Google’s new responsive ads for display

Up until last year, advertisers could feature text ads and image ads across the display network. At Croud, we recommended running both formats to maximise coverage across the network – where multiple ad specs are available. When Google announced they would be rolling out responsive ads for display, it was the logical progression to combine both text and image ads.

Prior to this, we had seen instances where standard text ads had been converted to a Rich Media Text ad format by Google, and display ads that were not in keeping with the brand due to images being taken automatically from the website. In some cases, this led to standard text ads being paused.

Responsive Ads explained

The new format allows advertisers to upload an image and logo, as well as providing an increased capacity for text. The images can be uploaded or, if you don’t have your graphic designer to hand, you can scan your website for images and logos.

There is a short headline with up to 25 characters and also a long headline with up to 90 characters – only one of the headlines will show at a given time. As well as the headlines, there is a description line which is up to 90 characters and a business name which is up to 25 characters. This means that for standard text ads, there has been an increase from 96 characters to up to 205 characters.

Another feature which is available is the ‘Call to Action Text’ which you can set to automated. However we would recommend selecting one of the drop-down choices that is most relevant to your business:

  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Contact us
  • Download
  • Learn more
  • Install
  • Visit site
  • Shop now
  • Sign up
  • Get quote

The format is very simple and streamlined in the interface, and you can upload ads in minutes.

Once you have uploaded your images and text, you are ready to start showing your ads. The ads adjust automatically to fit the various spaces that are available across the display network. Once created you can also preview the ads and see how they will look on the display network, YouTube and Gmail.



Currently you are only able to see the overall stats for the ad, with no insight into which format has shown. Therefore if your campaigns are heavily stats-driven and you like to have maximum control, then maybe responsive ads are not the right option for you.

If however you are open to testing, this is a good format to put your faith in Google, trusting that they are showing the best possible format of the ads, in order to deliver the strongest click-through rate and conversions rates.


We have been testing responsive ads across multiple verticals and the results have been very positive. As expected and promised by Google, the format receives higher impression numbers due to the automatic adjustments which are made to fit the varying aesthetics of the websites on the network.

The combination of the image and text offering more information than the previous formats for display has also driven substantially increased click-through-rates, as well as improved conversion rates.

If you haven’t tried them yet, we would recommend testing the format. Contact us if you’d like to find out more about responsive ads.

by Paul Garratt
30 August 2018



Related posts