Display ads: a creative Best Practices guide

Display Ads Creative Best Practices [hero_image]

Google Display Ads appear on over 3 million websites, over 650,000 apps, and across Google properties such as Gmail and YouTube. This guide will help you create assets for display ads — with a focus on responsive display ads.

Image ad example for Google Display Network adDisplay ads help you promote your business when people are browsing online, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail, or using mobile devices and apps.

Responsive display ads are a form of asset-based ads. An asset is simply a part of an ad, such as a headline, description, image, or logo. To create asset-based ads, you'll provide: headlines, descriptions, images, and logos. Google AI arranges these assets in countless combinations across the web, continuously optimizing for performance.

Because assets are combined without human assistance, special care is required during setup. This guide can help you ensure your assets work together in a large number of configurations.

Use the following guidelines to create responsive display ads that reach users and drive performance for your business. Improved image quality, in turn, can improve your reach and performance to ensure that your ads are eligible to serve in all available inventory. While these guidelines are considered best practices, and therefore not mandatory, all ads and assets must comply with Google’s Google Ads Policy.

Image guidelines

Images are the most crucial element of responsive display ads. The guidance below will help you to understand what makes an image ideal for responsive display ads and to avoid common mistakes that can hurt performance. You can upload your own images or choose from Google’s library. Review the guidelines below to ensure that your images adhere to Google’s guidelines.

Note: Responsive display ads let you upload up to 15 images in 3 aspect ratios: landscape, square, and portrait. All images have a maximum file size of 5120 KB. Learn more about how to create a responsive display ad

Landscape image (1.91:1)

  • Recommended size: 1200 x 628
  • Minimum size: 600 x 314

Square (1:1)

  • Recommended size: 1200 x 1200
  • Minimum size: 300 x 300

Portrait (9:16)

  • Recommended size: 900 x 1600
  • Minimum size: 600 x 1067


This icon represents the landscape guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.


This icon represents the square guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.


This icon represents the portrait guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.


This icon represents the ratios guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.




Minimum number of images

This icon represents the minimum number of images guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.

1 image

1 image

0 images

Maximum number of images

This icon represents the maximum number of images guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.

15 images

15 images

15 images

Recommended sizes

This icon represents the recommended screen sizes guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.




Minimum sizes

This icon represents the minimum screen sizes guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.




Max file upload in KB

This icon represents the max file upload in KB guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.

5120 KB

5120 KB

5120 KB

Images per aspect ratio

This icon represents the 5-10 images per aspect ratio guideline for Responsive Display ad campaigns.

5 - 10 images per aspect ratio

5 - 10 images per aspect ratio

5 - 10 images per aspect ratio

Images uploaded may appear in different sizes depending on layout. Images will resize in order to fit particular ad sizes.

Use high quality images

Images help users understand your business, products, and brand. They're critical to ads that perform well.

For best results, avoid images that are:

  • Blurry
  • Color-inverted
  • Excessively filtered
  • Outlined with a border
  • Unclear
  • Upside-down
  • Visually skewed
Do use the natural lines of an image. Don't use visually skewed images.
Do use images that are in focus. Don't use blurry images.
Do use images that are easy to see and in full color. Don't use images that are hard to see or appear washed out.
Do use images that include a single, non-duplicated composition of the subject. Don't use images that include a mirror image.
Do keep edges square and borders transparent to allow images to bleed to the full aspect. Don't round edges or use borders.
Do use the raw, natural composition of photos. Don't use inverted colors or excessive filters.

No overlaid logos

Don’t overlay a logo on top of an image, as this can be repetitive in certain ad layouts. Images where the logo is incorporated into the photograph are allowed.

Do preserve the original image, ensuring it's the focus. Don't overlay logos or other graphics on images.

Avoid overlaid text

Avoid inserting text on top of an image. Keep in mind that when assets are combined, your messaging may become repetitive if overlaid text is too similar to a headline, for example. Overlaid text can be unreadable in smaller ad sizes. Images where the text is naturally embedded or incorporated are allowed. For example, a photo of a text sign would be naturally embedded text.

Do preserve the original image, ensuring it's the focus. Don't overlay logos or other graphics on images.

Don't overlay buttons

Buttons (which promise non-existent functionality like “play”, “download”, or “close”) violate Google’s Google Ads policy.

Do use the original image without button graphics that mislead functionality. Don't add buttons to your image as they aren't a clickable element.

Make your product or service the focus of the image

Blank space shouldn't take up more than 80% of the image. Your product or service should be the focus.


Avoid collage images

Use single images. Collages aren't recommended.


Avoid digital composite backgrounds

Avoid displaying products over digital composite backgrounds, including an all-white background. Instead, use quality photographs that have physical settings with organic shadows and lighting.



Avoid using logos with unsupported aspect ratios, extra “flair”, or colorful backgrounds. Instead, use high quality logos that have been cropped and adjusted appropriately.


Add text and ad groups

Use clear and compelling headlines and text

For your headline, use clear and simple text to describe your product, service, or brand. Make your description text easy to understand (80-character limit). Avoid generic messaging or click-bait. Use sentence case, and avoid using “all caps”.

Good examples Bad examples

Headline: “Our new wool socks are warm and cozy”

Text: “All of our orders are custom-made and delivered to your door!”

Headline: “Our New Wool Socks”

Text: “Click here to learn more.”

Headline: “Sinbad's Big Adventure in theaters Nov. 22”

Text: “Don’t miss the most adventurous film of the summer.”



Include prices, promotions, and exclusives

If you have something special to offer, make sure your customers can find it. People are usually searching to make a decision about something. Give them information that can help them make their decision.

Using terms like special offers, coupons, discounts, promo codes, and bargains is a great way to let people know you’ve got some deals.

Provide a relevant landing page

Review the page on your website that you're linking to, which is called the landing page. Make sure to include a clear call-to-action in your ad that takes people straight to that landing page. For example, if your ad text says “Call us”, be sure to include your business phone number on the landing page. If your ad text says “Limited time offer”, be sure to point users to that promotion on the landing page. In your final URL, provide the complete URL.

Create 3 to 4 ads per ad group

Create 3 to 4 ads per ad group (trying out different messages with different images) to determine which ad performs the best with your customers. Google Ads can show the better-performing ads within an ad group more often. This removes the guesswork and lets you build on what you've learned from your experiments.

Auto-generated videos

Certain special considerations apply to assets used for videos:

  • Don’t use logos on the borders of images
  • Don’t use multiple similar images
  • Don’t use text on borders of images

Related links

Was this helpful?

How can we improve it?
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu