Advertising online is nearly inescapable. It’s become a staple of the internet as most webpages, social media platforms, apps, and even email now contain ads.
Since ads appear in different places across millions of locations, ad units need to be made in a variety of sizes to fit different placements. However, ad sizes must be fairly standardized to facilitate the volume of ads and ad placements. Publishers must know how much room to dedicate on their sites to different ad types, such as display ads. Advertisers need to design ads easily to fit the standards so they can be displayed across multiple placement locations.
So, a set of standard ad sizes has emerged which allows publishers, advertisers, and ad networks to work quickly and efficiently to optimize the ad buying and selling process.
In this article, we will explain how display ads are used, the most frequent placements and common ad sizes, and the best performing ad sizes.
What are Display Ads?
Display ads are a type of online advertisement that combines images and text. Also called banner ads or digital billboards, display ads are embedded online ads that are often presented as a static image, such as a JPG or PNG. Displays advertising is also available as video ads or GIFs.
Banner ads are generally designed to be eye-catching and noticeable. They rely heavily on imagery rather than text and may or may not include a button encouraging site visitors to click. They combine copy and visual elements, generally with some form of a call to action (CTA) that leads users to landing pages or websites.
Banners ads are aptly named because they show up on a webpage in a banner ad format at the top, side, or bottom of the page. These are classified as high-traffic locations that generate higher conversions. While standard banner ads use a standard ad format, placement can vary on publishers’ websites.
What are Banner Ads Used For?
The main purpose of banner ads is to drive traffic to the advertiser’s business. Ads are specifically designed to grab a user’s attention and to get them to interact with them. Banner ads are effective at driving traffic to websites and selling products online. Strong visuals and creative display ads can generate significant interest.
Display ads can be used for several different purposes as part of an advertiser’s digital marketing strategy, including:
- Brand awareness
- Product sales (eCommerce, B2C, DTC, and B2B)
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
As such, they are one of the most popular ad formats online. However, there are also other ways for publishers to monetize their websites, including affiliate marketing.
Advertisers often launch an ad campaign that uses multiple ad sizes as part of their display campaign to attract potential customers.
One of the most effective types of banner ads is remarketing. When someone visits your website, a cookie is registered in their browser. As they leave your site and go elsewhere online, you can serve ads that draw them back to your website. Some advertisers develop extremely sophisticated ad buying strategies around third-party cookies, targeting users with specific ads depending on which website pages someone visited.
By targeting users that have already visited your website, you can increase the effectiveness of ads. Remarketing ads have a clickthrough rate (CTR) that is ten times higher than typical display ads.
Display ads are a staple of the internet advertising ecosystem and are an affordable option for advertisers. For publishers, they represent a significant opportunity to generate revenue.
Display ads can quickly convey messages and are easy to create. Using an ad network, display ads are also easy to manage. By placing a small snippet of code on a publisher’s website, ads can automatically display. Your ad network will handle facilitating the ad buys, providing publishers with a mostly passive revenue stream.
Using programmatic buying and selling tools, more than a billion dollars of display ads are bought and sold every day.
Banner ads were the first type of ad used on the internet, but they have come a long way since then. Publishers can offer innovative ad formats to earn revenue. While there are standard sizes, advertisers can do a lot within the ad formats to drive traffic.
What are the Most Common Display Ad Sizes?
There are various ad sizes across different platforms, especially when it comes to social media advertising.
However, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) helped the industry develop guidelines for standardized banner and display ads so that there would be some consistency across major platforms. This makes it easier to buy and sell ads.
The most common display ads sizes are:
- Small square ad: 200 x 200
- Square ad: 250 x 250
- Banner ad: 468 x 60
- Leaderboard ad: 728 x 90
- Inline rectangle ad: 300 x 250
- Large rectangle ad: 336 x 280
- Skyscraper ad: 120 x 600
- Wide skyscraper ad: 160 x 600
- Half page ad: 300 x 600
- Large leaderboard ad: 970 x 90
Google Ads and other ad networks recognize these standards for their ad inventory.
The IAB also released additional standard ad unit sizes several years ago in response to the growth of mobile advertising and to accommodate social media, mobile video, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 360-degree video ads. These include:
- Smartphone banner ad: 300 x 50 or 230 x 50
- 20 x 60 ad: 120 x 60
- Mobile phone interstitial ad: 640 x 1136, 750 x 1334, or 1080 x 1920
- Feature phone small banner ad: 120 x 20
- Feature phone medium banner ad: 168 x 28
- Feature phone large banner ad: 216 x 36
Social Media Ad Sizes
More than 4.55 billion people are active on social media platforms in 2022, and that number continues to grow. It’s up 9.9% from 2021, adding some 400 million new users that started with a new social account. Social media ads also continue to grow in popularity in the ad space, forecast to exceed $226 billion in 2022.
