A Digital Marketing Guide to Display Ads

A Digital Marketing Guide to Display Ads

Woman sitting in front of screen with different display ads

Digital marketers must use numerous marketing methods to boost traffic, increase visibility, and drive conversions and sales. Understanding each marketing tactic and what role they play in your overall marketing strategy is crucial to leveraging them properly and seeing the desired results. One strategy that can be easily overlooked is display ads. In this guide, we will discuss this type of advertisement, how it functions, and how it might be leveraged to draw more attention to your business. 

What Are Display Ads?

So, what are display ads? Aptly named, most marketers and consumers come across this form of advertising each time they visit a website or mobile app. Display ads are graphic advertisements that utilize text, sound, images, or video to capture the attention of users and encourage them to visit the website being advertised. These advertisements are often located at the top, bottom, or sides of websites or scattered throughout the content. These advertisements can vary in form and application, but we’ll touch more on display ad types and functions further on in this guide. 

Why Should You Use Display Ads?

Display ads can sometimes be overlooked in favor of new advertising methods that seem to be more popular to consumers. With that said, these types of ads should not be discounted in your marketing strategy. To put things into perspective, research conducted by SEMrush in 2019 shows us that the Google Display Network caters to 210 million unique visitors each month who view various display ad types, reaching a staggering 90 % of internet users. Regardless of whether you’re seeking to boost your visibility or drive users to your website, this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Marketers should use display ads because they allow you to: 

  • Tap into a massive network that will allow you to target new users and engage with new customers. With testing and patience, you can begin to identify to whom your business appeals and create targeted ads for this audience to increase conversions. 
  • Get your brand in front of relevant people and niches. Marketing shouldn’t be a shout into the void. You want to send your advertisements where they’ll get the highest engagement, and leveraging display ads can help you do that.  
  • Retarget prospecting and past converters and improve your chances of success as you seek to drive conversions and sales. 

Display ads might not always receive the greatest attention, but there’s no denying their impact and their importance in any digital marketing strategy. Whatever your business, this advertisement strategy can play a vital role in helping your business grow and thrive. 

Types of Display Ads

a banner display ad for boot brand shown in a website

Different display ad types offer you a wide range of digital advertising methods that you can use to achieve your marketing goals. Knowing which types are most helpful for your business will play a critical role in reaping the benefits of these advertising tools. Let’s take a brief look at each to see what they have to offer. 

  • Traditional Display Ads (Banner Advertising): If you’ve ever visited any website, there’s no doubt that you’ve run into the most traditional form of display advertising: banner advertising. Banner ads are named for their billboard shape, and you often run into these visual ads featuring text at the very top of the website, the bottom of a website, or the sides of a website. 
  • Responsive Ads: We live in the modern era, which means that advertising should be streamlined. Responsive ads give you the ability to upload assets to networks like the Google Display Network, after which they can be uploaded and change appearance or size depending on the available ad space available and the screen size of the website visitor. 
  • Native Ads: Advertising requires marketers to understand their audience and approach their marketing in such a way that it attracts leads. Advertisements that are too straightforward may discourage action. Native display ads blend in with the platform that they’re being displayed on, and they often have a more conversational approach to marketing. You might see these types of ads on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Dynamic Display Ads: The problem with more traditional advertising methods is that ads are often static, conveying the same message to every visitor rather than personally tailoring their ad experience to their needs. Dynamic ads improve upon this approach by analyzing a user’s browsing data, finding ads that are relevant to them, and displaying certain products or websites that may appeal to their activity. 
  • Remarketing Ads: When a customer abandons their cart or visits your website then leaves, you want to target them with specific email sequences to encourage them to come back and take action. So, why should this be any different for your ads? Remarketing display ads target users who have visited your website to display advertisements featuring certain products or other personalized content that may appeal to them. 

Best Practices for Display Ads

a display ad for an insurance company showing a line of parked cars

If you want to get the most out of this advertising strategy, there are a few key principles that will determine your success and the user experience of your ads. When you’re creating display ads for any search engine’s advertising network, make sure that you stick to the following suggestions for maximum reach. 

