Display Ads 101 – Why Businesses Need Display Ads For Digital Marketing

March means spring cleaning and businesses should make this the time to assess their digital marketing strategy and clean house.  A fresh, new digital marketing strategy including the latest SEO and SMO techniques combined with effective use of display ads could drive site traffic, increase brand awareness and grow both online and offline sales.

Many businesses don’t use display ads because they don’t think they are an affordable option or they simply don’t understand how they work.  With constantly improving technologies such as real-time bidding and retargeting, display advertising is now becoming more affordable for companieslarge and small.  Let’s explore display ads and see how they can improvea company’s digital marketing strategy.

What is display advertising?

Display advertising is a paid online advertising method placing mixed media ads including text, static images, rich media and video on third-party websites to increase brand awareness and drive site traffic.  Display ad campaigns can be somewhat complex to understand, launch and manage but are continuing to grow in popularity worldwide.

How popular is it?

According to Forrester Research, online display ads will grow 17% annually to be worth $28 billion by 2017.  Facebook and Google are two of the largest companies providing display advertising for businesses.  Although display advertising has been utilized for over 18 years, it is just recently becoming an affordable option for smaller businesses with the advent of real-time bidding, which allows businesses to pay only for individual ad views or impressions.

How does display advertising work?

Display ads can be targeted in several different ways, each having benefits of increasing digital marketing campaign effectiveness and providing easy to track ROI.

      • Contextual advertising displays ads on pages where people are researching relevant topics.  A good example is a company choosing to display ads for their fishing lures on pages containing content about outdoor activities, camping or sporting goods.
      • Retargeting is the method of presenting ads to customers that have previously visited a site to promote conversions.  Based on a computer’s unique address, marketers can obtain data regarding customers’ shopping habits and display ads to them for products they have shopped for previously.
      • Geo-targeting sends ads to customers in certain pre-selected locations.  For instance, if a company’s product is only offered in Southeastern markets, the ads for those products only display to customers in those states.


Case study

Julian Bakery is a low carb bread bakery that wanted to drive sales both online and offline.  They created an image ad using a photo and their logo to drive brand awareness.  They used contextual targeting to display ads on pages based on selected keywords like “low carb” and “fitness”.  Geo-targeting helped them increase ROI by displaying ads only in markets where their product is available.

According to Google, their ads helped Julian Bakery increase sales both online and in stores.  “Over the past three years, the company has grown 100% year-over-year and has gone from 40 distributors to over 1000 nationwide.”

Display ads are a very effective digital marketing tool all businesses should be taking advantage of.  If the goal is to increase brand awareness, increase site and foot traffic, and increase conversions, display ads will get the job done.

Alex D.

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