Assuming you’re not a hands-on graphic designer, you have three good options when it comes to creating Google Display Ads and landing pages:
1. Use Google’s Ad Gallery. Find it by going into an ad group within a Display Network enabled campaign and clicking the blue “+” button. You can use any of Google’s free preset templates and insert your own images and text, or you can use Google’s auto-create feature that automatically generates ads by searching your website and existing Search ads. (The results aren’t always the best looking, but the tool is free, quick and easy.)
2. Find a budget designer. There’s a plethora of online services that will create image ads for you. We like www.20dollarbanners.com and http://minibannerszen.com/, where for $20 to $30 a piece, you can have some nice custom designs crafted in a few days or even hours. Both of these websites have portfolio pages, which are worth perusing if you’re short on ideas.
3. Hire a pro designer. Find the right professional freelance graphic designer, one who takes time with the creative process and isn’t grinding out dozens or hundreds of designs per day, and you can end up with some stunning and original images for your campaign.
Google has explicit rules on what is and isn’t allowed in image ads. Check every one of your ads against Google’s requirements before activating your campaign. Here are a few rules that Google Display Network (GDN) users most commonly fail to apply:
- Static images must be in jpg, png, or gif format and be of a file size no greater than 150 KB.
- Animated images must be an animated gif or the correct version of Flash (swf), must run for no longer than 30 seconds (looping images are allowed, but must cease movement after 30 seconds), and be no more than five frames per second (fps) for gifs and 20 fps for swf. In either case, 150 KB is still the maximum file size.
- No “trick-to-click” ads. The ad must look like an ad and clearly differentiate itself from the rest of the page on which it resides. If the ad is designed to look like a system warning or error message, it will be flagged and disabled.
- The ad image must fill the entire image size and be correctly oriented.
- The ad image cannot be “tiled” or appear to be more than one image (for example, one image designed to look like three different text ads).
- The ad must be relevant to the landing page it’s sending people to.
- The image must be of a high quality without any fuzziness or blurred images.
- All text on the image must be legible.
- Animated images can’t use strobe or flashing lights.
- The image must be suitable for a family audience. Google takes a hard line on this one. Nothing even remotely borderline will be tolerated.
GDN landing pages
Generally speaking, you don’t want to send your display traffic straight to a sign-up form or product to be purchased. People who are clicking on display network ads are less ready to buy or hand over their personal information. They need to be given more useful, relevant and valuable content to consume. Treat it like a first date. Let them warm up to you, rather than trying to go straight for the sale.
It used to be that the prime goal of almost any smart site owner was to capture a visitor’s email address on their first visit. That’s changing. Most businesses are now happy to just cookie visitors and remarket to them instead. So the funnel now follows this sequence:
- Eye-catching display ad
- Webpage where you provide valuable content (without requiring visitors to take any action)
- Remarketing ad where you bring them back to see additional content
- Offer where they can give you their email or make a purchase
The point where you provide something of value and they give you their contact information is now more likely to occur on the second or third date.