Google Display Network: What You Need To Know (+Examples)

Unknown Facts About Google Display Network


The Google Display Network (GDN) is the display and video advertising channel that allows advertisers to serve display and video ads to their target audience using the Google Ads interface. 


  • The Google display network reaches over 90% of all people on the internet globally across over 2 million websites. It is the display and video advertising channel that allows advertisers to serve display and video ads to their target audience using the Google Ads interface.


  • The GDN allows advertisers to connect with customers and potential customers with text, images, rich media and video ads (including YouTube). It can help you reach people while they are browsing websites, reading the news, their favorite blogs, looking for shopping or travel inspiration, or watching a YouTube video.



  • When you advertise, you can choose to show your ads in particular contexts (like “outdoor lifestyles” or “”), to particular audiences (like “young moms” or “people shopping for a new sedan”) and/or in particular locations.


Also, on the GDN you can remarket to people who have been on your website before and may or may not have converted and show them a tailored ad to increase conversions and/or brand awareness, serving ads to users as they browse the web.

You have two options when you advertise on the GDN:


  • Search Network with Display opt-in: Helps you reach people as they use Google search and visit sites across the web. In it’s most basic form, this means allowing your text ads to display elsewhere outside of the search results page using your keywords as your contextual targeting across the web.


  • Display Network only: Your ads are matched to websites or mobile apps that include content that’s related to your business or to your customers’ interests – a pure display campaign.


Something to be very careful of Each campaign choice also gives you the option for a smart display creation where the system chooses the right bidding, targeting and ad creation for you.


This is not recommended as they are difficult to optimize because the system does this for you and very rarely gets you refined results. 


When you begin building your campaigns, you can choose one of three predefined campaign goals – and for ease of use, you will find that they are aligned to the buyer’s journey. These include building awareness, influencing consideration and driving action.



  • The “Awareness” goal gives marketers the opportunity to reach prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey.


  • The “Influence Consideration” option is designed to help you find the right audience across millions of websites.


  • “Driving Action” lets you be strategic and puts your message in front of potential customers at the right place and at the right time.


The GDN lets you advertise in a variety of formats and sizes with text ads, static and animated image ads, rich media and video ads.


  • Text ads: A word only ad format, the same as on the Search network but may display differently on the GDN, adapting to fit websites and screen sizes.


  • Image ads: They can be static or animated in .gif or HTML5 format and are a great way of delivering your message or uplifting brand awareness in a visual way with very simple animation.


  • Rich Media ads: Rich media ads are essentially image ads that have interactive elements, animations or other aspects that can change depending on who is looking at the ad and how they interact with the ad. Examples of rich media ads include an ad with a moving carousel of products, an ad with animated layers that move into place, or dynamic ads that adapt to display the product a user was last looking at.


  • Video ads: You can create a video ad that targets YouTube or any website that has YouTube ads running on it.


  • Responsive ads: Responsive ads automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces. They can transform into text or image ads. It is a speedy way to create an image, and you can ensure that you have an available ad format for every website on the GDN, as it adapts to the ad format allowed on different websites. Responsive ads can also be shown as native ads which generally have good impressions and CTR rates.


Before creating your ad, you’ll need to prepare an image file that is sized and formatted appropriately. There are a great variety of sizes of inventory on the Google Display Network.


Advertisers are able to upload both animated and non-animated image ads on the Google Display Network as well as HTML5 ads in as many sizes as they like.



A static, non-animated image ad on the Google Display Network can be created as a .gif, .jpg, .png, .swf or .zip format. The size of these images is measured in pixels (px) and the file can be no larger than 150kb.



Animated image ads can be created in .gif format and the maximum length it can be is 30 seconds. If it’s shorter, you can loop the animation, but the animation must stop after 30 seconds and the ads must be slower than 5 frames per second.


If you choose to create HTML5 ads, you will need to upload a .zip file containing HTML and optionally CSS, JS, GIF, PNG, JPG, JPEG, SVG. Again, it will have to be less than 150kb.



If resources allow, it would be recommended to use the HTML5 file format to create animated image ads as HTML5 allows you to make your ads more engaging and renders better than an animated GIF ad.


It’s recommended to include a wide variety of sizes as different websites will take different formats, therefore increasing your potential reach.
Square and rectangle: 

  • 200 × 200 Small square
  • 240 × 400 Vertical rectangle
  • 250 × 250 Square
  • 250 × 360 Triple widescreen
  • 300 × 250 Inline rectangle/ Mid-Page Unit (MPU)
  • 336 × 280 Large rectangle
  • 580 × 400 Netboard



  • 120 × 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
  • 300 × 600 Half-page ad
  • 300 × 1050 Portrait



  • 468 × 60 Banner
  • 728 × 90 Leaderboard
  • 930 × 180 Top banner
  • 970 × 90 Large leaderboard
  • 970 × 250 Billboard
  • 980 × 120 Panorama



  • 300 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 100 Large mobile banner

On YouTube, you also have a number of ad formats to choose from:


Trueview In-Stream: Your video ad plays before, during, or after other videos. After 5 seconds, the viewer has an option to skip the ad. This ad format gives users a choice to engage with your advertising.


Typically, a user who chooses to engage is more engaged than one who is simply exposed to an ad (through an ad format such as non-skippable video ad or an interstitial on a website), and the added benefit with Trueview is you only pay when a user either watches the ad in full or more than 30 seconds (whichever comes first), or clicks through to your website.



This means you are only paying for your most-engaged viewers and therefore making it a very efficient form of advertising. In this sense, it gives the same democracy that comes from Google Search to Video advertising – allowing users to choose which content and advertising they want to see, and only charging the advertiser when a user chooses to engage with their business.



Trueview video discovery: Promote your video in places of discovery, including next to related YouTube videos, as part of a YouTube search result, or on the YouTube mobile homepage.



The TrueView video discovery format on YouTube is extremely versatile – not only can you run video ads on YouTube, but you can also run them on the Google Display Network. This is a great way to expand the reach of your video ad and gain more views.


Bumper Ads: Short, non-skippable video ads of up to 6 seconds that must be watched before your video can be viewed. This format is ideal for driving brand reach and frequency.


The short time frame makes them very useful for teaser campaigns or echoing longer-form creatives, similar to how on TV a longer ad would be shown to launch a campaign before being edited down to the core campaign messages.



It’s important to note that you must create separate ads for each format, as each format fulfills a different objective.

There are a number of advanced advertising options for advertisers looking to drive more specific actions:

  • Trueview for Shopping – if you use Google Merchant Center (a tool that helps you upload your store and product data to Google and make it available for Shopping ads and other Google services) you can use your existing Merchant Center product data to generate shopping cards that display your products as part of your TrueView ad.Up to 6 shopping cards may appear on a video ad at a time. It would be a solution for advanced advertisers who are familiar with the Merchant Centre and Shopping feeds.


  • Universal App campaigns – allow you to promote your app across YouTube, GDN, Search and within the Google Play store.


The premium offering is the Masthead, a customizable creative that runs on the top of the YouTube homepage for 24 hours in your chosen market. It is similar to a homepage takeover on a premium publishing site.



This placement is bought at a fixed price, booked on Cost-Per-Day basis, the price of which varies by market. Placement such as this is generally used for a large-scale campaign such as a launch or rebrand or it can be popular for movie releases and trailers.


Although it can be a very expensive media buy, given its prominence, it does have great potential reach.

Action Point 


PS: I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you could drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.

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