About Display ads and the Google Display Network

Display campaigns serve visually engaging ads on the Google Display Network. The Display Network helps you reach people as they browse millions of websites, apps and Google-owned properties (such as YouTube and Gmail).

Starting on 1 May 2023, similar audiences (or segments) will be gradually phased out as a targeting feature. Learn more about this latest change to audience targeting


  • Reach people in multiple places: Display campaigns can reach people worldwide across 35 million websites and apps, and on Google-owned properties (YouTube and Gmail). This allows you to expand your reach beyond just Google Search.
  • Build campaigns around your goals: Drive sales, leads and website traffic or build awareness and consideration for your business, product or service.
  • Designed for ease of use: Display campaigns use machine learning solutions across targeting, bidding and formats to reach a new or existing audience. This can help your campaign deliver the best campaign results, friction-free.
    • Optimised targeting: Find the best performing audience segments that include potential customers with the highest likelihood to help you meet your conversion goals. Learn more about optimised targeting
    • Smart bidding: Bidding that uses machine learning to optimise for conversions or conversion value in each and every auction. It helps you save time and improve performance. Learn more about Smart bidding

How the Google Display Network works

The Google Display Network helps you find the right audience with its targeting options that strategically show your message to potential customers at the right place and the right time. Here are some examples of how you can approach targeting with Display ads:

  • Find new customers or engage existing customers using audience segments. Similar segments and in-market segments help you find new prospective customers by targeting people who are interested in your products. You can also use your data segments to help you re-engage people who previously visited your site.
  • Drive more conversions using automation. Automated targeting increases conversions by finding high-performing audience segments based on your existing audiences and landing page. By automatically optimising over time, Google Ads can learn which audience segments work for you. Automated bidding automatically adjusts your bid to help meet your return on investment. Smart display campaigns combine the best of automated targeting, bidding, and creatives to maximise your conversions on Google Ads.

Optimise your campaign as you create it

As you create your campaign, you may receive notifications based on your setting selections. These notifications may alert you of issues that can result in decreased performance or that may be significant enough to prevent you from publishing your campaign.

The campaign construction navigation menu that appears as you construct your campaign provides a holistic view of your construction progress and will call attention to notifications that you may want to address. Move between steps in the navigation menu to easily review and resolve potential issues with your targeting, bidding, budget or other campaign settings. Learn more about features that help you create a successful campaign

Responsive display ads

Display campaigns use responsive display ads. Responsive display ads automatically adjust their size, appearance and format to fit just about any available ad space and improve performance. You upload various assets (images, headlines, logos, videos and descriptions) in Google Ads and the optimal combination and size of assets will appear in ads across websites, apps, YouTube and Gmail.

You can also use our library of images at no cost. Both new and advanced users benefit from responsive ads because they show as 'native' ads and blend into the font and feel of the publisher's site.

Note: Responsive display ads will be replacing responsive ads as the new default ad type for the Display Network. If you have responsive ads running, you'll be prompted to save them as Responsive display ads.

Hero image of depicting a responsive display ad example

Other Display ad types

  • Uploaded image ads. For more control, you can create and upload ads. You can upload ads as images in different sizes or HTML5.

When Display ads show

While the Search Network can reach people while they search for specific goods or services, the Display Network can help you capture someone's attention earlier in the buying cycle. You can put your ads in front of people before they start searching for what you offer, which can be key for your overall advertising strategy. You can also remind people of what they're interested in when you use your data segments to reach people who've previously visited your website or app.

Plan ahead

Changes in the Display Network can take 12–24 hours to apply and may not show right away. Bear this in mind while creating a new campaign or making changes to an existing campaign. You may want to set up your campaign a few days before the launch and set the start date in the future.

When there are multiple changes made within a 24 hour period, they may be applied outside of the chronological order of change history.

Deep linking

With app deep linking enabled, your app's users will be directed to your in-app content from your Search, Display and Shopping ads. If you want to enable deep linking for these campaigns, create App Links for Android and Universal Links for iOS, and enable Google Analytics for Firebase to track app conversions. Learn more about deep linking and best practices for implementing deep links.

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