which ad format is recommended for driving action?

by Mohammed March 06, 2021
which ad format is recommended for driving action

If you want the answer to “Which ad format is recommended for driving action?”, there are two conflicting answers to this question: Responsive ads and TrueView ads, with the majority leaning towards responsive ads.

To me, responsive ads are recommended for driving action. Want to know why? Read this in-depth article to get deeper insights.

Out of the four options, two are incorrect: Lightbox ads and image ads.

Different types of ads will bring different results, even if the differences are subtle.

There is a lot that goes into driving profitable action from paid Google advertisements. So, while your ad’s title, headline, description, graphics, and call to action are also important, driving action also depends on the ad format.


Which Ad Format is Recommended for Driving Action: TrueView or Responsive Ads?

While both formats are aimed at getting people to take action, a responsive ad format is recommended for driving action.

Responsive ads are crafted by artificial intelligence. You upload a variety of creative elements of your ad and the system produces the best combination to show on different platforms.

Multiple ad locations, visual appeal, greater reach, and engagement potential of dynamic ads make them suitable for driving action.


Elements of an Ad

To develop effective ads, you need to understand the anatomy of an ad.

Irrespective of the ad format you choose to market your business, the basic components of an ad remain the same.

Let’s look at each one of them.


The headline or the title of an ad is what your audience will see first. This is the component that grabs the attention of the audience, enticing them to read more.

So, you need to make it captivating. And although the role a headline plays is crucial; you don’t get a generous space for it. You have to sum up your message in a few words.

To make your audience read more,

      • Highlight the main selling point of your business
      • Try to address the emotions of your audience
      • Make them curious about your product/service


Sub-headline, as the name suggests, complements your headline. You can complete the message in a sub-headline if you couldn’t do it in the title.

You don’t have to include it if you don’t want to. However, it’s an important part of an ad.

A perfect sub-headline helps the reader transition from the headline to the description.


The next thing your audience is going to see is the description. It allows more space, so you can deliver your message across in more detail, improving the chances of conversion.

It gives you the chance to expand on the benefits your product/service offers. You can show testimonials to gain their trust. You can offer a special discount to attract them in. And, you can add the pricing for your product.

But, although there is more space, make sure it doesn’t lose readers’ attention and offers to the point information.


What are Responsive Ads?

Responsive ads adjust their size according to the medium they are displayed on. You don’t have to change the dimensions of an image to display it on different platforms. So, a text ad on one platform may appear as an image ad on another platform.

Creating responsive ads on Google is easy. Creators just have to create headlines, images, descriptions, and logos. Just like any standard ad.

Not only does a responsive ad adapts to the shape of the platform it’s shown on, but it also adapts to the feel and tone of the websites.


Advantages of Responsive Ads

Responsive ads use artificial intelligence to optimize the content for different platforms for the best results. Google uses AI to land on the most appropriate combination of texts, images, logos, and headlines.

In addition to that, responsive display ads can save a lot of time. You will not need to create ads for different platforms manually. Google takes care of that efficiently.

According to Google, advertisers gain 10% more conversions when they use multiple inputs as compared to a single asset set.

Moreover, responsive ads can reach a wider audience as Google displays them on multiple platforms, ensuring more brand awareness as well.

Not only that, Google allows you to measure the performance of each element of a responsive ad and improve on them. For instance, if your headline is not performing well, you can use this information to write better headlines for your future ads.

To check the performance of elements of a responsive ad:

Go to ads and extensions in your Google ads account and select view asset details


How to Create Responsive Display Ads?

Creating a responsive display ad is a pretty simple task; Google’s artificial intelligence takes care of optimizing your ad elements (images, texts, and logo).

You just have to input your content and the ad network will use its resources to come up with converting ads on its own.

First of all, go to any campaign you want to add a responsive display ad to and Click on “ads and extensions”. You’ll see a + sign in front of it; click on it

which ad format is recommended for driving action

Now go to responsive display ad

which ad format is recommended for driving action


You’ll be redirected to the page where you can put all the details of your ad.

which ad format is recommended for driving action

You can upload images from your computer, stock photos from the internet, or you can use the scan website feature of Google to import media from your website by putting in its link.

Click on images and logos and a screen will pop up

which ad format is recommended for driving action


Put your website’s URL in the “Enter your URL” box. Google will scan your website and import media from it.

Alternatively, you can use “Upload” to upload your media from your computer. Or, you can hover over to “Stock Images” and find suitable images online for your responsive ad.

