Understanding the differences between responsive and static ads


Mar 1, 2024

Updated Mar 1, 2024

In the ever-evolving world of adtech, marketers and advertisers are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage their target audiences effectively. One critical aspect of this endeavor is finding the optimal ad format that delivers the best results. When it comes to display ads, two popular options stand out: Google responsive ads and ads with fixed designs. Let's delve into the differences between these two approaches and explore their respective advantages.

Harnessing the Power of Automation

Google responsive ads leverage the power of automation and machine learning to create dynamic and adaptive ads. These ads automatically adjust their size, format, and appearance to fit different ad spaces across a variety of devices and platforms. They are designed to maximize reach and engagement by tailoring the ad experience to individual users.

Responsive Display Ads pros and cons

Flexibility: responsive ads can adapt to different screen sizes, allowing advertisers to reach audiences on various devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. This flexibility ensures that ads are optimized for each user's viewing environment.

Time efficiency: with responsive ads, advertisers only need to provide a few creative assets, such as headlines, images, and descriptions. Google's machine learning algorithms then generate and test different combinations to determine the most effective ad variants. This automation saves advertisers valuable time in the creative process.

Optimization: Google's machine learning algorithms continuously analyze user behavior and performance data to optimize responsive ads in real-time. This dynamic optimization ensures that the ads deliver the most relevant content to users, improving engagement and conversion rates.

Limited control: Advertisers have less control over the exact appearance and arrangement of elements in responsive ads, as Google's algorithms make the decisions.

Design constraints: The dynamic nature of responsive ads can sometimes limit the creative freedom and ability to convey a specific brand message or design concept.

Precision and Control

On the other hand, ads with fixed designs offer advertisers more control and precision in crafting their ad creatives. Unlike responsive ads, fixed design ads are pre-designed with specific dimensions and layouts and do not automatically adjust to different screen sizes.

Fixed design ads pros and cons

Unparalleled creative control: fixed design ads empower advertisers with complete creative control over every aspect of their ad. From the layout to the color scheme, typography, and brand elements, advertisers can craft a visual experience that perfectly aligns with their brand identity. This level of control allows for greater customization and the ability to create visually stunning ads that capture the attention of the target audience.

Consistent branding: maintaining a consistent brand identity across various marketing channels is crucial for building brand recognition and trust. With fixed design ads, advertisers can ensure that their brand elements, such as logos, fonts, and color palettes, are consistently presented in every ad impression. This consistency reinforces brand recognition and helps establish a strong brand presence in the minds of consumers.

Tailored messaging: fixed design ads enable advertisers to tailor their messaging to specific target audiences more effectively. By carefully crafting the copy and visual elements, advertisers can ensure that their ad resonates with the intended audience. Whether it's highlighting unique selling points, conveying emotional appeal, or delivering a specific call-to-action, fixed design ads allow for more precise and impactful messaging.

Enhanced creativity: for advertisers with a strong creative vision, fixed design ads provide an outlet for artistic expression and innovation. By leveraging their design expertise, advertisers can create visually captivating ads that stand out from the competition. From intricate illustrations to stunning photography and bold typography, fixed design ads allow advertisers to push the boundaries of creativity and create memorable brand experiences.

A/B testing and optimization: while Google responsive ads rely on machine learning algorithms for optimization, fixed design ads offer the advantage of manual A/B testing and optimization. Advertisers can create multiple versions of their fixed design ads and test different variations to determine what resonates best with their audience. This hands-on approach allows for iterative improvements and optimizations based on real-time performance data.

Higher costs: creating fixed design display ads involves designing separate creatives for various ad placements and sizes, such as desktop banners, mobile ads, and social media ads. This process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, as designers need to create and optimize multiple versions of the same ad, tailored to each specific placement. Let’s not forget about the timing needed to approve all these creative ratios and variations. With every new ad size or platform, the cost and time investment for production multiply.

Ad performance metrics

Both Google responsive ads and ads with fixed designs offer unique advantages in terms of performance. Responsive ads excel in adaptability, higher CTR, and cost efficiency, while fixed design ads provide greater customization and control over branding.

One aspect where Responsive Display Ads fall short is in providing detailed insights into campaign performance. When utilizing Responsive Display Ads, your ads undergo testing by Google for a limited duration to determine the most effective combinations. Subsequently, Google's algorithm serves the ads it deems to be performing best.

While you do receive an overview of each asset's performance, the data segments provided by Google are restricted. The network offers only four criteria to estimate your ad's performance: learning, low, good, and best. Unfortunately, it does not provide visibility into which ad size, combination, or format was displayed at any given time. As a result, you must place trust in Google's judgment regarding ad serving decisions without having direct insight into the specifics.

CTR comparison:while comprehensive and verified case studies are scarce, media teams have suggested that RDA can yield CTRs up to 2x higher than static ads. The dynamic nature of RDA, which adapts to the size and format of different ad spaces, allows for more personalized and engaging experiences. This adaptability can capture users' attention and entice them to click on the ad, potentially leading to higher CTRs.

ROAS comparison: on the other hand, some media teams argue that animated fixed design banner ads, despite potentially having lower CTRs, can deliver better ROAS in the long run. These ads, with their fixed and unchanging design, may offer a more consistent brand message and visual identity. This consistency might generate better campaign performance over time, resulting in higher conversions and ultimately driving a higher ROAS.

The need for verified data: despite these claims, it's important to highlight the lack of verified and public data that directly compares CTRs and ROAS for RDA and static ads. While media teams provide valuable insights based on their experiences, it is crucial to have access to concrete case studies and metrics from different brands. Such data would enable advertisers to make informed decisions and tailor their advertising strategies according to their unique goals and target audience.


In the ever-evolving field of digital advertising, the debate between RDA and static ads continues. Moving forward, it is essential for brands and advertisers to conduct their own A/B tests and gather concrete data to determine the optimal approach for their specific campaigns.

To maximize the efficiency of your RDA campaign, it is crucial to provide a wide range of image and copy variations to allow for a higher number of combinations. This is where Viewst comes into play, as it was specifically designed to streamline and scale the production of assets for your advertising campaigns. Viewst not only simplifies the process of creating and managing multiple variations but also empowers designers working with prominent brands to easily scale complex and intricate ad designs, including HTML-based ones, with just a few clicks.

Viewst helps designers to optimize their RDA campaigns by providing a user-friendly platform for generating a multitude of image and copy variations. The platform's robust capabilities allow for the creation of visually stunning and engaging ads, ensuring brand consistency across different formats and platforms, and supports the creation of HTML-based ads, enabling designers to showcase interactive and dynamic content seamlessly.

Founder, CEO at Viewst
Founder, CEO at Viewst
Founder, CEO at Viewst

Victoria is the CEO at Viewst. She is a serial entrepreneur and startup founder. She worked in Investment Banking for 9 years as international funds sales, trader, and portfolio manager. Then she decided to switch to her own startup. In 2017 Victoria founded Profit Button (a new kind of rich media banners), the project has grown to 8 countries on 3 continents in 2 years. In 2019 she founded Viewst startup. The company now has clients from 43 countries, including the USA, Canada, England, France, Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia, etc.

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