With the rise of social media advertising, specific ad sizes have been created to fit some platforms including Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Ad Sizes
Facebook’s official statement on ad units focuses more on proportionality and image quality than it does on ad sizes, but here are the standardized Facebook ad image size metrics that have emerged. Banner ad sizes include:
- Facebook feed image ad: 1200 x 628
- Facebook feed video ad: 600 x 600 or 600 x 315
- Carousel ad: 1080 x 1080
- Right column ad: 1200 x 628
- Facebook Marketplace ad: 1200 x 628
- Instant articles ad: 1200 x 628
- Facebook stories: 1080 x 1920
- Facebook collections: 600 x 600
Instagram Ad Sizes
Instagram focuses mostly on imagery and video. The most common ad format for an image ad or video ad on Instagram include:
- Single image ad: 400 x 500
- Video ad: 400 x 500
- Carousel ad: 1080 x 1080
- Story carousel ad: 1080 x 1920
- Instagram slideshow: 600 x 600
- Instagram story ads: 1080 x 1920
Top-Performing Ad Sizes
As you can see, there are plenty of choices when it comes to ad formats and ad sizes. However, they are not created equal. Some ad types perform better than others regardless of which platform they appear on. There can also be a significant difference in performance in different countries.
The top performing ad sizes are:
- Medium rectangle ad: 300 x 250
- Large rectangle ad: 336 x 280
- Leaderboard ad: 728 x 90
- Large skyscraper ad: 300 x 600
- Mobile leaderboard ad: 320 x 50
Medium Rectangle Ad: 300 x 250
Certainly the most prevalent ad size online, it is also considered the best performing. When placed above the fold, they tend to generate the highest revenue opportunities for publishers and the highest clickthrough rates for advertisers.
You may also hear medium rectangle ads referred to as an inline rectangle or MCU, which stands for mid-page unit or multi-purpose unit.
Large Rectangle Ad: 336 x 280
The larger rectangle ad provides a slightly bigger canvas for advertisers, allowing them to expand their messaging. This format also performs well for advertisers but is less common for publishers since most prefer the standing 300 x 250 rectangle.
Leaderboard Ad: 728 x 90
Leaderboard ads appear at the top of the page below the navigation and above the page content. They are incredibly popular and generate high demand.
Large Skyscraper Ad: 300 x 600
Large skyscraper ads are sometimes called half-page ads, which is interesting because they don’t take up half the page. They do take up a fair amount of real estate and are very noticeable due to their size — about twice as large as a medium rectangle or large rectangle.
Mobile Leaderboard Ad: 320 x 50
Of all the ad sizes available for mobile, the 320 x 50 mobile leader is the most popular for use in mobile browsers and apps. It makes up more than 10% of all ad inventory worldwide. These ads are generally displayed at the bottom of the screen and can be images or text-based ads.
One of the biggest reasons the ad performance for these ads is better is because they fit perfectly on desktops, mobile phones, or smaller mobile devices. Since mobile webpage traffic now makes up nearly 59% of all internet traffic, mobile ads have become essential for marketers. Properly formatted ads in standard sizes will display best on a webpage, whether it’s mobile or desktop. Using a high-performing ad unit will increase your odds of success.
Among these, just two sizes — 300 x 250 and 320 x 50 — now account for more than 80% of publisher revenue from programmatic ads on mobile. For desktop sites, the 728 x 60 leaderboard ad is the top performer.
While these handfuls of sizes generate the best results for advertisers and the most revenue for publishers, you’ll want to evaluate your options. The more ad sizes that you offer as a publisher, the more opportunity you have to sell ads.
You will likely want to test different ad units, the number of ad units, and ad placements to determine which perform the best for your website, mobile site, or app. There’s a fine line between too many and too few ads on your site. Too few can limit your ability to earn revenue. Too many can drive visitors away. Most publishers benefit by testing various combinations to find the sweet spot that balances the user experience with optimal monetization options.
A/B testing is an essential part of optimizing layouts for publishers and can provide the data you need to maximize your results.
Find the Perfect Ad Sizes and Placement to Maximize Your Revenue
When building out your blog or website, there are plenty of different ad sizes you need to be aware of. Optimizing for the common banner ad sizes will help generate more money. You’ll also need to provide the right balance between ads and high-quality content to avoid negatively impacting the user experience.
When it comes to monetization, where your ads appear will also make a significant difference. Ad placement locations often determine whether ads get seen and clicked. By putting your ad inventory of display ads in the right places, you can drive more conversions.
Partnering with an experienced ad network, such as Newor Media, can help you determine the best banner ad sizes, appropriate ad inventory, and ad placement to maximize your earning potential. In fact, one of the key differences between an ad network like Newor Media and Google Ads or Google AdSense is that you can get hands-on expertise. Google is mostly a self-service platform with minimal support while Newor Media has a team of experts to help optimize your ad units.
Reach out to Newor Media to learn more about monetizing your website with the perfect ads for you.