Google Responsive Display Ads: Pros and Cons of Using Them

Google responsive display ads blog graphic by Sales & Marketing Technologies

February 9, 2021

Google responsive display ads are a great way to reach people while they’re browsing websites, watching a YouTube video, checking their Gmail, or using mobile devices and apps. They appear as “native” ads, blending into the publisher’s site to drive more traffic to your site or app. Get a better understanding of the default ad type for the Google Display Network to see if it’s right for your display campaign.

What Are Google Responsive Display Ads?

Responsive display ads first debuted in 2016 and became the default ad type for display advertisers in 2018. They can be used in both standard Display campaigns and Smart Display campaigns. All you need to do when creating a responsive display ad is upload your assets and Google will take it from there by automatically generating ads to be shown on the Display Network.
Google responsive display ads interface 

Responsive Display Ad Format

Simply input your images, video (optional), and copy into the Google Ads interface and your responsive display ad will be automatically generated. The ad format includes:
  • Images and logos (at least 1 landscape image and at least 1 square image)
  • Headlines (up to 5; 30 characters each)
  • Video (optional and up to 3; must be embedded from YouTube)
  • Long headline (90 characters)
  • Descriptions (up to 5; 90 characters each)
  • Business name (25 characters)
Google uses machine learning to determine the optimal combination of assets for each ad slot based on predictions from your performance history to improve performance.

Benefits of Responsive Display Ads

There are several benefits of responsive display ads that make them an attractive option for both business owners and digital marketers.

Saves Times

Since Google is combining the assets, you or a designer won’t need to design the ad, unlike a standard display ad. This also reduces overhead for managing ad portfolios so more time can be dedicated to performance improvement.


Responsive display ads allow you to easily change the images and messaging. You even have the ability to split test messaging and imagery to optimize your ads.

Broader Reach

Since multiple assets can be uploaded per asset type, Google automatically adjusts the ad to fit just about any available ad space. For example, a responsive display ad could appear as a dynamic text ad on one site and a native banner ad on another.

Dynamic Remarketing

You can use responsive display ads with dynamic remarketing by creating and attaching a feed to your campaign. Doing this will show personalized content to people who previously visited your site, increasing the possibility of a conversion.

Reasons You May Not Want to Use Them

While responsive display ads have their advantages, there are a couple of reasons why you may not want to use them for a campaign. Here are two, in particular, you should consider when deciding between responsive and standard display ads.

Less Brand Control

One of the downsides of automating ads is that you’ll lose some control of how your brand is represented. With standard display ads, you know exactly how the ad will look because the image is static. On the other hand, there’s always that chance with responsive display ads that the generated result won’t come out as you would want.

Regulatory Requirements

If you’re required to disclose legal information in your ads, there are two issues you can run into with responsive display ads:
  • The legal text takes up most of the description space
  • The legal text might not display every time in every ad
Advertisers that face regulatory requirements will probably find that responsive display ads aren’t right for them.

Diversify Your PPC with Responsive Display Ads

Whether you’ve been using responsive display ads for a while or considering them for the first time, it’s beneficial to diversify your PPC advertising so you can enhance performance and get a higher ROI. A great way to improve your Google Ads campaign is to split test your responsive display ads to see what resonates with your audience better. Partnering with an experienced digital marketing agency, like Sales & Marketing Technology, to optimize your PPC campaigns can also significantly increase traffic and conversions.
Call 407.682.2222 or go online to schedule a free 30-minute strategy session to explore Google Ads for your business!

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