  • Simple Design: Let’s face it: advertisements can be overwhelming. We’ve all seen those websites where banner ads and pop-up ads occupy more space than the website’s content. To ensure that audiences feel encouraged to take action rather than wishing they were viewing anything but your ad, you want to go with a simple design that’s attractive, neat, and to the point. It only takes a few words to send a powerful message. 
  • Quality Content: The success of display ads doesn’t hinge entirely on design. Your content is what will excite, humor, or trigger a different emotional response. Whether you’re using video content or banner ads, make sure that your content is clean, concise, and impactful to get optimal results from your advertising campaign (and that it’s suitable for the display ad types you’re relying on to reach audiences). 
  • Excellent Landing Pages: Display ads aren’t the final destination, they’re the first step in your marketing funnel. As such, wonderful ads that direct leads to slow, poorly designed websites will stop them in their tracks. You want your leads to encounter well-structured and beautifully designed landing pages that move your leads through the sales process. Continuing with the point above, your landing page should focus on good content that supports your ad copy and drives action. 
  • Strong Calls to Action: CTAs are what will ultimately determine whether your target audience takes action or not. Focus on creating strong CTAs in your display ads that offer an incentive for users to visit your website. Whether you seek to generate leads or are offering a promotion or a limited-time offer, consider incorporating these benefits in your advertisements to make your ads more persuasive. 

The Good Things About Display Ads

Now that you have a better understanding of the various display ad types and strategies needed to create powerful ads that drive results, you might be curious about the various advantages and disadvantages of using these types of ads in your own digital marketing strategy. We’ll examine the pros and cons of display ads in the sections below. 

  • Better Brand Awareness: No matter how great your service or products may be, you can’t scale and meet your business goals if you’re not developing enough awareness around your brand. Social media platforms and Google’s massive advertising network give you the support you need to get your display ads in front of a host of internet users.
  • Conveys Message Quickly: Display ads act as a way to quickly generate interest and encourage action in users whose interests align with your products or services. You can convey your message quickly and drive users to your website where they can find out what your business has to offer. 
  • Helps Reach Customers at Different Stages in the Marketing Funnel: Whether a customer is just learning about your products or services, is already considering whether to make a purchase, or has already purchased your products or services, display ads make it easy to reach customers at different stages in the marketing funnel. 

The Bad Things About Display Ads

  • People Don’t Like Ads: Regardless of the display ad types that you choose to use, people generally don’t like seeing advertisements. One survey about social media advertising found that 74% of users think that there are too many ads. In 2019, 25.8% of internet users used ad-blocking software on their connected devices. While ads are necessary, they’re not always welcome. 
  • Low Click-Through Rates: Despite the massive Google Display Network, the first quarter of 2020 reported an average CTR of 0.47%
  • Can Attract Irrelevant Attention: If your ads aren’t targeting the right audience or if you’re not regularly adjusting and optimizing your display ads, you can attract irrelevant attention that won’t boost conversions. This means that you’re spending money to post ads that aren’t providing you with the return on investment you need. 
  • High Bounce Rate: High bounce rate can be an issue as well. Rather than make a sale, customers may simply click out of curiosity, spend little time on your website, and leave. 

Measuring Ad Performance


Source: Closed Loop

Measuring your ad performance is crucial to make the necessary adjustments to see better performance over time. But how exactly do you evaluate your various display ad types to get the results you’re looking for? Some of the data points to regularly analyze in your marketing campaigns include: 

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversions
  • KPIs like views, follows, and shares

Coalition Technologies Is Here to Help You Maximize Your ROI and Improve Your Reach

Understanding what display ads are and how they’re used to drive users to your website can be simple. Applying this information on your own to see the brand awareness and growth that you’re looking for? That can be a little bit harder. Fortunately, Coalition Technologies is here to help! We are one of the best digital marketing companies around, and this can be demonstrated in the numerous case studies that we have amassed as we’ve helped businesses across many industries reach their goals. More importantly, we aim to provide you with comprehensive marketing support because we’re just as invested in your business’ growth as you are, whether you need help with PPC ads or your SEO strategy

Are you tired of creating and publishing ads, only to be disappointed by low click-through rates and return on investment? Are you ready to take your business to the next level and improve the success of your marketing campaigns? If so, now’s the time to reach out for help with your display ads and other digital marketing tactics. Reach out to us today so that we can learn more about your business needs and create a plan of action that will help you see greater results and growth over time!

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