New Advanced Format Options Available for Google Responsive Display Ads

For awhile now, we’ve been hoping for more format options and better-looking Responsive Display ads from Google. I know that some of our extremely brand image-conscious clients have even requested that we only run Banner ads and opt-out of Responsive formats altogether because they feel the quality does not align with their brand image.

Recently I was working on launching a new GDN campaign and I noticed a new dropdown field for ‘Additional Format Options’ during Responsive ad creation, so it seems like Google is moving in the right direction.

Since they’re pretty hidden and easy to overlook, I wanted to go over them in this post and walk through the new options that are available.

New Formats Overview

If you’re in ad creation for Responsive Display ads you’ll see these options just above the Ad URL options dropdown:

Once you click the carrot to open the dropdown you’ll see the three options: asset enhancements, auto-generated video, and native formats:

Let’s go over each option below.

Asset Enhancements

This feature gives Google the power to, supposedly, improve the look of your ads, including ‘smart cropping,’ zooming in on logos, and more. According to Google it may do any of the following:

Google’s post also gives some visual examples of the smart cropping feature specifically:

If you have a client that’s extremely brand image-conscious you’ll want to review these changes with them. You could even set up ad variant tests where some variants include the Enhancement option and others don’t to get some insight into performance differences.

On the surface, this upgrade seems like a positive one, but testing is recommended, especially since current reporting insights for Responsive ads is very bare-bones.

Auto-Generated Videos

The auto-generated videos option could be great especially for clients who lack creative resources. If you want these videos created, you’ll have to provide at least one logo and either 3 landscape images or 4 square images for Google to use.

According to Google, you’ll want to watch out for these issues that may prevent the videos from running:

  • Low image quality: blurred images, and images containing too much text.
  • Unacceptable content: racist or obscene images.
  • Text and logo on border: In general, we recommended not including a logo in images. Images with text or logos close to the border cannot be combined into auto-generated videos.
  • Duplicate images, or multiple images that are too similar.
  • Very long words requiring text wrapping.

Also note that if you’ve already uploaded video, the auto-generated videos won’t be created.

Native Ads

The Native ad format was already automatically opted in for Responsive ads, and you could see examples in the ad preview mode:

Now, this new field gives you the option to uncheck the box and remove this format if you’d prefer to opt-out.

For our legacy Responsive ads, we’ve seen that the Native formats box is already checked, but the asset enhancements and auto-generated video are not:

If you want to opt in to the asset enhancements and/or auto-generated video you’ll have to edit your existing ads, or if you set up new variants for testing they’ll be automatically opted in (for video, that is also contingent on if you provide enough creative variants, as mentioned above).

Additional Takeaways and Tips:

  • If you’re launching new Responsive ads be sure to uncheck any formats you want to opt-out of, as Google automatically opts you into all three for new ads.
  • Consider launching variants that qualify for auto-generated video (specs mentioned above) as totally separate ad variants so you can have some more insight into performance. Or, taken a step further, you could test variants with any/all of the new formats opted-in against variants where they are not to get additional performance insights.
  • Be sure to check back regularly on the ‘asset details’ performance reporting to help you monitor top-performing asset types and combinations and try to optimize accordingly. Although the reporting is limited now, we’re hopeful that Google will start rolling out some more detailed reporting features as additional formats are made available.

For now, these new features are optional but they might not always be. It’s a good idea to start testing them now to get a good handle on what is working best and what’s not working well for your campaigns.

Have you seen these new options available? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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