Last weekend was a great weekend. My sister visited me and, as usual, we drank good wine, ate yummy food, and started a discussion about the most popular banner sizes. (That’s what you do when your siblings visit you, right?). And I’m not kidding!

Here’s a simple explanation of why we discuss this after we’ve had a few glasses of wine. One reason is that we both love our jobs. Another reason is that she works as an account manager for tourism and hospitality businesses in Hungary. So, she knows far too much about these things.

In our conversation, she told me what the most popular banner sizes on their site are and some extra information– which led to today’s article. So, let’s jump in!

My goal today is to discover the most popular and effective Google Display Ads’ and paid banner’s sizes of all time.

Okay, I’ll admit it’s not that hard to do but it sounds like a fun research project ❤️

First, I’m going to share with you guys what I discovered about the subject by Googling around.

I wanted to see what Google, officially, has to say about Display Ads’ or paid banner’s sizes and which are the most effective in Programmatic Advertising. This is a great starting point although, we always have to remember that Google recommends what benefits them the most, and not necessarily what benefits the advertiser or the advertisee–and this is essential. PPC would be much easier if Google always did what’s best for us! (Alas, the highs and lows of capitalism are a subject for another day.)

Here they are, the top-performing banner sizes according to Google AdSense:

First place

What are the most popular banner sizes of all time?

300×250 – Medium rectangle 

It works for text ads, display ads, and mobile text ads.

“Performs well when embedded within text content or at the end of articles.”

 

Second place

What are the most popular banner sizes of all time?

336×280 – Large rectangle 

It works for text ads and display ads.

“Performs well when embedded within text content or at the end of articles.”

 

Third place

What are the most popular banner sizes of all time?728×90 – Leaderboard 

It works for text ads and display ads.

“Performs well if placed above the main content, and on forum sites.”

 

 

The winner here is the 300×250 – Medium rectangle! (If this surprised you, then this probably means you already began doing display PPC, oh, yesterday?)

Let’s examine another useful resource, which is the blog of one of the most popular banner creation tools, BannerSnack. BannerSnack’s blog–if you haven’t heard about BannerSnack, I recommend taking a look at my review — here I share some of my thoughts on the issue, and the company has some experience with this precise issue as well. 

Their list–I’m just comparing the top 3 sizes–is the same as Google AdSense’s list. But they share some additional information about why these banners are the best. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

300×250 – Medium rectangle 

This size accounts for 40% of all banner ads. This is a huge number. Just think about it, almost half of all Programmatic Advertising uses this size?! It’s interesting, but let’s come back to this a little bit later. One action item might be: if you have limited time or limited resources, you may want to focus on only using this one ad size. Note that this ad size is used on both desktop and mobile.

The other rate they share with us is the click-through rate (CTR) of the medium rectangle banners, which is 0.13%. Since this is almost half of all ads online, this number is probably close to the average click-through rate of all display and Programmatic Ads online.

336×280 – Large rectangle 

This popular banner’s frequency is only 1%, but its CTR is bigger than the first one’s; it’s 0.33%. This is why it takes second place on the top-performing ads list. Note that this is 2.5 times the click-through rate!

728×90 – Leaderboard 

The third top-performing banner size is the leaderboard. Its frequency is 25% of all online ad inventory, but its CTR is lower than the previous ones, it’s 0.08%. So, it’s an interesting mix: almost as common as the most frequent size but with a CTR of only 60% of the most common size.

As we can see the “medium rectangle” still holds its place as the best performing banner size.

Now let’s go back to the beginning of the study, where I mentioned that my sister told me what the most popular banner sizes are on their website.

The first most popular she highlighted is the billboard. Let’s see the definition that Google AdSense provides for this banner.

970x250 – Billboard

What are the most popular banner sizes of all time?“Also known as a ‘billboard.’ A brand-centric format that performs well when placed in a premium position on the page, e.g., above the main content of the page.

While demand from advertisers for larger ad formats is on the rise, the supply of available display ads for this ad size is currently limited.

 

The other one is–what a big surprise–the 300×250 – Medium rectangle. 

 

She also told me about the fact that mobile banners always have better CTR than desktop banners. 

This got me thinking even more.

Do you remember my remark above about how almost half of the Programmatic Advertising makes use of the Medium rectangle banner size? Let’s go back to that.

We already know from Google, that the medium rectangle banner can be used on desktop and mobile. Therefore, it’s quite logical that its frequency on the web is the biggest. 

But wait, if it works on all platforms, people click on them more often than on other banners, right?

Maybe those CTR statistics make marketers–rightly–think this banner is the most popular? That’s why they suggest that their clients use it? 

If enough experts suggest that, the frequency of those banners grows and if the frequency grows then the CTR increases and so forth.  

I’m thinking that maybe the medium rectangle only appears to be the best performing banner size. What if this is only because it’s the most common and therefore, everyone thinks it’s the most popular or even the most effective? What if this is all a vicious cycle? 🙂 

One thing is for sure, times are changing and I look forward to seeing how long the medium rectangle can keep its crown as the most popular banner size of all time!