Google Emphasizes Responsive Ads for Its Mobile-First Strategy

During its 2016 Performance Summit, Google readdressed the convenience of creating responsive display ads through Ready Image Ads for GDN. According to Google, as of last year more Google searches take place on smartphones than desktops and laptops globally. To help advertisers survive in this mobile-first world, Google redesigned the way you create display ads, thus unlocking native ad inventory across the GDN.

Two Ways to Create Responsive Display Ads: Pros and Cons of Each

Google first launched its Ready Image Ads in September 2013, allowing advertisers to automatically construct responsive display ads based on images from their websites. The tool scans your site and pulls in images and colors from which it constructs a selection of templates in eight different sizes to show on desktop and mobile. Then advertisers make a selection and can adjust the text, font, color, image, and headline to better align to the campaign.

The other way to create responsive display ads is to develop them in HTML5 and upload them into AdWords (As of June 30, 2016, Flash ads are no longer supported). This option allows for more creative control and allows for better adherence to brand guidelines for color, font, format,

There are over 20 different ad sizes available for desktop and mobile devices. To make the most of GDN you should create ads for all different sizes, though most advertisers just choose to create the most successful ad sizes along with some other sizes to increase flexibility.

Additionally, one watch-out for Ready Image Ads is that only two of the eight sizes provided are capable of displaying on mobile devices. If an advertiser wants to focus on searchers using mobile devices, then HTML5 would be a better option given this limitation for Ready Image Ads.

Ready Image Ads: Ideal for Some, Not So Much for Others

Google’s Ready Image Ads is great for small- to medium-sized business owners who run their own campaigns and don’t have budget for sophisticated ad creation. The tool requires no artistic talent nor software skills. It is a one-size-fits-all display ad that can save business owners time and money.

However, for professional advertising agencies Ready Image Ads is less ideal given its limitations in flexibility and lack of creative control. In attempt to maintain the original look and feel of the image, the tool expands or contracts the image by its original ratio to fit into the templates’ allotted canvas sizes, sometimes leading to empty space. For example, when uploading a rectangular image to square template, you end up with a lot of white space. A professional advertising agency worth its salt would want to create a unique layout and experience per ad size.

Final Thoughts: Weighing the Good With the Bad

As the number of mobile users keeps increasing and surpassing that of desktop users, there will be more and more advertisers joining the GDN and creating responsive ads. Google’s Ready Image Ads is not the only option for them to create ads for GDN. There are many other tools and platforms that help advertising professionals build image ads in over 20 sizes in minutes. Some of the players — Flexitive, ResponsiveAds, and ZURB Studios, to name a few — are easy to learn, come with an affordable monthly cost, and provide more functionality and flexibility than Ready Image Ads. Compared with these tools, Ready Image Ads’ advantage is that it’s accessible to all advertisers at no additional cost.

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