the user scrolls down the content. Even though this ad is compatible with mobile, desktop, and tablet it works best on the mobile platform and is nonintrusive compared to other rich media formats. Parallax format works well for both branding and sales campaign. For more info on ad specs or to see the ad come alive, click here
Panorama ad can be compared to the panorama feature on your mobile phone. It is a 3 frame gallery format wherein the user can view the complete ad by swiping to the right. Google has a built-in template to create this ad. the advertisers need to upload a logo, background image, accent images, and the text. This is suitable to display a product Ad along with its variants.
Cue cards format is similar to panorama format: 3 frames, compatible with all the 3 platforms. However, instead of moving the frames horizontally, the frames move vertically. As the user scrolls down to read the content, this format has better performance as compared to the panorama format. For details on this format, click here.
App install ads as the name suggests has one objective: to drive app downloads. Google picks up the Google play store images or iOS app store images and the ad is created in a jiffy. The advertisers need to just add a compelling headline and description. Although this format is compatible with the primary platforms, it works the best on mobile to finish the creative motive.
If you would like to know more about Rich Media Gallery formats and tech specs, check it out on Google Rich media gallery.
You have now mastered different display ad sizes and formats available on Google and other Ad networks. This is good, but it isn’t enough. As a display ad specialist, you need to know the strategies of creating compelling creatives. Here is a mini guide on Display content creation strategy