New Responsive Display Ads: Live in Just 5 Minutes

by | Aug 18, 2016 | PPC

by Natalie Eagling, AIM

google adwords display ads 5 minutes to successYou’ll remember in May I released a post about the changes coming to Adwords following the huge Google announcement at their Performance Summit. One of the most exciting changes would affect the ad units which, for the longest time, have remained the same.

Google introduced “Expanded Text Ads” which give advertisers more characters in both the headline and description. And they released “Responsive Ads” – a pretty impressive, larger ad format for display campaigns.

What’s the big idea?

There are some big benefits for Responsive Ads:

  • Depending on the ad placement, the ad type will switch and adapt to fit any site, app or screen size – and can even adapt to look more like a native ad.
  • They achieve a combined reach of image and text ads – saving us all time and energy.
  • You still don’t need a graphic designer – and the newer ads look even better than ever!

responsive display ads on mobile

 “We built responsive ads for display to help your ads adapt to the increasingly diverse mix of content types and screen sizes.” – Google

The Rollout Begins…

Google has just started to rollout the availability of these ad units, so if your account doesn’t have access to them yet, hold tight. It shouldn’t be long before all accounts have the new features.

Luckily, over on our exclusive Ready Fire AIM Facebook group, discussion started in the early hours of Tuesday morning that some of our friends and colleagues were seeing the new ad format available in their accounts. (Thanks Joel…)

Lo and behold, we are seeing these messages pop up all over our accounts:

responsive ads have arrived image

So of course, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work – and true to our ready, fire, aim philosophy, our first responsive display ad was created in under 5 minutes.

Here’s the low down…

Create Responsive Display Ads in Under 5 Minutes:
A Step-by-Step Guide

3 Tips Before you start:

  1. I’d advise before starting, in order to see the best results from any new ads, you try this out on your best performing GDN campaign, using only your very best performing ad copy (remember direct marketing 101: one step removed – don’t try a new ad format with new ad copy – you’ll never know what worked or didn’t work…)
  2. Make sure your ad rotation is set to optimise for conversions. If you find after the first couple of days that the new responsive ad isn’t seeing much traffic, consider pausing your top performer for just a day, to direct more traffic to your new ad. Alternatively, consider replicating the ad group and setting up just the new responsive display ad in this ad group to better its chances of seeing traffic. Since this is a new product, I think Google will be keen to push impressions to the new ad.
  3. If you are unsure of the value of mobile conversions to your business, or you don’t know whether you usually promote to mobile or not, I’d suggest you exclude all mobile traffic from your campaigns. Another colleague on our Facebook Group noted that mobile traffic for these ads was very high. (Head over to Settings > Devices > Click the “Bid adj.” column and enter -100% next to “Mobile devices with full browsers”, this reduces any bids on mobile by 100%.)

 Now we’ve taken care of those things, we are ready to get started…

  1. Click Responsive ad under the + Ad dropdown

responsive ad

  1. Check out this fancy new page!

responsive display ad creator page

Set up your ad following the instructions to the left. First, click Image. You’ll see the following:

find an image for display ad website upload stock

As I explained previously, allowing Google to scan your site and create ads for you is by far the easiest way to create image ads. Go ahead and enter your URL (and remember, for different designs and images, play around with the URL you enter – it could be your landing page, a microsite or your website.)

  1. Choose an image from the website images Google has picked up, or alternatively select from the ‘Use Stock Images’ file (they are pretty good!)

selecting responsive display ad image

  1. Select a logo – you might already have this uploaded.
  2. Next, add in the copy:
    • Create a short 25 character headline – this could (read: should) be taken from your best performing text or display ad and will be used for smaller placements. Be aware that this might appear without any description line, so be cautious to include any important, qualifying or compliant/legal information in the headline.
    • Enter a long headline – up to 90 characters. (Seriously, you won’t know what to do with all those letters!) And again, be aware that this could appear on its own, or with ellipses.
    • Enter your 90 character ad description. If shortened, this too will end with ellipses.
    • Enter your business name – this could be the name of the publication you are promoting.
    • Enter a final URL. Click Save.
  3. The preview to the right should now be rotating through all the different ad types that you just created:

preview of display ad in creator

display ads created view

  1. And that’s it! Click Save and wait for approval…


This is just the start of some really exciting developments for our Google campaigns. Mobile brings both big opportunities and big challenges to direct response marketers.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to bring you step-by-step guides on how to implement these exciting new features coming from Google and we are continually testing to achieve better results from mobile.

I’d love to hear your mobile successes stories, and perhaps more importantly, your failures. You can write to me at (as always – no judging! We’re all working this out together!) Who knows, your failure could help someone else succeed.

Speak again soon!
Natalie - Signature
Natalie Eagling
AIM Account Manager