google ads logoYuza Taddeo

5 minute read

Google Display Ads: Best Practices For Using GIFs

Published 2022-12-13T06:00:00 by Yuza Taddeo

When you want to create a display campaign on the Google Display Network and Google Ads, the ideal technique to use for this campaign involves dynamic display ads. These ads allow you to add motion graphics and animations that should more effectively capture a user’s attention. The user might then respond by clicking on the ad in question.

However, it’s not possible for every campaign to have the time or budget required to develop a suite of display ads that are created with HTML5. Instead of implementing static image ads into your campaign, you could use .gif display ads, which provide a better balance between the costs of production and the final results.

The only problem with using .gif display ads is that GIFs can be difficult to upload directly to the Google Display Ads platform. While there are ways to bypass these problems, doing so isn’t always straightforward, which is why the following article is needed. Using GIFs in your display ads opens up many exciting opportunities, which gives you more reason to learn how to place these assets into your display ads.

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The Main Issue: Google Rejects .gif Display Ads

The main problem that advertisers run into when they upload .gif files to the Google Ads network is that the platform doesn’t always allow .gif assets to be directly uploaded for immediate use. When you attempt to upload a .gif asset, you might encounter a detailed error message that states what the issue is. However, there are times when the error message you receive doesn’t match the problem you’re experiencing, which makes it impossible to know how you can correct the issue.

For instance, you might receive an error message that tells you that flashing or strobing effects have been detected. The error message would then recommend that you set the GIFs frame rate to be lower than five FPS. In this specific scenario, the solution to your problem lies in how you’ve been exporting animations from Adobe After Effects to a .mov file. At this point, the technique you use to compress the .mov file and convert it into a .gif asset could tell you why the error message is popping up.

There’s a tricky workaround solution you can use with tools like Handbrake, Photoshop, and ez-gif if you want to get rid of the error message and make sure that your .gif asset is properly uploaded to Google Ads. However, this solution only worked some of the time. At other times, the assets were being denied. After experimenting with slight alterations to the aforementioned solution, the answer to the problem was discovered.

The Solution: Export GIFs as PNG Sequences

The solution to this problem involves exporting GIFs as PNG sequences instead of moving exporting the assets from After Effects to .mov and .mov to a smaller .gif file. Instead, the asset should be exported as a basic “PNG sequence” for every ad you wish to create, which allows the final asset to be a series of images as opposed to a movie that’s already been stitched together.

This technique eliminates the frame rate issue from before and allows the PNG images to be rendered at a much higher quality. The PNG sequence is then brought over to Photoshop to make the .gif files that can be uploaded directly to Google Ads. The exact process you can use to resolve this issue involves:

  • Creating a dynamic animation in After Effects that can be used for your display ads
  • Exporting the ad as a .png sequence
  • Importing the series of images to your Photoshop Timeline as “frames”
  • Customizing your timing, tweening, and frame rate
  • Exporting from the Photoshop tool into a looping .gif file

Some of the parameters that Google Ads takes into account when determining if a .gif asset will work on a display ad include:

  • Length of animation – Less than 30 seconds, which is recommended if you want to capture the user’s attention and keep them engaged
  • Maximum size – Around 150KB, which means that more basic animations should fall under these parameters
  • Looping options – While animations are able to be looped, they must come to a stop in 30 seconds or less
  • Speed of GIF ad – All GIF adds need to be slower than 5 FPS, which can be set in the Compositions Settings section of Adobe After Effect
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Uploaded Display Ad Specifications

Image ads that you create in Google Ads have some standard specifications that you’ll need to meet. For one, the only image types that can be used with Google Ads include PNGs, JPGs, and GIFs. As touched upon previously, the maximum size of any image is 150KB. However, sizes can differ by style and pixel.

Responsive Display Ads Specifications

Over the past decade, image ads have become considerably more advanced and are highly versatile. Along with Google Display Ads, the Google Ads platform now provides users with the opportunity to create Responsive Display Ads. These ads will use as much as 15 image assets that are combined with the descriptions and headlines that occur with a basic text ad.

At this time, Google takes the image assets and further resizes them to adhere to the display specifications for each individual user. You don’t need any technical skills to create a responsive ad. All that’s required is for you to provide Google with the video or image assets that you’d like to use.

The machine learning algorithms that Google uses will then serve these ads to users who are most likely to click on them. Keep in mind that data on the success of these images isn’t as easy for Google to collect as it is with standard image ads. While you’ll receive insights from Google Ads, it’s difficult to test different assets against one another for more granular data. These ads are highly effective when paired with remarketing campaigns since they are free to create.

Once you’ve determined which ad format you’d like to use, the next step involves uploading all of your images and making sure that your audience targeting is set to adhere to your campaign goals. The following details some of the best practices you should consider when implementing display ads.

google ads best practices

Avoid Text Covering More than 20% of Images and Animated Images

Make sure that the text you include doesn’t cover more than 20% of the images and animated images you upload to Google Ads. Doing so will cause the platform to deny the ad. If Google Ads disapproves of it, traffic might not reach your display campaign.

Use Purposeful Messaging

You should always use purposeful messaging when you’re choosing images or making banners to place in your ads. The unique message or sales proposition that your company offers should be visible and easy to understand. What does your business have that the competition doesn’t? If you can answer this question, you know what to include in your ads. One of your primary goals should be to get users to click on your ads, which is possible if you’ve included an effective message.

Include a Clear Call to Action

Make sure that you include a clear call to action as well. The simplest option is to include “Click Here” on the ad. However, doing so increases the likelihood that your ad will be disapproved by the Google Ads platform. Instead, you should include more engaging CTAs like “Contact Us Today” or “Buy Now”. Once this ad has been clicked, users should be sent to a landing page that would be appealing to them. It’s important that the user is able to quickly reach the information they were looking for.

Consistent Design

It’s highly recommended that your display ads always have a similar appearance as your website design, which means that the themes and colors should match. The user should be familiar with what they’re seeing when they arrive at your landing page. You can also capture a user’s attention by using contrasting colors with the CTA on your ad. Any text you place on the ad should be easy to read.

If you’re unable to develop your own designs and ads at the moment, Google has a stock image solution that you can use when making responsive search ads. Keep in mind, however, that these images will always come with a watermark, which is why it’s more effective when you design your own ads.

You should now have the tools you need to create and upload GIFs to Google Display Ads without encountering any serious issues. Whether you’re retargeting previous customers or want to develop an entirely new display ad campaign, making display ads should help you reach your marketing goals. Even though static ads can be effective, responsive display ads provide users with added variety and oftentimes perform better.

Yuza Taddeo

Yuza Taddeo

Bryt Designs

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