Now, add headlines and descriptions.

which ad format is recommended for driving action


Notice we said “headlines”? This is where responsive ads will require a little input from you. Submit at least 3 headlines that not only can grab reader’s attention but are similar to each other.

This way, you can make sure that your message remains consistent and irrespective of the medium your ad is shown on.

Now, write descriptions that sell.

which ad format is recommended for driving action


Write minimum of 3 varied-length descriptions so that the smart algorithm of Google can mix and match your ad elements to land on the best combinations.

After submitting all the elements, click on the Save button in the bottom left of the page.

which ad format is recommended for driving action

Your responsive ad has been created.


What are the other Google Ad Formats?

Google has been the most popular search engine for a while now. And, it’s only growing in popularity.

This makes it an important asset for businesses. Google ads allow you to reach relevant people cost-effectively.

now we have seen which ad format is recommended for driving action

While responsive ads are recommended for driving action. Different types of ads will bring different results, depending on your goals.

There are different ad formats that Google offers to marketers for promoting their businesses.

You can display these ads on Google affiliated websites or through the Google AdSense program. Let’s take a look at them separately.


Text Ads

Text ads, as the name suggests, are a basic form of ads. They are shown to the prospects in the form of simple text, ensuring minimum screen coverage and intrusion.

Text ads allow you to write up to 3 headlines, two descriptions, a headline, and a display URL.

The advantages of text ads are:

      • They are easy to create and manage
      • You don’t require any software to create a text ad
      • Your audiences will be able to easily consume text ads
      • A text ad is the cheapest ad format

However, the lack of graphics and visual elements make text ads boring and less enticing for viewers.


Video Ads

Video is the most impactful form of marketing medium these days. They are interesting and grab user attention instantly.

People like to see videos on social media and YouTube. So, when you put an interesting video in front of them, it has greater chances of engagement. This study speaks in favor of our statement.

The most viewed form of content on social media is video.

68% of people prefer to see videos to learn about the products they are interested in. Videos effectively convey your message. But, it’s important to keep your videos interesting and short in order to retain the viewers.

It is natural to think of video marketing as an expensive strategy. But, people who shy away from creating video ads don’t realize the ROI they will be getting.

Don’t just take our word for it; video marketing ROI satisfies 85% of business owners out there.

Plus, with the advancement of AI, you can now create a video ad within minutes, given that you have the script ready.

Some video makers can convert your script into an attractive video ad within a minute.

You can use tools like invideo to create awesome ads without having to do virtually any video editing yourself.

However, you will have to give your video a final tough as AI hasn’t reached that level of sophistication yet.


Lightbox Ads

Lightbox ads are a little different than other formats. A lightbox ad has a video as well as a picture and expands onto your screen when you click on it.

Otherwise, the video will play silently, grabbing the attention of the visitor.

The fact that a lightbox ad expands on your screen allows the user to engage with the ad without distraction.

A combination of images and videos can be used to make the user take action. Lightbox ads can be engaging but they are not recommended for driving action.


Image Ads

Image ads, as the name suggests, consist of images that show your business information and redirects the visitors to your website when they click on them.

Image ads can be placed anywhere on the web and in the display network. Image ads can be of different sizes. Not every image ad size will suit every digital space.

Generally, the larger an image ad, the more it costs. For this reason, smaller size ads are more suitable for driving conversions.

Image ad sizes include medium and large rectangle, leaderboard, and large skyscraper. The medium rectangle image ad takes optimum space, costs less, and delivers the message effectively.

Leaderboard ads are shown at the top of a page. They are good for improving brand awareness as you see them first when you land on a page.

Image ads offer a variety of sizes to deliver your message effectively. They are visually appealing ads that can be engaging and less interfering.


Dynamic Search Ads

The main difference between dynamic search ads and responsive search ads is that dynamic search ads fetch data from your website to create ad elements.

Like responsive ads, dynamic search ads also use AI technology to land on the best combination. Unlike responsive ads, you don’t have to upload ad elements like logos and images.

Dynamic search ads are tailored in response to the search terms that users use to reach your business. This way, you get traffic for the keywords you are not even targeting.

However, the ad is created by AI completely and you don’t have much control over it. So, it is possible to get inconsistent headlines and descriptions.

TrueView Ads

Why, for me, a TrueView ad is not the answer to “which ad format is recommended for driving action?” while for some, this ad format is great for driving action. We will see how.

For starters, it’s on YouTube; the second most used search engine in the world. So, you’ll be getting in front of a lot of relevant people using this ad format.

