Rasheed Ahamed
Rasheed Ahamed 1 October 2020
Categories Advertising

Best Ad Sizes for Your Next Display Ad Campaigns

Unless you are a well-known brand, it’s hard to ignore the role paid ads play in your customer acquisition and overall marketing strategy. Regardless of the industry, services or products, you can almost always reach your target audience via online ads these days. That being said, it’s not easy.

One, you have to spend a lot of time experimenting with different platforms and ad formats to find the right fit for your business. Two, even when you do, you need to change your campaign strategy based on the goals. While there can be a plenty of factors influencing the success of your ad campaigns, your job should be to keep it to a minimum. In other words, minimize the number of variables so that you can spend your time and money on the few remaining factors to optimize the campaigns. 

In this article, we are going to look at the most-suitable ad sizes for your display campaigns. If you have finalized the sizes, then you can spend time on creative and messaging. As you probably know, banner blindness is one of the big concerns for marketers and display ad CTR isn’t getting any better. So, going with the right ad sizes can increase your chances of getting viewed and CTR as well

Let’s dive in. 

Sidenote: At Automatad, we studied over 2 billion display ad impressions from hundreds of websites to know what are the most-used ad sizes, how much do they cost (CPM), CTRs, and more. With the data in hand, we’ll be able to figure out the best ad sizes for your campaigns based on the overall goal.

Brand Awareness Display Campaigns:

Brand awareness campaigns are the most common one run by marketers from small to medium size businesses. In fact, 77% of marketing leaders say a strong brand is critical to their growth plans and there will be 5-7 brand interactions before a consumer remembers a brand (Source). In B2B, it will require more interactions. 

Brand awareness, as the name suggests, aims to increase the awareness of the brand in question. This means you need to reach more users across the devices. So, it’s best to go with the ad sizes that are widely used and in demand. 


You’ll be able to reach users across the open web effectively. 


When it comes to mobile devices, just two ad sizes are what you need. And, it’s no surprise. As mobile screens can’t accommodate larger or vertical ad sizes, 320x50 and 300x250 accounts for more than 85% of the impressions. 

320x50 or mobile leaderboard unit gets ~ 50 percent of all impressions on mobile and 300x250 (medium rectangle) gets 40 percent of the impressions. So, with just two sizes, you’ll be able to reach every user on the mobile. 

Ad Size (delivered)

% of Total Impressions






Are you targeting desktop as well? Then, try larger ad sizes. When it comes to desktop, you need to have three sizes in mind while creating your ads. 

728x90, called as desktop leaderboard, is the most popular desktop display ad on the open web. It typically goes at the top of the page (above the fold), so you can expect better viewability and click-through rates. 

160x600, vertical ad unit accounts for ~20 percent of the impressions on desktop. Similar to leaderboard units, these sizes tend to have better CTR as well. One reason is the placement of the size — sidebar and other is the verticalness. 

300x250, medium rectangle units are also common desktop and placed in-between the content. They tend to have higher viewability as users scroll past them to read the content on the page. 

Ad Size (delivered)

% of Total Impressions







Performance Marketing Campaigns:

Performance marketing campaigns don’t aim to reach more users. The goal in this case is to maximize conversions. Whether it is an app install or a sign up form, your job, as a marketer is to increase CTR and hit the conversion goal.

So, ideally, you need to use the sizes with high CTRs. 


As we already saw, just two ad sizes account for most of the impressions on mobile devices. And, of those two, 300x250, medium rectangle has a better CTR than the mobile leaderboard, 320x50.

This doesn’t mean you should only use medium rectangle sizes. You can experiment with both in 2:1 ratio and then track the results. After all, ad creative still plays an important role in CTR and with better messaging and value proposition, you might be getting better results from both the sizes. 



On desktop, vertical and larger units tend to perform better. 970x250, dubbed as billboard has the highest CTR and IAB list the size under ‘Rising Star’. This means you can expect that the demand for the unit to go up in the near future. 

From the chart below, you can see that vertical size, 300x600 has better CTR as well. If you have a lenghty pitch, it’s the one to go with. 



The way we run display ads are changing rapidly, thanks to the technological advancements in the industry. You can dynamically change the message, content of the creative, and more. But one thing is pretty much fixed beforehand — sizes. Go with the right ad sizes and diligently track the performance and optimize accordingly. 

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