Responsive Display Ads

Some rather welcome news came with the announcement from Google last Fall that they would no longer support Flash ads in 2017.  Google also released a larger Responsive Ad format for the Google Display Network (GDN), designed to reformat ad sizes to fit with different placements.

Google’s New Responsive Display Ads

With the dominance of mobile clear and unrelenting, Google AdWords decided in mid-2016 that it was time to develop and launch a responsive ad format for the Google Display Network. Responsive Display Ads or RDAs were announced last year around the same time as expanded text ads (ETAs).

What Are Responsive Display Ads?

The beauty of RDAs is that they adapt and “respond” to the website or platform where the responsive display ad is being served. The ad has the capability to shift the size and format of the ad to the environment, including how the text and images in the ad will be displayed on a unique site. Essentially what Google has done is combine the distinct ad formats available on the Display Network. Google has taken the separate formats available on the Display Network, text and image, and combined them, making it unnecessary for advertisers to create multiple images to fit every type of ad size.

Compare the difference between Google Display Network text ads and the new Responsive Display Ad format. Image Source:

How to Create Responsive Display Ads

The new RDAs will allow advertisers the flexibility to upload their own creative to the platform, and utilize Google’s technology to help choose the best ad type available based on the creative elements provided by the advertiser, and the environment where the ad will be hosted.

With the new system, advertisers are now able to customize ad elements including headlines, photos, company logos and business names.

If you have everything you need except for images, Google will also provide a selection of stock photos to help complete ad creation.

Another added benefit of the new RDAs, is the added amount of text available for ad messaging.

With this new ad format, you can add the following amounts of text to your ads:

Short Headline: Up to 25 characters
Long Headline: Up to 90 characters
Description: Up to 90 characters
Business Name: Up to 25 characters
Image Ad: Up to 20% can be covered in text

The total number of characters you can add to an RDA comes to a whopping 230 characters, including the 25 character headline. That’s a lot of messaging, and a huge benefit to advertisers. Also, much like Facebook ads, up to 20% of the image on the RDAs can also include text, giving this ad format the most expansive amount of text for messaging across the Google network.

Sample Responsive Display Ads. Image Source:

Tips for Setting Up Your Responsive Display Ads

Responsive Display Ads have other benefits, too. The ads are also very simple to create. All you need to do is access any of your campaigns on the Google Display Network (GDN), click on the “+Ad” button, choose “Responsive Ad” from the menu, and start adding your creative elements.  Once you are finished adding your creative, just click “Save” and you have created an RDA for your display campaign.

The option to create an RDA for the Search Network or a Shopping campaign doesn’t exist.  You can only create them inside of a Display Network campaign.

Image Source:

Responsive Display Ad Images

Google recommends that images for RDAs be 1200 x 628.  According to Google, this size should allow an ad to be shown on any platform or Google ad space.

The recommended size for your logo is 1200 x 1200. Google says if you don’t have a logo this size, that square logos with a 1:1 ratio will work down to a measurement of 128 x 128. Ideally your logo should be centered against a transparent background, but white will work if you don’t have a logo with a transparent background available.

The biggest strength of Google’s new Responsive Display Ad format is that it gives your ads the flexibility needed to adapt to unique ad environments and platforms. This unique characteristic makes it possible for Google to choose the best display format possible, saving advertisers lots of time and effort, by making the ad development process quick, simple, and effective.  The new RDAs are a great option for advertisers who spend significant amounts of time and money on the Google Display Network.

So if you are eager to find a way to create powerful image ads on the GDN without the assistance of a graphic designer, you’ll definitely want to check out the new Responsive Display Ad format offered by Google. The new RDAs are already becoming a very handy tool for paid search marketers creating and managing display campaigns on Google.

Published by

Susan Rawlings

Susan Rawlings PPC Product Author Susan Rawlings is the owner/managing partner of Compass Search Marketing, a Google Partner Agency based in Cleveland, OH, USA. In addition to serving in the role of Resource Author/Editor for Google Shopping and Display for, Susan helps clients manage PPC, analytics, SEO growth, social media marketing and advertising, user experience and link building projects. Susan is certified in both AdWords and Google Analytics.