Marketing

What Are Display Ads?

What Are Display Ads?
Written by Amy Sorter

What are display ads? The display ad, also known as display advertising, is a form of digital promotion in which content — in the form of images, videos, or text — is displayed on third-party websites. Display ads differ from their search advertising counterparts in that they are paid placements, versus behavior-driven promotions.

If you are someone who accesses the internet on a regular basis (and, let’s face it, that’s probably most of us), you’ll likely have stumbled across ads that top, frame, or anchor web pages. If that ad’s product or service strikes your fancy, you might click on it. The result is a direct ride to another website.

You’ve just entered the world of display advertising.

The world’s first display ad consisted of a small rectangle on HotWired.com. AT&T purchased and advertised on that spot in 1994. About 44 percent of the people who saw it actually clicked on it.

These days, a 44 percent click-through rate is probably more fantasy than reality. Display advertising is fairly ubiquitous. But, when used correctly, display advertising can help a company or organization increase brand awareness, and reach customers at just about every phase of the marketing or sales funnel.

What are display ads?

Display advertising is a type of digital promotion that is placed on various websites. The content, which can consist of text, images, videos, or all of the above, has a built-in URL link to the advertiser’s website. A user clicks on the ad to learn more about that particular advertiser’s product or service.

Display advertising comes in the following formats.

  • Leaderboard. This is a horizontal ad, typically positioned at the top of a page.
  • Skyscraper. A skyscraper ad is a vertical display ad that runs on either side of a web page. It gets its name from the tall, thin shape, which resembles, well, a skyscraper.

In addition to running on various websites, display ads can also run through ad networks, such as Google AdSense and Facebook Network Audience Ads.

Why advertisers like display promotions

  • They help boost brand awareness. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that digital display ads can increase awareness of a brand by up to 12 percent. This is because these forms of promotion show up on websites frequented by potential, targeted customers.
  • They allow for remarketing opportunities. Remarketing allows companies to keep in touch with individuals who previously interacted with their websites through targeted display ads. The ad that keeps following you after you visited a particular product website? That’s remarketing.
  • They provide a much better reach, at a lower cost. Creating a digital ad is far less expensive than putting together a television or print ad. Display ad pricing can be inexpensive as well, as it’s typically calculated based on the number of impressions. This promotional format is also very flexible, allowing for personalization when necessary.

Ensuring an effective display ad

Ads are another form of content creation. And, successful content creation should follow these rules:

  • Select the right platform. It’s important that a well-crafted, well-written, well-designed display ad is actually seen by those who might be interested in a specific product or services. Placing a Candles Galore display ad on an athletic shoe website is probably not the best path to take.
  • Specify the buyers’ needs. Any promotional content should focus on the customer’s needs, and how an organization’s value proposition can help meet those needs.
  • Use visuals judiciously. The visual goal here is to encourage the potential customer to click on the display ad. Not to overwhelm that potential customer with flashing lights, vivid colors, and different fonts. Design thinking is important.
What are display ads? Learn more about these web-specific promotional tools, and how they help marketers raise brand awareness and reach customers. #marketing #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

About the author

Amy Sorter

Amy Sorter is an award-winning journalist, copywriter, and principal of The WordSorters. She focuses on creating custom, highly engageable content in a variety of formats for non-profit organizations, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.

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