Display Advertising

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Overview of Display Advertising


Display advertising is a rapidly growing way to reach your customers and build your online brand awareness through paid advertisements on websites, blogs and social media sites. Display advertising commands a significant share of online revenue generation, making it a valuable piece of your advertising budget. Used properly (in conjunction with a solid SEO strategy), it can attract more visitors to your site and drive sales for your business.

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Display Advertising

What is Display Advertising?

Display advertising simply refers to the ads that you see on a website. These are the boxes or banners that appear somewhere on the site’s page—off to the side, at the top or bottom, or in a popup that appears when you first get to the site or when you are about to leave it. They typically utilize an image with some text, although they can be mostly text-based or even video-based…

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Display Advertising

Why Display Advertising
Helps Your Brand

Because your display ads show up where people are online, they build public awareness of your brand. People notice it and they make associations from it and with it. Research has shown that frequent exposure to any given thing encourages a sense of familiarity with it, which increases comfort level and trust. So, even if someone doesn’t actually click on your ad to complete an action, they see it…

Display Advertising Terminology


If display advertising is new to you, learning the lingo can help you get your bearings. How you will pay for your ads can take several forms. Knowing what those options are will help you choose the best one based on your needs and budget.

  • Ad Network

    A single place to buy advertising that gives you access to display it on multiple sites.

  • CPI or CPM (Cost Per Impressions)

    You, the advertiser, pay when someone sees your ad (an impression). As a standard, this is measured in groups of 1000—so, you would pay a set cost per thousand impressions.

  • CPA (Cost Per Action)

    You, the advertiser, pay a set amount each time someone completes a specified action based on your ad. Actions may be signing up for a newsletter or report, registering for something on the site or perform another action that’s beneficial to your business.

  • CPL (Cost Per Lead)

    A method of determining how much you are actually spending for a viable customer. This is calculated by dividing the total amount you spend on a campaign by the number of leads that campaign generated. This eliminates those who accidentally clicked on your ad, or who clicked and then quickly decided they didn’t want to be there.

  • CPC (Cost Per Click)

    You, the advertiser, pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

  • PPC (Pay Per Click)

    This is the same as Cost Per Click.

Types of Display Ads


Ad Sizes

After much trial and error, ads have evolved into several commonly used sizes (in pixels). Here are a few:

300 x 250 Medium Rectangle

(just a little longer than a square, often embedded within text or placed at the end of articles)

728 x 90 Leaderboard

(this is long and banner-like, often seen at the top of a page)

336 x 280 Large Rectangle
320 x 110 Banner
300 x 600 Half Page

(especially large and attention-getting)

160 x 600 Skyscraper

(this vertical ad is often seen on the side of a page)

125 x 125 Square Button

(these are often grouped together to fit several sponsors in one spot)

88 x 31 Button

(this can be a compact money-saver)

Display Advertising

Even though these are common sizes, you’ll find variations on them everywhere.

Ad Formats


Not only can ads vary by size, they can vary significantly by style:

Display Advertising

Image Ad

This is the standard display ad, featuring some image (photograph or illustration) with a few Call-to-Action words focused on generating that all-important click.

Display Advertising

Text Ad

This is the standard display ad, featuring some image (photograph or illustration) with a few Call-to-Action words focused on generating that all-important click.

Display Advertising

Interstitial Ad

This ad appears between two different pages. It appears when moving from one page to another, and users can either click on it or close it before they move to the next page.

Display Advertising

Pop-Up

This type of ad appears on your screen in various sizes on top of what you are viewing. Pop-ups typically appear when you first get to the page or when you make a move to leave. Viewers can either click on the ad or close it by clicking on an ‘X.’

Display Advertising

Rich Media

This can include video, special effects or some kind of interactive experience such as a game or a quiz. This category also contains expandable ads that increase in size when you hover your mouse over it. It can be quite eye-catching if you’re moving your mouse over the page and this type of ad expands into larger view.

Ad Placement


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Display Advertising

Obviously, you want your ads to appear on the websites where your future clients or customers are likely to be. The general consensus is that ads surrounded by content or immediately adjacent to it perform better than ads standing alone, wider ads perform better than narrower ones and ads farther up the page (“above the fold”) perform better than ads placed toward…

Ad Networks


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Display Advertising

The current king of ad networks is Google Display Network. It’s the most well-known and is often recommended as a good place to start. Other options are Yahoo!, Bing Network, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Twitter Ads. Each option offers different pros and cons, and advertisers should evaluate them based on needs and budget.

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Display Advertising

How to Decide Which Ad Works Best – A/B Testing

Say you’re faced with a number of attractive ads and now need to decide which one to use. How can you decide? You test them, using A/B testing. A/B testing, also known as ‘split-testing’involves running two ads side-by-side to see which performs better. Typically, you would only change one small factor (variable) in your ad at a time, so you can pinpoint which exact piece of your ad makes the biggest positive …

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Display Advertising

How to Find Your Audience – New Prospecting vs. Retargeting

The best ad in the world won’t work if it doesn’t reach a receptive audience. How can you find the right audience and capture their attention? You have two ways: going after new prospects or retargeting previous visitors to your site…

Display Advertising Best Practices


Creating an effective display ad combines a little science, a little art and a lot of try-it-and-see. Here are seven general guidelines to keep in mind when creating your ad

Know your goal

Are you out to create brand awareness or are you seeking a specific action, like getting someone to register, go to your site or buy a product? A shoe company looking to promotean image of athleticism for anyone who wears its shoes runs an ad quite differentlythan a shoe company having a three-day sale. Your goal will change the look of your ad tremendously.

