Display advertising is the process of placing advertisements on third-party websites to attract users to take a specific action. In other words, display advertising uses a push approach in which users who see these ads are specifically targeted, either because of remarketing campaigns or because they are looking at a website relevant to a business’s product or services.
Statistics show that an average US user sees around 63 display ads per day. Display advertising can be divided into three general categories:
- Site placement advertising: In this type of display advertising, the marketing team chooses the websites on which they want to display their ads.
- Contextual advertising: Networks place ads on relevant websites, such as showing an ad for cat food on a pet adoption website.
- Remarketing: Remarketing ads appear in front of individuals who have visited a company’s website or post-click landing page but left without completing the appropriate conversion goal.
Display advertising applies to any type of image, banner, or text advertisement placed on a website. More specifically, display advertising can take one of the following forms:
- Banner ads can appear at the top of a website in a “banner” format.
- Rich Media ads include interactive elements, such as video, audio, and clickable features.
- Interstitial ads appear as web pages to users before they are directed to the original page they requested.
- Video Ads on YouTube’s advertising platform, as well as social networks like Instagram and Facebook, allow companies to connect with their potential audience on a more personal and relevant level.
While the process of display advertising is similar to a search network, display targeting goes far beyond keywords.
- Keyword Targeting allows Google to display ads alongside content on websites that contain defined target keywords.
- Demographic Targeting allows businesses to target an audience based on a website or audience’s basic demographic profile.
- Placement Targeting allows companies to choose which website(s) their display ads appear on.
- Topic Targeting allows users to target a group of websites that fit within a certain topic.
- Interest Targeting utilizes Google’s access to several data-points on its users, which allows companies to serve display ads based on what users are entering into the search engine.
Display advertising can be used as an umbrella term to include all online advertising. The term “native advertising” refers to a form of advertising that tries to match the content of the platform to make the ad more consumable to users. Native ads are mostly found on social media, such as promoted posts on Twitter, and look like part of the editorial flow of the page. Display ads call out for attention, while native ads blend in with web pages and focus on soft selling.
Finally, most display and online advertising campaigns are charged on a cost per click (CPC) basis. Every time the user on a search engine, such as Google, clicks on a company’s ad, it will be charged an amount based on their overall bidding strategy.
Why Display Advertising Matters
Display advertising is an important digital marketing strategy because it showcases a business’s products and services in a variety of ad formats that have the potential to reach users across millions of websites. Display advertising allows companies to choose a style and advertising format that will help them achieve their goals. Thanks to the Google Display Network (GDN), companies can access millions of websites directly from their Google Ads account. Furthermore, because of GDN’s reach, businesses can target an accurate audience by placing advertisements on the right websites using demographics and geo-targeting. Finally, clicks, impressions, and conversions can be tracked by Google Ads and Google Analytics for more specific performance and engagement tracking and analysis.
Display advertising matters because it builds brand awareness and receives clicks, conversions, and sales from users who might not have become aware of the company otherwise.
Common Misconceptions of Display Advertising
There are a variety of misconceptions about display advertising. First, some believe that businesses should see success in a single advertising campaign. Sometimes, prospective customers need time to consider their purchases. If companies want to see real results from display ads, they need to run a consistent display advertising program over a longer period of time.
Second, some believe that display advertising is only valuable for brand awareness. This misconception leads marketers to think of advertising as an afterthought. Actually, display advertising can be used strategically as part of an integrated marketing campaign to drive awareness, drive conversions, educate potential users, and speed up the sales cycle.
Third, there is a myth that if no one clicks on the display advertisements, it means they did not work. In reality, marketers should ask themselves: what is the correlation between these advertisements, website visits, and revenue? The default metric for display advertising is by CTRs (how many people click on the ad) or impressions (how many people see the ad), but this data does not demonstrate how successful the ads have on engagement and education levels.
Fourth, marketers worry that display advertisements don’t reach the right person. However, today’s technology allows marketers to use machine-learning algorithms to collect and evaluate user behavior for targeted ad placement..
Display advertising is a highly effective and cost-effective option thanks to the programmatic technologies that allow digital marketers to target key users and convert clicks to revenue.