Google Web Designer, a project launched in 2013, is described as a “free, professional-grade HTML5 authoring tool.” Although it’s been around for almost 3 years now, it’s still in beta mode. In AdWords, as of June 30, 2016, users are no longer able to upload display ads built in Flash, so HTML5 ads are the only way to go if you want your new ads to have animation. In addition, any remaining Flash ads in campaigns will stop running beginning in January 2017. It looks like Flash is finally in its final throes. Eerily similar-looking to Adobe Photoshop, the program lets you add images and text in layers and give each layer animation on a timeline.

Google Web Designer

What can Google Web Designer do?

To see some examples of things you can do with Google Web Designer, you can view the showcase on the project’s site. You can make expandable ads, fades, slide ins, and various layered effects, since the program allows you to layer images and text over each other. Although Google Web Designer is fairly flexible, in order to get ads correctly exported so that they can be uploaded, the code for the ad has to be edited so that it is considered valid and so that AdWords reads the dimensions of each ad correctly. This took a bit of trial on error on our part, but having ads as HTML5 instead of image files definitely make the process less time-consuming going forward if there are only text changes on the ads.

A Look Into the Future of HTML5 Ads

Although Google Web Designer is in desperate need of some TLC from its creators to work out all of the bugs, it is a great tool for those who know basic HTML and CSS and want to create animated ads. I wouldn’t recommend it for the beginner user, since as of now there are some features that need some tweaking to work correctly. In addition, I’ve noticed some issues after using it for several different files in the same session – sometimes ads will show up whited out (even though the graphic is still there). Since it’s been in beta for almost 3 years, it doesn’t seem to be much of a priority for Google at the moment, but that may soon change since Flash ads are finally being phased out for good. 

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