But, we are not concerned right now with the traffic volume; the question is whether they are good for driving action?

Have you ever skipped an ad after viewing it for 5 seconds on YouTube? You probably have. But, have you ever found that ad interesting and relevant and clicked on it to find out more? Probably, yes.

But, it’s less likely to stop watching a video and redirect yourself to another site. This is why I think a TrueView ad isn’t the recommended ad format for driving action, especially when compared to responsive ads (discussed earlier).

But, it doesn’t mean TrueView ads are not effective. It also depends on how you leverage this ad format to your advantage.

Types of TrueView Ads

There are 4 TrueView ad types:

In-stream Ads

In-stream ads are shown while someone is watching a YouTube video. They can skip the ad after 5 seconds or watch it entirely.

Advertisers are only bound to pay for such ads when the consumer watches them fully or for 30 seconds.

In-slate Ads

In-slate Ads are either shown like in-stream ads during a YouTube video, or they are shown right before the video starts. Advertisers have the choice to opt for any of the two options.

In-search Ads

Ads related to the keyword searched by someone on YouTube are called in-search ads. Advertisers pay for them when viewers watch them.

In-display Ads

These ads are placed on the top right corner of a video page.

Display ads can only be shown on the desktop and are of different sizes. These ads remain silent until the visitor clicks on them.

The ability to skip TrueView ads make this format effective in driving action because viewers get to choose which ad they want to watch. This means advertisers reach a more targeted audience, improving the possibility of conversions.


How to Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign on Google?

TrueView ad campaigns can be set up within your Google AdWords account. So, make sure you have an active account.

First of all, go to all campaign page of your Google ads account and click on the + sign.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign


After clicking on the plus sign, you’ll see a drop-down menu with the option “New campaign”. Click on it.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign


After selecting the new campaign option, a pop-up window will show asking you to select a goal for your campaign.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

We are creating a TrueView ad, but you won’t see any option that would redirect to a TrueView ad creation setup. You can select sales, leads, or website traffic to create a TrueView ad campaign.

I’m selecting website traffic for the sake of this guide.

After you select website traffic, you’ll be asked to select a campaign type. Now, since we want our ads to show in YouTube videos, we will select “Video”.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign


Next, you’ll be selecting the name of your campaign and the bid strategy. Choose any name relevant to your objective.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign


If you are creating your first TrueView ad campaign, it’s recommended that you stick with the “Maximum conversions” option.

Choose “Target CPA” when you know what your video target CPA is. If you want to start with target CPA, it’s important that you define your target CPA first.

The next step would be to select your daily budget for the campaign.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Select a budget that you want Google to spend to achieve your campaign objective. Then, choose the start and end times of the ad campaign.

You can select “None” to keep the campaign running for an indefinite period.

Next, select the country you want to target and the language your targeted audience speaks or understands.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign


Now, name your ad group.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Now you can tell Google the demographics of your target audience.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

This is quite powerful as you get to choose your prospect’s age range, marital status, income status, and gender.

Detailed targeting allows you to target a relevant and smaller group of people, which can increase the conversion rate for your campaign.

Now is the time to select the audiences you want to target.

You have two options here: Either search for your audience (Google will show a drop-down list based on your search term)

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Or, you can go to “Browse”, and explore other detailed options.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Google also allows you to create your custom audiences.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Just write a name for your custom audience and look for people with certain interests and intents.

It’s time to create your video ad now.

Set Up a TrueView Ad Campaign

Paste the URL of your YouTube video in the bar. Google will fetch the video link and ask you to write display URL, final URL, call to action, and headline.

Finally, hit the “Create Campaign” button.

The final URL is the one you want your viewers to redirect to. Your call to action should be compelling and direct people to that website.

Although your display URL and final URL can be the same, it’s better to make your display URL a shorter version of your final URL.

The headline of your video ad will be the primary text of your video ad.

Your TrueView video ad has been created. However, to let Google experiment, it’s important to make at least 3 variants of your video ad.

Alternatively, you can also change the headlines and call to actions of the same ad.

Let the system experiment and optimize your ad for 3 to 5 days before you make any changes.

Final Thoughts

The answer to the question “which ad format is recommended for driving action?” is responsive ads.

The ability of these ads to adjust according to the ad space allows a marketer to reach more people on different platforms.

When the reach is improved, the chances of conversions and profitable actions increase.

These ads don’t require much input from you as well. You just have to upload images and write headlines and descriptions. The rest will be taken care of by Google’s AI.

This way, you get to market your business on multiple platforms without having to do manual work.



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