Display Ads: best practices and requirements

Nowadays, there are numerous types of advertising that you can integrate into a digital marketing strategy, such as SEM, mobile advertising, search ads, display ads, social media, and email marketing.
Having so many advertising options seems complicated to choose best for your brand. Let’s dive into display ads best practices and recommendations to understand how you can achieve your business goals with them.

Display Ads: goals and interesting stats

Display advertising is a type of online advertisement process which uses visuals on networks like the Google Display Network and Facebook etc. It consists of a text message, banners, and a URL to a website where a customer can find products or services. The purpose of banner ads is to promote a brand and/or lead visitors from the host website to the advertiser’s website.

An average US user sees around 63 display ads per day – Instapage.

The frequency the users see display ads has extremely increased over the years. According to Instapage, an average US user sees around 63 display ads per day.

Display Ads types

Display ads have the capacity to increase brand awareness and retarget relevant customers.
The central element of display ads is a banner. Banners vary depending on targeting options and strategy. Let’s review common types of display advertising.

Remarketing ads

Remarketing ads (also called retargeting ads) are the most widespread, they retarget users who have previously shown some interest in the product or services. So it is a great way to remind the customers about your brand.

Personalized ads

Personalized ads target customers based on demographic targeting and the interests they have shown online. Google offers the following targeting for the personalized ads based on user preferences and online behavior:

  • affinity targeting;
  • custom affinity groups;
  • custom intent;
  • in-market ads;
  • similar audience ads;
  • detailed demographics;
  • life events.

Placement-targeted ads

Placement-targeted ads allow the advertiser to select the specific websites or individual webpage to display the ad.

Contextually targeted ads

Contextually targeted ads are set based on the following features of the placement website:

  • topic and keywords;
  • language and location;
  • host website’s theme;
  • browsing histories of the website’s visitors.

Any of these types of ads has pros and cons for advertisers so it’s worth knowing the peculiarities.

Display Ads pros and cons

Display ads like any type of advertising have advantages and disadvantages.


  • Are easy to create
    Display ads don’t have complicated requirements and they are run on any website placements without specific technical skills.
  • Possess versatile targeting
    Display ads have topic/interest targeting and remarketing that aren’t available for search marketing. Remarketing allows you to pull back a customer who left the website.
  • Deliver the ad message fast
    The central element of the display ads is visual not text. So the users will catch the ad message quickly as they don’t have to read much text. Even if people scroll away from the ad, they will still have a glance at it.
  • Have a great reach and ensure value
    Display Ads are shown on millions of websites so they reach a major part of your target audience and generate cheap traffic. Display ads are more affordable than search ads as relatively few people will click them.
  • Build brand awareness
    As display ads have a high reach, they can create initial interest and the audiences will immediately recognize your brand.
  • Reach customers at any stage of the customer journey
    A well-designed display campaign helps you reach the target market at any step of the decision-making process.


  • Can make users irritated
    Nowadays internet users see a lot of ads. People use ad blocking software when they are annoyed.
  • May have inappropriate brand image
    Display ads show messages as quickly and simply as possible, but such a peculiarity can work against them creating an inappropriate brand image.
  • Have lower CTR and conversion rate
    Display ads have a lower click-through rate. It means lower sales or less user engagement as the users are not actively looking for the products or services.
  • Don’t ensure full control
    If you use templates, you can’t know all ad combinations of your visual and text because texts can be randomly paired with images. But using custom display ads will keep your brand off such issues.

So next we’ll speak about the best tips to create a custom display banner.

Display Ads banner sizes for different ad platforms

Planning the display campaigns you should focus on the banner sizes depending on the platform you choose to run the ads. Here we collected the most popular ad platforms.

Google Ads

Ideally, you should use all sizes for better coverage, because different websites in Google Display Network accept banners of different sizes. But if you are limited in resources, you can start with the most popular sizes that usually generate most impressions, based on our experience:

  • Formats:  GIF, JPG, PNG;
  • Maximum File Size 150KB;
  • 728×90 – Leaderboard;
  • 300×250 – Inline rectangle;
  • 468×60 – Banner;
  • 160×600 – Wide skyscraper;
  • 336×280 – Large rectangle;
  • 320×50 – Mobile banner;
  • 300×600 – Half-page ad;
  • 250×250 – Square;
  • 200×200 – Small square.

Facebook Ads 

  • Formats:  GIF, JPG, PNG;
  • Maximum File Size: 30MB;
  • Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1;
  • Resolution: at least 1080 x 1080 (We recommend 1200 x 1200 pixels).

