What is Display Advertising

Display Advertising – the basics

Even as an insider in online marketing, some of the buzzwords are being interpreted in so many different ways that a more specific explanation is necessary. Display advertising is one of those: it comes in many different forms, it’s different from native advertising, but native advertising can both be display ads and content marketing, so no wonder that we’re all a bit confused. Here’s the basic what, where, why and how of Display Advertising to clarify things.

What: This is Display Advertising!

Display Advertising simply put is advertising on websites, apps and social media. Display advertising may take many different formats, and appears as text, images, flash, video, audio and combinations of those – known as Rich Media.

Occasionally Display Advertising is explained as any type of online marketing. However, that is a very simplified version of the truth. Display ads are openly advertising for something – the advertiser wants the customer to perform a certain act; click into a site, purchase a product or service, read a text, download a whitepaper. This is in contrast to native advertising, where the ads are blended to appear as authentic parts of their surroundings – sponsored content, branded graphics, videos or articles that look like they’re a natural part of the site where they appear. Content marketing is a third category – blogs, whitepapers, articles, reviews etc. which create value exchanges with customers through useful, targeted information. The categories aren’t hard and fast though – they do tend to blend and cross over. One example is native marketing, which appears both as display ads and as part of content marketing.

This means that Display Advertising are all the obvious online ads: banner and billboard ads, and all the other boxes with text and blinking images on websites, apps and social media. But Display Advertising isn’t just the classic banner ads. Email costum ads, social media ads and app ads are also included in Display Advertising, appearing in your inbox, when you scroll through a social media feed or when using an app. Today the majority of display ads are created using Rich Media formats such as GIFs, HTML5 animations, video, audio and text to catch the user’s eye.

Where: Display Advertising on relevant websites

Display ads can potentially show up at any websites, apps and social media  – but the relevance is important for your ad’s impact. In earlier days of display ads, the process of advertising on a website was a direct sales process between the advertiser and the owner of a website. This often lead to advertisements being placed with a lack of context, furthering so called banner-blindness, where web users ignore display ads as being irrelevant, obtrusive and untrustworthy.

Today’s more advanced technological options, the appearance of display networks and the rise of professional agencies using big data and advanced analytical tools, means that display ads can be placed in a meaningful context in front of an interested audience.

Your ads show up when your selected audience is browsing websites, watching videos, checking their email or using apps.

Search networks lets you and your product appear when your audience is actively searching for your product or service. On Display networks your ad appears before your audience is actively searching for your services, or reminds your audience of their interest in your product, when working with remarketing. Display networks matches your ads to your target audience based on their search terms, browsing history, demography and interests. You define keywords or your own targeting preferences for your ads when creating your campaign.

Why: Display Advertising

Display advertising lets you try out a variety of different format and ad types. You can perform A/B-testing, target a wide variety of audience groups and you can see how your ads and campaigns are doing through analytical tools. Proper use of data and analytical tools lets you see which websites run your ads, which campaigns and ads perform better and give the most click through rates (CTR), conversions and ROI.

The large amount of information, testing options and specialized options to tweak campaigns and ads allows you to personalize your ads and campaigns aiming at specific audience groups based on actual data and numbers. This means that you can improve your results  through knowledge. Using display advertising actively and working strategically means creating your campaign – trying – testing – analyzing – optimizing and repeating the cycle. The idea is to gain insights that let you have a higher CTR, more leads and better conversion rates at a lower cost, because your ads are perform better through higher quality and improved placement and audience targeting.

How: Using Display Advertising

Display ads need to be format and size compatible. Display ad sizes are measured in pixels and you can find a variety of sizes to customize your ad to your prefered placement on websites, app or handheld devices. Remember that one format doesn’t fit all. You need to create different ads and formats depending on your audience, and where your ads are showing up.

Some formats work better than others, depending on your region – make use of testing and your agency’s and network’s knowledge of which types of display ads that work better. Rich Media format tend to draw more attention than static image/text combinations, but there’s a fine line between creating an eye-catching ad and an annoying ad. You want your audience to notice your ad and become interested in your service, rather than disturbed by it. That means analyzing your audience, setting a goal for your campaign and creating a relevant, contextual display ad campaign.

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