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Google Ads banners – how to design?

Google Ads allows you to promote your brand not only in the Google search engine itself, but also on millions of partner websites. This category includes websites from almost every type – from tiny, hobby blogs aimed at a narrow audience, through medium-sized websites (for example, specialized thematic portals that have managed to become recognizable in a given industry), to large horizontal portals run by media corporations and visited daily by hundreds of thousands of Internet users. The Google Display Network, which is part of Google Ads, covers in various forms about 90% of internet users.

The system is very simple and works in such a way that both the advertiser and the page on which the ads are placed profit from it. The advertiser gets access to a huge number of potential customers, while the partner website earns money by providing advertising space – depending on business decisions and design, it can be a small panel (or panels) or large frames obscuring the content of the page.

Importantly, banners on Google Display Network can only be displayed to specific people thanks to targeting and remarketing. This means that a given user will receive a different message (a different banner will be displayed) than the other person entering the portal, based on their previous behavior on the Web, the history of entered search terms and websites visited. This guarantees a better match, and thus – campaign results than in the case of static banners displayed in the same form to all Internet users visiting a given portal.

However, even perfect use of the targeting possibilities offered by Google Display Network will not be sufficient if the displayed Google Ads banners are not well designed and visually attractive. After all, their task is to encourage recipients to click. The right banner design has a huge impact on the effectiveness of the campaign and achieving a high CTR (click through rate).

Google’s guidelines for banner attributes are simple and fairly straightforward. The advertisement must refer directly to the offer being promoted (without “smuggling” other companies or products), and it must not:
– contain low-quality images (too heavily compressed or unreadable for other reasons);
– mislead the user (contain false information, e.g. warnings about an imaginary virus to increase click-through rates);
– promote pornographic or erotic content (the Internet is also used by minors).

You can see the dimensions of the banners in Google Display Network in a separate article on our blog.

How to design Google Ads banners?

There is no universal way to create a banner that will guarantee excellent campaign results. However, when designing, you can take into account good design practices, thanks to which banners will have a very good chance of achieving the desired CTR.

Google Ads banners typically consist of:
– product photos (packshot) and / or photos illustrating the offer (from a dedicated photo session or from the stock portal);
– brand logo;
– optional advertising slogan;
call to action (CTA).

Packshot photo

The packshot photo focuses on the product. Making a good packshot is not easy – you need to take into account, among others:
– Perspective – the product must be presented in such a way as to present it – as far as possible – in all its glory, and at the same time at the right angle that will emphasize its advantages and most important functions. When promoting, for example, a stroller for a child, it is better to show it not directly from the front, but slightly at an angle, thanks to which, apart from the seat, we will also show other elements – handles for the parent or rear wheels.
– Background – as a rule, a packshot photo has no background, which of course does not mean that the banner cannot be “applied” to the selected background. The process of removing the background from the original photo is called scratching, and it is quite important – poorly done, ie leaving fragments of the “old” version at the edges, will reduce the visual quality of the packshot. Some companies also choose to include a shadow cast by the product on their packshots – this is one option to consider.
– Lighting – products present differently depending on the intensity of light – the same plastic housing can look low or high quality. Poorly selected lighting will highlight the flaws of the product, harming sales. Of course, a lot can be “fixed” with post-production, but it takes time, costs and the involvement of a retoucher.

Illustrative photo

An image that shows the context of our offer in a more or less obvious way. A travel agency may decide to visualize a paradise beach or a luxurious spa center, and the rally track will probably present a dynamic visualization of a speeding car. How many companies and industries, so many possibilities.

In the case of, for example, expert services or recruitment offers, it is worth using a real photo of a person working in the advertised company, best dealing with a given topic – it builds credibility and a professional image. Another option is to use an external photo of a person who inspires confidence and encourages you to click.

Images from the stock photo (stock) can be downloaded from paid sites, such as Adobe Stock or Shutterstock. However, there are many portals with a huge number of free images available – Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash and a few more. The graphics can be freely edited (if the license allows it) and adjusted to our own needs.

Brand logo

If the size of the banner allows it, it’s a good idea to put your brand logo on it. The display of the logo builds recognition, and in the case of premium brands it significantly increases the CTR. However, it is worth remembering that the logo should usually be just one of the elements, not the central, dominant point of the banner. There is also no need to force it if it would disrupt the entire composition or violate the protective field described in the visual identity of the brand.

Call to action (CTA)

The banner presents the offer in a visually attractive form, but the CTA is the factor that “finalizes” the click. A call to action is a text that encourages you to take an action, which should be as short and simple as possible on the one hand, and explaining on the other what benefits the user will receive after completing the conversion. The most popular phrases in CTA are, for example, “buy now” (sales offer), “download a free guide” (encouragement to read) or “join us” (job advertisement) – but you can get a little more creative, depending on your what we offer and how we want to communicate it.

The text, however, is not the only element – the CTA should usually be separated from the rest of the banner, e.g. placed on a background of a different color than the rest of the creative.

The most common mistakes when creating Google Ads banners

– Excess– it often happens that advertisers want to present their offer in an extensive form and list all the advantages of a given product or service or put several photos. The time for that will come after clicking, when the customer will go to the landing page. The purpose of the banner is to encourage conversion by presenting the strongest point (or possibly the points) in an abbreviated form. In the vast majority of cases, less is more, and the empty space (the so-called whitespace) is an integral part of a well-designed banner.
– Ignoring visual identification – consistency is one of the keys to creating a recognizable, reliable brand. If a given brand has been using a specific color combination for years, you can – if the brand book allows it – make subtle modifications, but a complete change of the color palette, in isolation from the developed identification, will cause dissonance in the customer. This does not mean that the campaign will fail, but it is a short-term action that may prove harmful in the long run.
– Clickbait – the content placed on the banner – both graphic and text – must be related to the offer. The Google Display Network system will not allow the advertisement to be clearly incompatible with its message, but the devil is in the details. A clique-oriented campaign, in which you unethically “overdo” the presentation of the offer in relation to its real value, will probably have an excellent CTR, but in the end the customer will not make many final conversions, and will also become alienated from the brand.

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