LinkedIn Ads 

  • Formats: JPEG, GIF, PNG;
  • Maximum File Size: 5MB;
  • Ratio 1.91:1;
  • Resolution: 1200 × 620;
  • Image must be more than 200 pixels in width.

Microsoft Ads

  • Formats: JPEG, PNG;
  • Maximum File Size: 30MB;
  • Ratio: 1.91 : 1 with 1200 x 628 or higher (required);
  • 1200 x 628 or higher;
  • 1200 x 674 or higher;
  • 1200 x 698 or higher;
  • 1200 x 710 or higher;
  • 1200 x 774 or higher;
  • 1200 x 800 or higher;
  • 1200 x 902 or higher;
  • 1200 x 1200 or higher;
  • 1116 x 1200 or higher.

Display Ads best practices

The success of a display ad depends on many factors and the crucial one is a banner. So, let’s have a look at 17 best practices on how to create high-performing display ads.

  1. Create multiple banner sizes
    Match the creatives to the ad size in the placement, rather than inserting one ad everywhere.
  2. Choose a strong and clear call to action
    CTA should resonate with the users. You can experiment with the call to action e.g., “Get Your Free Demo”, “Download Your Free eBook”.
  3. Use the company logo
    It will help to raise brand awareness and drive more traffic.
  4. Keep the visuals and content simple
    People are likely to only glance at a banner for some seconds and display ads are usually small to describe everything in detail. The headline should be powerful to make users excited about the offer.
  5. Add buttons as they often increase the CTR (click-through rate)
    Place buttons after the copy on the lower right side in contrasting colors.
  6. Try Animated GIF banners
    They usually perform better than static banners as animating is more eye-catching and gives more information. But check the GIF so that it shouldn’t distract from the ad message. Both static and animated banners are worth testing.
  7. Frame the ad especially for the white and light background
    People naturally draw their attention to the framed images 
  8. Insert triggers
    Mention “trigger” words like discounts or limited offers to motivate the users to take action now. 
  9. Prepare unique and compelling ad copy
    Engaging and creative ad copy helps attract relevant customers and grab their attention. The entire copy should be four lines or fewer.
  10. Select fonts consciously as readability is critical
    Don’t use cursive or script fonts, extremely thin font weight, all uppercase copy, or font sizes smaller than a 10 pt. Make your headline and body of different sizes.
  11. Present the ideally clear value proposition
    It should captivate and answer the question: why do people click this ad? Features like “free shipping” or “cost less” can be some of the examples.
  12. Make sure that the ad message and design match the landing page
    Coherent design results in a greater user experience which leads to more conversions
  13. Upload high-resolution images
    Using low-quality pixelated ads will create an inefficient and unprofessional brand look. 
  14. Use small file size banners
    Make sure the file size is not too big as small size banners load faster and perform better.
  15. Avoid too much text
    Having a bit of text is fine but make sure it doesn’t cover too much of the creative and give the most important incentive.
  16. Respect your audience
    Stay away from autoplay videos, an overwhelming number of pop-ups, and any ads that the users can’t get rid of by scrolling away. Such formats can make anyone anxious about the brand.
  17. Do not use large ads
    Check the ad size so that it doesn’t take up more than one-third of the screen. High ad density can irritate users as they can’t see the content they came for, especially on mobile phones.

One of the main challenges for display ads is to strike the right balance between creativity and clarity. Since display ads will target a wider audience not showing interest in the product or service it is essential to make sure that the users don’t click on the ads only out of curiosity, and they understand the value proposition clearly.

Top 5 Display Ads examples

The best banner ads combine various elements like robust design, original interaction, clear message, and ideal ad copy. The main goal of display advertising is not only to capture a viewer’s attention but to attract relevant customers. So it is helpful to look at some examples of display advertising.

Example 1

Here is an example of the SendGrid display ad. Its creative headline highlights the message of the ad and makes customers feel great about themselves.

Example 2

The QuickBooks display ad has a clear value proposition which attracts the most relevant customers. Also, there is a time-count used as an installed urgency.

Example 3

This HelloFRESH banner helps potential customers meet their needs with appealing color schemes and a discount to motivate the customers to click.

Example 4

The following Semrush banner is creative and original, it ensures getting useful information quickly.

Example 5

Merrell offers customers an exciting experience and outdoor activities rather than only the footwear purchase.

Summing up

Display advertising is visual and appealing. It spreads your message, raises brand awareness, and retargets users. Combining display ads with other ads, you can reach potential customers at all stages of the buying circle. If you are still struggling with the display ads, Teamedia can help you launch effective and engaging ads. Feel free to leave us a note and we will gladly share our knowledge and industry-proven expertise.