In 2012, Google introduced a new expandable advertisement format. Interior testing found these ads obtained 6-8x much more engagement than previous expandable ads — so in September 2014, the interactive advertisement format was revamped to run on mobile and desktop. Simply a few months later, the ad unit became obtainable to every Google advertisers.

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Over the last five years, these wealthy media ads — known as Lightbox ads — have developed into the perfect equipment for any kind of advertiser executing a branding campaign or seeking customer engagement.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

What is a Lightbox ad?

Lightbox ads are interactive ads on the Google display Network (GDN) that aim come quickly catch users’ attention v multiple images, videos, or a combination of both.

Users at first see a tiny ad which can be increased by click or hovering (for 2 secs or longer) ~ above desktop, or tapping ~ above mobile and tablet. Next, the screen is dimmed and also a ‘light box’ appears on the screen, mirroring your full advertisement unit that individuals can interact with:


Depending on the format, users have the right to either role through images or watch videos — so contrasted to single, static image ads, the Lightbox format allows for much an ext engagement from the offset.

They can additionally choose whether to click with to the equivalent post-click landing page.

Why must advertisers use Lightbox Ads?

In addition to recording attention much better and much faster than single image ads, Google Lightbox ads are helpful for multiple other reasons:

Seamless audience targeting

GDN Lightbox ads target civilization using all of the traditional Display Network audience solutions and also placement options — interests & remarketing, keywords, demographics, affinity audiences, etc.

Lightbox ads ~ above Google likewise use an intelligence optimization engine that tailors audiences based upon previously collected data. It learns i m sorry targeting methods have proven most effective in the past, therefore the level the audience engagement continues to boost over time.

Revamped, engaging content


One of the key benefits that GDN Lightbox ads is that they automatically resize come fit all standard IAB (Interactive proclaiming Bureau) ad spaces:


This automatically resizing allows your ads to appear in more locations, help you reach an ext of your potential audience.

Dynamic product advertising

Combinations the high-quality images, video, and audio deserve to enhance audience engagement and make a lasting impact when advertising different products.

Sony Electronics successfully used Lightbox image and video ads to advertise a vast array the products, including their 4K Ultra TV, Xperia smartphone, Playstation, soundbar, and more:



Deborah Gaudette, an elderly Vice chairman at global McCann, additionally had an excellent results v the advertisement format:

We made decision to usage Lightbox ads because we needed our content to achieve scale across the web. Our clients spend a many time, money and also energy creating video assets and also making sure they obtain seen by the many qualified, involved users is our peak priority. Google’s brand-new Lightbox ads help us make certain that happens.

A far better user experience

In enhancement to the benefits for advertisers, Lightbox ads additionally improve the user experience. By requiring users to click, tap, or float their mouse over the ad before that expands, it’s design to minimization accidental expansions.

Self-service vs. Custom Lightbox ads

Self-service Lightbox ads deserve to be constructed in either Google Ads or Studio.

The Google Ads Ready ad Gallery supplies pre-built display ad templates for advertisers to conveniently customize based on their marketing objectives and campaign goals:


Studio allows you to develop more facility creatives, and can include multiple level of content in one placement.

In contrast, custom Lightbox ads space third-party served HTML5 ads totally developed by creative agencies, according to Google Ads specs. This advertisement format need to be held in Studio, trafficked from project Manager, and implemented in Google Ads.

The benefit of using practice Lightbox ads is the there’s an ext flexibility in the appearance and functionality that the ads compared to all set Lightbox ads. However, having actually Custom Lightbox ads created by a third-party is naturally an ext expensive.

Google Lightbox ads specs

Image assets

Images will show up in both the photo gallery and thumbnails. Friend can construct up come 10 picture galleries through a maximum of 10 photos in every gallery.

Image specifications

File format: PNG or JPGFile size: 200KB maxImage dimension: 1024 x 1050 maxResolution: 200+ PPI for high-resolution imagesAspect ratio: No causing obligation ratio, however 16:9 fits ~ above most screen sizes and orientations

Image text

Descriptive captions, text, and CTAs: May be added to every imageMaximum length for SBCS language (such together English, French, Spanish):Title: 40 charactersText: 100 charactersCTA: 20 charactersMaximum size for DBCS languages (such together Chinese, Japanese, Korean):Title: 25 charactersText: 75 charactersCTA: 15 characters

Video assets

You can add videos come your ad from your YouTube channel, by uploading a video clip from her computer, or by choosing from freshly used videos. Each video clip requires its very own asset card.

Non-YouTube videos

Video Codec: H.264, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4 preferredAudio Codec: MP3 or AAC preferredOnly embraced for ads made through Google Ads templates

YouTube videos

Recommended max length: 4 minutesYouTube annotations and info cards will certainly be visible and also actionable on supported browsers


Lightbox video clip ads made through Google Ads templates will automatically start play the an initial video (without sound) once someone clicks to expand the advertisement on a machine that supports video autoplay (primarily desktop and some tablets).Videos will certainly still it is in click-to-play on expansion on cell phone devices.The an initial video will auto-play and extr videos will auto-play as soon as selected.If the user switches earlier to a ahead video, the previous video clip will remain paused until clicked.


Lightbox video ads will certainly auto-preview in-banner and will play without sound top top compatible devices (primarily desktop and part tablets).

Video cover photos (optional)

An alternate high-resolution image to show before the video is played and in the background if the video clip is play (if you don’t upload a video cover image, the advertisement will usage the video’s default thumbnail image, which might be low-resolution if the video clip doesn’t have actually high sufficient resolution).PNG, JPG, or GIF200KB maximum200+ PPI because that high-resolution imagesNo mandatory facet ratio, yet 16:9 fits ~ above most display sizes and orientationsInclude a play switch so users understand they space playable

Note: In enhancement to the above ad specs, there are also simple asset specifications to follow because that Lightbox ads produced with Google Ads templates, as well as map assets and also product legacy in part cases.

Bidding top top Lightbox ads

In the previous AdWords experience, there were two bidding options for Lightbox ads: viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions (vCPM) and cost-per-engagement (CPE) bidding.

In the new Google Ads experience, however, the only bidding strategy because that these ads is CPE. So, advertisers are charged only once the user engages with the advertisement — hovers on, clicks, or taps to broaden the ad and it has actually been checked out for at the very least 3 seconds.

Naturally, CPE bidding stretches your digital display budget plan further because you don’t salary if human being don’t expand and engage v the creative experience.

Grow customer engagement v Lightbox ads

Lightbox ads carry out marketers v countless avenues for creative campaigns across the Google screen Network. V a broad array of placement and also targeting options, these ads make it much easier to prosper brand awareness, boost customer engagement, and in turn, boost post-click conversions.

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To create the many optimized Google Lightbox ad, download the Digital advertising Reference overview for the many up-to-date info on ad types, specs, and also examples.