New Responsive Display Ads: What You Need to Know


Yesterday, Google released Expanded Text Ads for all advertisers. But expanded text ads aren’t the only new ad format they released. Google also released a new, larger Responsive Ad format for GDN campaigns. The news comes as a relief to many display advertisers, particularly since Google announced it would no longer support Flash ads by January 2017.

The new Responsive GDN ads should be considered an attractive alternative to text ads for the display network with the ability to reformat to fit different ad sizes and placements. As Google puts it, “We built responsive ads for display to help your ads adapt to the increasingly diverse mix of content types and screen sizes.”

The responsive ads also allow for advertisers to provide an image and logo that will appear in rich media ads and native ad formats. Google had previously automatically selected an image from a client’s website or Google+ account to populate richer text ads on the display network, which sometime produced less than ideal ads.

old responsive display ads

The new responsive ads allow for considerably more control of a brand’s messaging and considerably more room for content. Advertisers can also select and upload an image, a logo, and an advertiser name to have complete control over their branding.

new responsive display ads example

Need more tips on GDN? Download our free guide: 7 Steps to Master the Google Display Network

Responsive Display Ad Specs

The new responsive ad format also features a short 25-character headline and a longer 90-character headline that will display when size allows. A 90-character description allows brands to control ad messaging. Counting all these fields, the new responsive display ads can include up to 205 characters of text and images, meaning they’re even larger than expanded text ads and more than twice as large as the old text ads appearing on the Google Display Network!

responsive display ads specs

How to Create Responsive Display Ads

These ads can be created directly in the AdWords interface, by selecting the “+Ad” button and then selecting “Responsive Ads” from the drop down.

creating responsive display ads

From there, you’ll be prompted to specify your ad’s headlines, description, and advertiser name. You can upload your own image for the ads or Google will provide suggestions from your website. You can also preview how your ad may appear on the display network in different ad sizes and formats.

adwords responsive display ads

Google’s new responsive display ads should be a powerful tool for SMB advertisers who are looking to create compelling ads on the Google Display network without a graphic designer to create image ads. With the combined reach of image and text ads on the display network, these responsive ads will certainly be a game changer for many advertisers!

About the author:

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. He was named the 14th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2016 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.


Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


Deb Dey
Jul 27, 2016

Well to be very honest, I could not spot many differences. However, it is good that we don't have to spend hours to create multiple image ads.

Zapya for PC
Jul 30, 2016

Great post and it is more useful to me

Corey Zeimen
Aug 01, 2016

The results are still way better if you just create your own ads by far. They need to be able to let us upload our own templates somehow.

Aug 10, 2016

Thanks for sharing such good article. This is really helpful.

Sep 18, 2016

Within my accounts I'm no longer seeing an option for creating text ads for new campaigns. Responsive ads is now the first option. All ad unit builds will require an image of some sort, either from your site, uploaded or from a stock photo gallery. Anyone else seeing this move to get away from text only ads?

Sep 20, 2016

If you click on the red ad button, then the responsive ad choice, the resultant page will have a link at the top to do a text ad, albeit an expanded text ad.

Nov 17, 2016

I created a responsive Ad yesterday but can't see it displayed as an 'enabled' Ad in the Ad group - I can only see 'Image Ads' that I have uploaded myself. Does this mean that it somehow wasn't saved and therefore not working?

Jan 08, 2017

dear we want top place side stable flex on website; when user go through whole page but goolge ad poster should fix on websge on side bar.

Jan 30, 2017

In the Display Planner, how can I select those placements that handle the new Responsive Ads? How is the ad format filter to be used for this? Thanks.

Feb 08, 2017

Thanks for the article!! Is it possible to change the color of the button (Call to action) of the banner ?

Jul 31, 2017

Nice and informative

Drew Griffiths
Nov 08, 2017

Thanks for this article - guided me through my first campaign!

Elisa Gabbert
Nov 08, 2017


Leave a comment