Be consistent

To create a feeling of continuity and familiarity in your audience, your ad should look and feel like your website. It should use the same colors, the same style and similar wording. Including your logo is a must. Your ad contributes to your brand awareness, so make sure your message is clear and consistent.

Get attention

The best ads are attractive to look at, pique interest and show value. This means that it may not be the wordiest or the most aggressive ad that delivers—sometimes simple does the trick.“Got milk?” has been one of the most successful and recognizable ad campaigns of all time.

Include a Call-to-Action

A call-to-action says “Do This,” “Get More Information,” “Click Here,” etc. Is having one always necessary? Maybe—or maybe not. It may require some testing to determine whether or not your ad needs a CTA to generate clicks.

Add urgency

If you are advertising to encourage a specific action, adding a sense of urgency can boost audience clicks. A popular way to achieve this is to include an end date, or an expiration date.

Pay attention to where your ad will be placed.

The more you can tailor your ad delivery to your desired audience, the more value you’ll receive from these efforts. Make sure your ad won’t be placed on sites that could prove irrelevant or even awkward for your image.

Test

Spend time testing ad styles and sizes to determine which ads your desired target audience responds to best. Remember that these can change over time, so never stop refining your message.

Display AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay AdvertisingDisplay Advertising

What is Display Advertising?

Display advertising simply refers to the ads that you see on a website. These are the boxes or banners that appear somewhere on the site’s page—off to the side, at the top or bottom, or in a popup that appears when you first get to the site or when you are about to leave it. They typically utilize an image with some text, although they can be mostly text-based or even video-based.

Display ads are different from search ads in that they don’t require someone to search for a term related to you or your business in order to find them. It’s up to you to choose where your ad should appear to fall into your potential customer’s or client’s line of sight and hopefully cause them to act. Because these kinds of advertisements can end up being expensive, it’s important to know what you’re paying for and to choose the look and placement wisely.

Why Display Advertising Helps Your Brand

Because your display ads show up where people are online, they build public awareness of your brand. People notice it and they make associations from it and with it. Research has shown that frequent exposure to any given thing encourages a sense of familiarity with it, which increases comfort level and trust. So, even if someone doesn’t actually click on your ad to complete an action, they see it. They become aware that you are there and available, and they may very well remember you when they do need whatever it is that you’re advertising.

If they happen to be currently in the market and looking for someone like you, they may easily go ahead and click on your ad now and move forward with doing business with you.

Ad Placement

Obviously, you want your ads to appear on the websites where your future clients or customers are likely to be. The general consensus is that ads surrounded by content or immediately adjacent to it perform better than ads standing alone, wider ads perform better than narrower ones and ads farther up the page (“above the fold”) perform better than ads placed toward the bottom of the page—although sometimes footer ads can be very effective. Ad placement is something of a trial-and-error process that needs to be tailored to your particular audience.

You do need to be mindful of where your ads end up, especially if you choose to work with blind networks that don’t let advertisers know where their ads will be placed. There have been instances of extremely unfortunate ad placements, such as the article about riots in Greece next to an ad for a ‘mini-break in gorgeous Greece…’ or the article about anatidaephobia (the fear of being watched by a duck) surrounding a display ad for Aflac (who’s mascot is a duck).

How to Decide Which Ad Works Best – A/B Testing

Say you’re faced with a number of attractive ads and now need to decide which one to use. How can you decide? You test them, using A/B testing. A/B testing, also known as ‘split-testing’ involves running two ads side-by-side to see which performs better. Typically, you would only change one small factor (variable) in your ad at a time, so you can pinpoint which exact piece of your ad makes the biggest positive difference. The elements you choose to test could be the image, a word in the text, a phrase, a Call-to-Action, a color, the ad placement or size, etc. The data you collect from this testing with your potential customers will have a big impact on the kinds of display advertising you do going forward—making you much stronger, more efficient and more effective.

How to Find Your Audience – New Prospecting vs. Retargeting

The best ad in the world won’t work if it doesn’t reach a receptive audience. How can you find the right audience and capture their attention? You have two ways: going after new prospects or retargeting previous visitors to your site.

New ProspectingThis is an attempt to get brand-new customers or prospects to your site. It can be a little like prospecting for gold in the Old West…your chances of success are uncertain, but you may just hit the motherlode and strike it rich. You can dramatically increase your chances of success with strategies that focus on specific slices of potential consumer groups.

  • Demographic Targeting narrows your intended audience by age, gender, income level and other socioeconomic factors that affect their spending habits.
  • Geotargeting aims at consumers in a specific geographical area. This might be a good strategy for a landscaping business, a restaurant or another service-based business that is restricted to a certain area.
  • Topic Targeting means that you choose where your ad will be seen from a list of page topics—you can customize your audience to only those who are interested in topics similar to yours.
  • Contextual Targeting happens when you create a list of keywords that matter for your website (which your ad relates to) and display your ads on sites related to those keywords.

RetargetingHave you ever seen an ad appear on a website that just “magically” relates to what you were looking at online the day before? If so, you’ve been retargeted. Retargeting uses cookies (trackers) that take note of where you’ve been online and attempts to bring up ads that you should be interested in based on that past experience. They act as reminders of what you were looking at, so you can go back to the site and, ultimately, complete a transaction. (This is also known as behavioral targeting—targeting based on past behavior). Assuming your potential customer hasn’t disabled cookies on his or her device, this can be a very effective way to capture their interest and generate their click on your ad. You can achieve similar results with lists of people who have visited sites like yours.

An up-and-coming method of targeting is addressable advertising. This “people-based” marketing allows a laser-focus on the needs of individual consumers. It makes targeting even more personalized and better-functioning across a variety of devices—a must in a smartphone, mobile device world.

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