What is Display Advertising? Our Beginner's Guide

Have you ever wondered how businesses are able to visually promote their products or services online? Well, that's where display advertising comes in! The main goal of display advertising is to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to a website, and generate leads and sales. In this beginner's guide, we will explore the key features, types, benefits, targeting and optimization, and best practices of display advertising. So, let's dive in and learn more about this powerful tool for businesses in today's digital landscape!

Grayvault Staff
October 31, 2023

Have you ever wondered how businesses are able to visually promote their products or services online? Well, that's where display advertising comes in! The main goal of display advertising is to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to a website, and generate leads and sales. In this beginner's guide, we will explore the key features, types, benefits, targeting and optimization, and best practices of display advertising. So, let's dive in and learn more about this powerful tool for businesses in today's digital landscape!

Definition: What is Display Advertising?

Display advertising is like a digital billboard that businesses use to promote their products or services online. It uses visual elements such as images, videos, and graphics to catch the viewer's attention and persuade them to take action, such as clicking through to a website or purchasing a product. These ads can be found on websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps, and they come in various formats such as banner ads, pop-ups, and interstitial ads. 

Key Features of Display Advertising

Understanding the key features of display advertising can help businesses make the most of this powerful tool. Let’s go over some of the most important things to remember when it comes to display advertising.

Identifying Display Ads vs Native Ads

Native ads are a type of online advertising that blends in with the content of a website or app, making them less intrusive and more engaging than display ads. Display ads, on the other hand, are more visually striking and attention-grabbing, but they can also be more annoying and disruptive to the user experience. Both types of ads have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on the brand's goals and target audience.

Conveyance of Brand Message Through Visuals, Not Text

One of the key features of display advertising is the use of visual elements to convey a brand's message to its target audience. Visuals are proven to be more engaging and memorable than text, and they can also help to create an emotional connection with the audience. The biggest pro of display ads is the customizability to be able to match the look and feel of a brand's website or social media page, creating a consistent brand image across different platforms.

Ease of Creation and Placement for Advertisers

Display advertising is relatively easy to create and place, even for small businesses with limited resources. Advertisers can use self-service platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads to create and manage their display ad campaigns, and they can target their ads to specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Display ads can also be placed on websites and apps that are relevant to the brand's target audience, increasing the chances of reaching the right people at the right time.

Types of Display Advertising

Display advertising encompasses various formats and strategies that help businesses promote their products or services to a wider audience. By understanding the types of display advertising businesses can differentiate their brand, reach a wider audience, and increase conversions and sales.

Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is a type of display advertising that targets ads to users based on the content of the website or app they are visiting. For example, if a user is reading an article about travel, they may see display ads for hotels, airlines, or travel agencies. Contextual advertising is effective because it targets users who are already interested in the topic of the ad, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

Banner Ads and Other Visual Ad Formats Used in Display Advertising

Banner ads are the most common type of display advertising, and they come in various sizes and formats such as leaderboard, skyscraper, and rectangle. Other visual ad formats used in display advertising include pop-ups, interstitial ads, and video ads.

Benefits of Display Advertising

In the realm of digital advertising, the benefits of display advertising shine as a powerful tool that offers advertisers a multifaceted advantage. Let’s take a look:

Measurability

One of the key benefits of display advertising is its measurability. Advertisers can track the performance of their display ad campaigns in real-time, using metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions. This allows them to optimize their campaigns for maximum effectiveness and ROI.

Cost-Effectiveness

Display advertising is generally more cost-effective than traditional advertising such as TV and print ads. Advertisers can set their own budgets and bids for display ad campaigns, and they only pay when someone clicks on their ad or takes a specific action such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

Flexibility

Display advertising is highly flexible, allowing advertisers to customize their ads to match the look and feel of their brand and target audience. Advertisers can also target their ads to specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, increasing the chances of reaching the right people at the right time.

Complementary Nature of Display Advertising to Other Marketing Channels

Display advertising is complementary to other marketing channels such as search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing. Display ads can help to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to a website, while SEM and social media marketing can help to improve the website's search engine rankings and engage with the audience on social media.

Targeting and Optimization in Display Advertising

Targeting and optimization are essential to the success of display advertising campaigns. Display advertising campaigns without proper targeting and optimization are like shooting arrows blindly into the air, with no guarantee of hitting their mark. Just like an archer must aim their arrow at a specific target and adjust their aim based on feedback, advertisers must target their ads to a specific audience and optimize them based on performance data to ensure they reach their intended audience and achieve their desired outcome

Targeting

Advertisers can target their ads to specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, and they can optimize their campaigns for maximum effectiveness and ROI.

Google Ads offers an automated targeting option that's quite handy for businesses. It helps them discover high-performing audiences by analyzing existing audiences and landing pages. The interesting part is how Google Ads continually improves campaign performance by learning which audiences yield the best results. Consequently, it displays ads primarily to those well-performing audiences, thereby enhancing the likelihood of achieving conversions and a positive return on investment (ROI). 

Optimization

When it comes to optimizing your ads, there are some cool techniques you can use:

A/B Testing

A/B testing is when you test two versions of the same ad with slight differences to see which one performs better with your audience. Think of A/B testing as a friendly competition between two ad versions to see which one rocks the stage better.

Retargeting

Now, retargeting is like that friend who never forgets a face. It shows ads to folks who've crossed paths with your business before, giving you a better shot at turning them into customers.

Lookalike Targeting.

And then there's lookalike targeting, which is like finding new pals at a party who are just like your current buddies. It helps you target users who share characteristics with your existing customers, opening the door to a fresh audience. 

Best Practices for Effective Display Advertising

To succeed in display advertising, you need a clear plan, well-executed ads, and ongoing improvements. Here are some best practices:

1. Set Clear Goals: Know exactly what you want to achieve. It is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve through your advertising campaign.


2. Understand Your Audience: Figure out who you're trying to reach. Research and analyze your audience's demographics, interests, behaviors, and needs.


3. Create Eye-Catching Ads: Make sure your ads look great and grab attention. Creating visually appealing ads that capture your audience's attention is essential for driving engagement and conversions. This involves using high-quality images, videos, and graphics, as well as compelling headlines and copy


4. Target the Right People: Show your ads to the most relevant audience. This involves using targeting options such as location, interests, behaviors, and demographics.


5. Constantly Improve:  Keep an eye on how your ads are doing and make changes to get better results. Continuously optimizing your campaigns is essential for achieving the best possible results. This involves monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per acquisition (CPA), and making data-driven adjustments to your campaigns


6. Analyze Your Results: Look at how your ads are performing and learn from it. Analyzing your campaign's performance is crucial for identifying areas of improvement and optimizing future campaigns. This involves tracking and measuring KPIs, conducting A/B testing, and using analytics tools to gain insights into your audience's behavior and preferences


In a nutshell, success in display advertising comes from planning, creating great ads, and always looking for ways to do better.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, display advertising is a versatile and robust strategy. When carefully planned and executed following industry best practices, it has the potential to significantly enhance brand visibility, boost engagement, and drive conversions. Think of it as a valuable team player in your broader marketing strategy. Just like a well-oiled machine, it seamlessly complements other marketing methods like SEM and traditional approaches, propelling your business toward its goals. So, it's wise for businesses to consider integrating display advertising into their marketing mix to navigate the digital landscape successfully.

Need help with your digital marketing initiatives? Book a discovery call with us today!

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