Google Display Network Now Auto-Converts Text Ads into ‘Richer Text’ Image Ads


I’m constantly on the lookout for new tools, tips and tricks to make Google AdWords perform better for marketers. Recently, I learned that Google has added an awesome new feature to the Google Display Network – it will now automatically convert text ads to image ads!

google richer text ads

Earlier this week, we discovered this strange new ad format in a client account – I mean, the format itself wasn’t strange, but suddenly they had visual ads where only text ads had been running for that particular display campaign.

After much head scratching and cruising the web looking for an announcement or news coverage, we found only one little mention of this new format, “Richer Text Ads,” on the Google AdSense blog. I reached out to a friend at Google to see if we could learn more.

GDN Converts Text Ads to ‘Richer Text’ Image Ads as of July 2015

Our source at Google was able to confirm that YES! Google Display Network is converting text ads to what they’re calling “Richer Text” image ads and that this began last month.

So what is it? Google explains: “Richer Text is the most brand-safe ad type within our text ads family. This ad type runs on text + image and image only inventory. A logo (from Google+) is paired with this ad layout to add further brand and aesthetic value. Please contact your account manager if you wish to provide an alternate image. Unlike Simple Text, publishers do not have control over the color of this ad type. Instead the color is derived from the primary and secondary colors of the logo used by the advertisers.”

(Note: Our source at Google says manual controls are coming soon.)

Here’s an example of an auto-created Richer Text ad, from one of our client accounts:

richer text ads example

But how does the platform decide which ones to automatically convert to image ads?

According to our source, the following factors are part of the decision to convert a text ad to image:

  • CTR
  • Conversions per dollar
  • Deep conversion rate
  • Landing page dwell time 

Further, our source at Google says, “We only use the 'richer text' (image) ad type in text+image and image-only slots and only when our predicted CTR model proves that for that advertiser and publisher the CTR increases when using that ad type.”

How It Works: What You Need to Know About Richer Text Ads

Across the Google Display Network and AdMob, text ads are optimized across three primary ad types: simple text, richer text, and native text. Google wants to choose how your ads render to optimize performance, because better performance for you = more revenue for Google.

richer text ads on display network

Another example of Richer Text Ads

Wondering just how Google is converting the ads? We were, too. Here’s what we found out:

  • For richer text image ads, Google pulls the logo from a verified G+ account. If no verified G+ account is available, they will not run a richer text ad.
  • For native, they first look at the G+ account and if that is not available, they use a third-party image repository to contextually pair a relevant image.
  • Colors for the richer text ads are pulled from the primary and secondary colors of the logo. In the future, Google will allow customers to define their own colors.
  • Google is also testing a new text creation process internally that will allow customers to upload their own image.
  • Richer text ads are reported as rich media in the Ad types report.

If you don’t like the idea, you can opt out of Richer Text ads by disabling them through the “Enhanced display ads” option in the “Allow & block ads” tab in your account.

All in all, I think this new format is awesome – it retrieves your branding for you without any extra work! Of course, it’s best to use your own custom ad images if you have the budget and skills to do so, but we know many marketers don’t.

When you consider the potential effect on your Quality Scores within the GDN, this actually has the potential to save you money. Higher CTR = Lower CPC!

Have you seen Richer Text ads popping up in your account? Let us know what you think!


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Moses Yoon
Sep 06, 2015

It's about time!

Only concern is that some of the ads are going to be broken and the text will overlap or get cut off.
But as a big company with a big budget, I'm sure Google can figure out how to make it work.

Hopefully they will add a feature where advertisers can see how their text ads are being displayed from within their account and make adjustments.

Thanks for the heads up on this. It is good timing as I'm using display ads more as search traffic is capped.

Chris Rand
Nov 24, 2015

This is still one of the few mentions of this development which I can find online. I first noted it back in March, and even now (November 2015), none of the AdWords advisors I've spoken to were aware of it, although they subsequently made enquiries and confirmed that it is indeed a 'thing'.

The result, in my client's case, looks like something thrown together by a 5-year-old. The logo is used in a way which the client would never sanction, and the colours aren't remotely like anything in the style book. If I was the client and I stumbled across the advert, I would fire us.

If you are running text ads on the Display Network, including remarketing campaigns, these ads may well be created for you without your approval or permission, and without notification. Unless you see the adverts, you will not know they are running. There is no indication in the AdWords interface.

I would strongly recommend that if your clients employ any guidelines on style, that you stop any text ads on the Display Network.

Craig Paddock
Jun 20, 2016

Agree 100% Chris - these ads are look horrible.
We've had three clients request we disable them immediately after asking how they were ever approved in the first place.

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Karen Dauncey
Oct 05, 2016

You can request with your Google rep to opt out of rich text ads. It's a pain though to have to contact them for every new campaign set-up to opt out!

Jun 19, 2017

Which ad gives better revenue Text or Image ?

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