How to Become a Pro at Creating Successful Google Banner Ads

Wouldn’t it be cool to see your brand’s name plastered on a mega screen in Times Square? It would be awesome to have thousands of New Yorkers and tourists see your ads alongside the major brands. Hold on, reality check!

Times Square is a high traffic area that squeezes as many ads as possible into a few city blocks, and those ads cost around $5000 per day. Whoa! Meanwhile, Google also seized a high traffic opportunity to get brands in front of thousands of eyes – but with an internet audience instead.

Google banner ads won’t make you Times Square famous, but it does offer a cost-effective way to build your brand and has its unique advantages.

What Are Google Banner Ads?

Google Banner Ads (also known as display ads) are seen all over the internet as part of the Google Display Network. After being in service for 19 years, these are considered to be the first type of “digital ad.”

When you visit a website and see ads loading, those are likely Google Ads. They are seen prominently at the top, midway, and on the sidebar.

Websites make money by allowing Google to show these ads on their site. So there’s an incentive for these websites to generate traffic. Everyone wins! Google gets paid, the website gets paid, and you get your ad shown all over the internet.

What is the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network is made up of 2 million websites, videos, and applications across the digital landscape.

Google Display Network sites are in an agreement with Google to allow these ads to appear on their properties in exchange for getting a cut of the ad revenue.

Ever hear of click-bait? Well, those attention-grabbing headlines are intended to lure you to the website so they can earn ad revenue from your visit.

One day, as you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, you see a sensational headline in a post. You click on the link and here’s what you see…

An ad for 1800Contacts.

Google Banner Ads
And to the right, another ad for 1800Contacts and a Unicef ad at the bottom.

Are Banner Ads Worth the Investment?

Pop-up ads aren’t seen as much as in the past, but years ago they were everywhere. It was a nuisance that built up a distaste for digital ads in general.

Banner ad placement has improved by taking up screen real estate without blocking the view of the content. But people are still stuck in psychological patterns that have been confirmed and categorized by banner blindness studies.

So while it’s a challenge to capture the audience’s attention and the click-through rates are 0.35%, digital ads still have something called PEAR value. PEAR stands for Potential Eyeball and Retention.

Repetition is part of the marketing process. Consumers usually need several encounters with your brand before they are ready to covert.

So that’s why bigger brands (like 1800Contacts from the earlier example) even bother to continue with Google Banner Ads. They understand that brand awareness is an important part of the conversion process.

In spite of a low click-through rate and a fickle audience, GDN’s reach of 90% of internet users raises an advertiser’s hope for chance glances and peripheral viewing.

What Websites Will My Google Banner Ads Show Up On?

And how many websites are part of the Google Display Network, again? Google boasts a territory of 2 million digital spaces made up of websites, apps, and videos.

However, your ad won’t be seen on even close to 1 million websites, and that’s a good thing. Google uses cookies and algorithms to allow advertisers to target certain types of websites.

Cookies track user behavior online. This helps Google retarget users (more on this later) and determine what they are looking for or interested in.

Audience Types

  • In-market – Those who have been detected by Google to be in the market for a specific product or service.
  • Affinity – User search patterns reveal interests. This is helpful for lifestyle targeting.
  • Custom intent – Through their own research, an advertiser may know exactly what websites or digital properties they want to target.

This intelligent way of advertising means the ads will be more relevant to the audience. This aspires to reduce the odds that the ad is tuned out while offering the advertiser more value for their spend.

Google Banner Ads Can Be Used to Fit Any Budget

Banner ads are a budget-friendly way to get in front of your desired audience. How much you want to spend and for how long is up to you.

The average small business will spend $9,000-$10,000 per month on display ads. Costs are determined by the number of clicks and “views” the ad gets (impressions).

The average CPC (cost per click) on Display Network is under $1. The average CPM (cost per mile) is $2.80 per thousand views. These add up to your total spend.

Google Ads runs on a bidding system that gives advertisers control over their ad campaigns. In this system, you set the budget and this determines how Google runs your ads.

Google Ad Bidding Structure

  • Default bids – Without customization.
  • Custom bids – Set up with targeting specifics such as topics.
  • Bid adjustments – Allows changes and control over when and where ads are shown.

Google Ad Customization Options

Google Display Ads customization is made up of features. Let’s get familiar with them.

Enhanced CPC (Cost-Per-Click)

If Google detects a better chance of a sale, it automatically increases your bid to seize this opportunity. This allows your PPC budget to be spent in a smart way.

Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

This feature allows you to exceed the $2 bid cap as Google runs your ads based on conversions insight.

ROAS (Run a Target Return on Ad Spend)

Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could optimize your campaigns based on how much revenue you’re generating for each dollar you spend? This feature optimizes spend based on “return on ad spend” (ROAS).

Viewable CPM

vCPM (viewable clicks per mile) takes into account how likely it is that your ad was actually seen by a person (ad displayed for at least one second).

Can I Choose Who Will See My Banner Ads?

Display ad targeting with affinity and custom intent audience allows your ads to appear on websites that are more likely to draw your ideal prospects.

Say you sell fishing rods. You can set your ads to appear on websites in the category of those who are interested in fishing and related topics.

Marketing Success Comes From Display Ad Retargeting

People tend to have their attention constantly split a hundred different ways. Retargeting helps them recall that they still haven’t taken that action. Marketers have found that retargeting significantly boosts conversions rates.

People leaving a site is a common occurrence, but Google Banner Ads retargeting is a gentle tap on the shoulder to remind visitors to come back and pick up where they left off.

Our Top Tips for Google Banner Ads That Actually Convert

Finding your way around Google Ads service is only half the battle. Without actual ads to run, there is no ad campaign, so let’s go over some ways to make effective ads.

  • Use A/B Testing

Create different versions of your ad and have them compete against each other. If you’d like, you can test them with different audiences as well.

  • Avoid Generic Messaging

Banner blindness works against you, so bland or overplayed messaging is likely to be tuned out.

  • Find which Banner Ad Size is Best for Your Audience

There are various Google ad sizes. They come in different shapes and each performs differently. Google’s ad sizing tool is there to help!

  • Responsive Ads

The responsive ad format is the default for Google. You give it your images and copy and it generates digital ads that automatically fit the format of various websites.

  • Clear Display of Brand Logo

Your logo is a major part of brand recognition. Make a great impression on your audience by having a quality image file of your logo that is optimized for display ads.

  • High-Quality Image

How do your images look on the screen? Image size and resolution affect how images appear, so also optimize your images.

  • Easy to Read Headlines

Display ads have a small share of the screen real estate, so make sure your headlines are the best size in proportion to space and are clearly legible.

  • Aim For At Least 3 Ads In Your Ad Group

A campaign should have more than one version of the ad so you can feature different ideas or products. This is also how you test which ad performs best.


The Google Display Network is the perfect channel to build brand awareness. Your ads can be seen on websites all over the internet and it gives you some control over who sees it.

For those who want to make every dollar count with ad spend, Google Ad features allow you to make your spend more efficient.

Google Ads is a self-serve digital advertising platform that is relatively easy to navigate. Google provides plenty of guides and tools to help you ease into using the service. Give yourself a tour of Google Display Ad tools today!

Luke Heinecke

Luke Heinecke

Luke is the founder of Linear, a Utah-based PPC agency with an intense focus on helping clients increase conversion rates, grow their business, and greatly improve their ROI. If you like what you just read, you'll love getting your very own custom proposal.
Luke Heinecke

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