How to Create a Google AdWords Image Ad


This is the second post in a series on Google AdWords ads. In the first post we covered how to create and optimize text ads, and in this post we’ll focus on how to create image ads for your Google AdWords campaigns.

Image Ads

How to Set Up Your Google AdWords Image Ads

First we’ll walk through the actual mechanics of creating an AdWords image ad. Go to the Ads tab in AdWords, then select “Image ad” from the “New ad” drop-down menu:

AdWords Image Ad

Then you can associate your ad with an ad group, upload your image (more on that below), and fill out a few additional fields:

AdWords image ad sizes

You’re able to upload your image (note the 50k max limit, as you may need to compress some image files) and then you designate:

  • Image Name – This is mainly for your own housekeeping, so choose something logical that would be helpful for you in searching and sorting through images later (for instance, you may want to create a filter in Excel at some point to see how all of the image ads you uploaded in January did, so you might name the image January-300-50.gif)
  • Display URL – For certain ad units your URL may be displayed, so similarly to creating a text ad, you’re able to designate a dedicated display URL that’s separate from your destination URL.
  • Destination URL – This is the URL you’ll want to send traffic to.

Then you simply save the ad. As you can see in the image above there are several different sizes you can create:

  • 300 x 50 Mobile leaderboard
  • 468 x 60 Banner
  • 728 x 90 Leaderboard
  • 250 x 250 Square
  • 200 x 200 Small square
  • 336 x 280 Large rectangle
  • 300 x 250 Inline rectangle
  • 120 x 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 Wide skyscraper

One of the advantages of creating image ads for the AdWords content network is that they give you an opportunity to get access to different properties than simply running text ads. Some sites and pages will only accept image ads, so having images to display gives you access to this inventory.

As with creating image ads in general, doors are further opened when you have versions of your ads in all of the available sizes; again, some sites only have ad units for certain sized image ads, and you can’t access them and find out if they drive qualified traffic if you don’t have an image ad available in that size.

As we mentioned in our post on AdWords Networks & Devices Settings, it’s frequently effective on the display network to start out broad and then narrow your focus, so access to a larger pool of sites can help you generate more volume from your display campaign.

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So How Do You Create the Image Ads?

Obviously you’ll need something to upload where image ads are concerned. One option is to use the Google AdWords Display Ad Builder, which we’ll talk about in the next post in this series. If you want to create your own image ads, there are several options:

  • Use a Designer – Obviously you can hire a designer or use a designer who works in house. It’s a good idea to make sure someone involved in the process has a strong understanding of display design best practices (they should be attention-grabbing if direct response is your goal, include a call to action, etc.) and again it’s a good idea to make them aware of the different dimensions you’ll want so that you can access various properties.
  • Banner Ad Shop – There are a few of these – I’ve had success with Banner Weaver but there are others as well (feel free to leave your favorite in the comments). They tend to get the fundamentals of banner design right since it’s a focus for the site, and it’s a cost-effective way to get a batch of custom banners for your campaign.
  • Crowdsourced Banner Design – Using crowdsourced banner ad design from places like 99 Designs can also be a really effective way to solicit a number of different design concepts from various designers. The quality here can be a bit hit or miss, but frequently you can come out of it with one or a few concepts that can help you keep your ad creative fresh.

With most advertisers leveraging retargeting it’s increasingly important to have multiple variations of ads, and to have sources to tap to get new creative so you can constantly be rotating new ad creative into your display campaigns.

In the next post in this series, we’ll show you how to use another means of creating image ads: the Google AdWords Display Ad Builder.

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Jan 13, 2012

Nice tutorial of image ads.Thank you.

Web Design Oxford
Jan 13, 2012

Nice tutorial, and follow on from the text based. We create these for our customers, but showing them this will help to demystify what it is that they are getting.  Thanks for the article.  :)  Jeannie x

Feb 15, 2012

Nice overview, and a good but simple tutorial for creating image ads. But I'd have liked to see it go a bit further, even just to talk about some best practices. Use images of best quality for each size of ad; include a call to action to get people to click; A/B testing, etc.

Dheeraj Bansal
Feb 18, 2012

Thanks for the nice post. A picture is worth 1000 words. I will definitely go with image ad.

Kamal Kishor
May 21, 2012

Thanks  for this post....I have squestion .1 In text add diDsplay URL is shown in green color but when we are uploading an image, Display URl will be shown on image..? or i will have to leave display url text field blank this blank..?

Συνταγές μαγειρικής
Jun 14, 2012

Awesome write up Tom!Thank you for helping us create our first image ad campaign in Adwords.

Balazs Toth
Jul 31, 2012

Hi All,I have an idea which might be impossible to resolve and that is why I cannot find any proven workaround posted on the web. In google adwords display ad section I found "swf" as allowed banner format. I wonder if it is feasable to create URL get or URL put (on (press){getUrl..) method based flash forms to force users to specify their needs by using drop down menus and form fields within the banner before clicking on it thus reducing uneffective clicks.I assume google would not allow this but I want to be sure before dropping this idea.Thanks for commenting,brgds,Balazs

Dec 28, 2012

I use image ad for advertise my web. But until now I never see my image ad. It has been approved by google my ad

Victor Pan
Dec 28, 2012

If you're not seeing your image ad, it's a good idea to see what web properties you've set up to have it displayed! Time frames, budget, and quality are all things that could prevent you from seeing it, so make sure you've set up your image ad correctly.

Jan 08, 2013

The image sizes have been updated. This is somewhat out dated.

Feb 21, 2013

Great information i like it. thank you..

Feb 23, 2013

Hi,    I saw your site while searching for the solution about How to create an Image Ads with google, the challenge is that in my account I only see Text Ad option and can not seem to locate the Image Ad option even after going through your article please How do I go about this.Thanks.

Jun 18, 2013

Very nice tutorial, easy to understand

Sep 24, 2013

nice tutorial,thanks!

Jun 26, 2014

i want to know how to creative new meanings with add?

Cherry Anderson
Oct 08, 2014

HiI want to know the images required for shopping campaign.What specification can be ideal and best for shopping campaign, RegardsCherry Anderson

Charles Mathew
Sep 04, 2015

Nice tutorial and guidance to create effective image ad. I can get some clear ideas from here. Thank you.

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