Create Image Display Ads Like a Boss (No Designer Required)

by | Apr 14, 2016 | PPC

by Natalie Eagling, Account Manager, AIM

Google Display Network AdsYou’re probably already making use of Google’s Display Network (GDN) and seeing fantastic results. High volumes make it a really scalable solution and with the right bid amounts, can often be cheaper than the Search network.

The easiest way to scale to a new audience and increase the impression count, is to use a variety of ad formats. Standard text ads work surprisingly well on GDN, but if you’re serious about scaling, you need to create image ads too.

But here’s the catch. You don’t have a designer.

Or, perhaps you do have a designer, but on briefing in 10 or more different ad sizes, across 3 different test ideas you have (mental math: that’s 30 ads total), you find it’s going to take 3 weeks or more…

Either way there is no quick fix. And before you know it, your renewed PPC mojo has shriveled to nothing at the thought of rounds of amends, freelance design costs and the inevitable file size drama you’ll face when uploading your new ads. Au revoir “ready, fire, aim”.

You’ll stick with text ads, right?


Create Display Ads Using Google’s Image Ad Builder: No Designer Required

This is not a new tool, but it has come on significantly since it was launched many moons ago. So if, like me, you tried it and hated it (think: ugly, flashing gif ads circa 2009), it’s time to get back on that horse.

Let me talk you through the basics, and then I’ll show you the cool stuff (hang tight!

1.First, log in to your account, head to your GDN campaign, click on the “Ads” tab, and then select “+ Ad”, and click “Image Ad:

Create Display Ads Using Google’s Image Ad Builder

2. You’ll reach a screen which asks for you to paste in your link. Go ahead, Google will scan the page. Then click “Create an ad”.

Choose how to create your image ad

Get ideas from your landing page url

3. Now you’ll be presented with a bunch of image ad options. Choose the one you like best, then click Select, then Edit.

AIM TIP: Often “ugly” wins over “pretty”. I have found personally that the best performing image ads are those which mainly consist of text, and no images.

Often, ugly ads win over pretty ads

Choose your image ad

4. You’ll see an editor with various fields like Headline and Description.

Edit your GDN ad

Change the copy to reflect the Ad copy you want to use.

AIM Tip: Always remember, “one step removed”. Take your best performing ad, and use this to create your image ad. You can test new ideas from this base-point.

5. Once your copy is up to scratch, click Done at the bottom.

Create your GDN ad

6. Next, navigate to the top right and select “Preview all”

Preview all

Here you will see all the versions of the ad you just created:

Preview Ads Screen Google Display Ads

From here you can click “Save” in the top right corner, and your ad, in all its many sizes, will be live.

Nifty Tricks to Make Your Ads More Compelling

But, what if you don’t like the design? Perhaps you want to add something more creative, or you want to feature a free report of some kind to entice more sign ups?

Here are some nifty ways to create an ad with a little more va va voom…

1.Cheat the system: Get ideas from a different source

At step 1, when you come to getting ad image ideas from a website, enter in a different URL. Perhaps you have a microsite, a blog with a great image, or a free report which has great imagery and the colour you are looking for. Paste the address here and see what comes back…

Create image ad from URLCreate ad from URL - image 2

2. Choose from multiple images used across your site (you might not even know some exist!)

When you are editing the ad, click the “Update image” drop down next to the Product image, and select “My site” at the bottom.

Choose images on your website

This brings you to a page which asks for your web address. Enter the URL you want to take images from, check the box, and click “Fetch from your site”. Now you can choose from a multitude of images available on that page.

Choose from list of images

Choose GDN ad from list

3. Use your free report as lead bait

Using the same method we have been using above, this time use the image link of your free report. (Ours was saved on an Amazon server…) Et voila! An ad in multiple sizes featuring a compelling image of the free guide they can expect to land in their inboxes.

Your site's images

Your site images - result

Hopefully this gives you some ideas and inspiration to go away and create a whole bunch of image ads using not only the landing page, but other resources like your report covers, even your editors photographs; the opportunities are endless.

Crucially, you really don’t need a designer to create image ads like a boss. And you’ll be surprised by how well the ads you create using this tool will perform. (We’re not saying Google could be biased towards their own ads. Well, we are actually.)

Until next time,

Natalie Eagling

Natalie Eagling
AIM Account Manager

P.S. As always, if you decide that even this nifty tactic can’t bring your GDN mojo back, AIM definitely can. Whether it’s advice you need, or hands-on campaign set up and management, we can help. Just get in touch.