If you’ve recently tried to create a new text ad in a Google display or remarketing campaign, you may have noticed that the default text ad option has now been replaced by the option to create a Responsive Ad. This new ad type is a Google initiative to provide advertisers a convenient way to create a single templated ad that resizes to fit all 20 eligible image sizes on the Google Display Network.

Google's new Responsive Ads allow marketers to reach additional GDN inventory in a more appealing manner than text display.

Google’s new ad types allows marketers to reach additional inventory on the GDN without heavy investment in graphic design.

Responsive Ads

Responsive ads are useful for advertisers that do not have the resources or designers to create their own banner images. Even if you are seeing great success with custom created image ads, responsive ads can be a more visually appealing alternative to text display ads.


The full specs, including image requirements and ad text character limits, are available via Google.

Responsive Ad Performance

Visually appealing and easy to create display ads sound great, but how do they perform? Limited early testing shows that responsive display ads perform slightly better than traditional text ads, but underperform standard image ad creative for conversion rates.


Based on these initial results, responsive ads can provide a more aesthetically pleasing replacement for text-based ads. When first launching responsive ads, we recommend testing against your standard set of text ads on the display network. If your responsive ads outperform text ads, you can pause your text ads and test the responsive ads directly against the image ads.

Responsive Ad Set Up

Setting up responsive ads is quick and easy.  Simply navigate to the new ad creation button in AdWords and select the responsive ad option. This will direct you to the ad creation template that will guide you through the process.

Responsive ads consist of 2 aspect ratio image variations, a logo, and a set of multiple lines of ad text.

Google also provides a tool to scan your website for potential images to use as well as a wealth of stock images related to your business if you do not have access to your own creative.

For the ad text portion, we recommend using the ad copy that has worked best in your previous remarketing or display efforts. If you are planning to run an A/B test against standard text ads we recommend mimicking the ad text as closely as possible to keep ad messaging consistent.


Responsive ads provide an exciting opportunity to easily test a range of creative strategies and messaging without having to invest heavily in design resources. While performance hasn’t bested our traditional image ad designs, initial results are promising and we believe that responsive ads can find a place in any advertiser’s display or remarketing strategy.