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Display Advertising: Does It Work?

Display advertising is one of the oldest forms of online marketing. AT&T launched the first internet display ad in 1994, but unlike many old internet trends of the 1990s, display advertising is still going strong. Over the years, it has evolved as a marketing tool, and today, you’ll see display ads in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Of course, the reason that display advertising has stuck around for so long is that it works. If you’ve been dismissing the power of display ads for your brand simply because you’re skeptical of using an older tool in the modern marketplace, you could be missing out on an important opportunity to attract new customers. Put aside what you think you know about display advertising, and get the real story here.

What exactly is display advertising?

Display advertising is the use of images or video to market a company or product across a network of sites. Although display ads do typically feature text, the focal point is the visual design. Display ads are intended to capture the attention of web users to convince them to click on the ad, which directs them to the advertiser’s online platform.

Display ads were once almost exclusively banner ads, but now they come in a number of different shapes and sizes. These are the most common sizes for display ads:

  • Banner: 468 x 60
  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90
  • Mobile leaderboard: 320 x 50
  • Square: 250 x 250
  • Small square: 200 x 200
  • Rectangle: 336 x 280
  • Inline rectangle: 300 x 250
  • Vertical rectangle: 240 x 400
  • Skyscraper: 120 x 600
  • Wide skyscraper: 140 x 600
  • Half-page: 300 x 600

Custom sizing is also available, allowing brands to design ads that meet their campaign goals and their budgets.

Don’t people use software to block advertising?

This is a common misconception about display advertising that stops many companies from reaping the benefits of this kind of marketing. It is true that most people use tools to minimize pop-up advertising. Internet users report that in addition to being annoying, pop-up ads slow down how websites load and sometimes contain malware.

However, display advertising is not synonymous with pop-up advertising. Although display ads can be pop-up ads, most are built into the design of the website and appear alongside the content users clicked on a website to see. Most display ads are not the kinds of ads that are targeted by pop-up blocking software.

Another reason to feel confident about display advertising connecting with customers is the ability to target the right groups. When your advertising provides information about products and services that are relevant to the people seeing your ad, then you don’t have to worry about getting dismissed or overlooked by users.

Are display ads the same thing as native ads?

Native ads have become popular in recent years, and while they do share some characteristics with display advertising, they are different. Native ads are designed to blend into the format of the website on which they are being displayed. For instance, if you’ve been on Facebook and scrolled past a post that looks like a standard Facebook post but says “sponsored,” then you have seen a native ad. Native ads follow the same idea as advertising you may see in a print newspaper that looks like an article but is actually an advertisement for a particular service or product. They blend in, so many people engage with them before they even realize they’re looking at an ad.

Display advertising, on the other hand, isn’t intended to blend in. Display ads stand out on website and clearly look like advertising. In fact, they are designed specifically to catch the eye, so that users look at them and absorb the information.

How can I be sure my customers see my display ads?

It is easier to tailor your display advertising to meet your customers where they are than you may think. In fact, one of the most common—and effective—kinds of display ads are retargeting advertising. These ads use cookies saved in a user’s browser history to ensure that they see ads that are relevant to them. For example, if someone visited your website to look at running shoes, and you have cookies on your website, when they navigate away, the network that is distributing your ads will read those cookies and ensure that display ads for your running shoes appear on other websites that the user navigates to. People who see retargeting ads are 70% more likely to go back to your site and make a purchase.

Retargeting ads are a critical way to get your marketing in front of the right audience, but there are other ways to reach potential customers as well. Site placement display advertising lets you decide which websites feature your ads, so you can pick the locations you know are relevant to your target markets. Contextual display advertising allows the network hosting your advertising to place ads on websites that naturally connect to the goods or services you’re offering.

As with all marketing efforts, the key to getting the most from your display advertising is to closely track your results and to make tweaks to your strategies as necessary, according to the data you collect. You should also have different display ad designs for different markets, and you should change your designs regularly, so that your advertising doesn’t get stale and start blending into the background for your target audience.

Make display advertising work for you with the help of Salem Surround. We know how important it is for your brand to stay in front of your customers when they’re online, and we use proven strategies to help our clients continually engage with the right markets for them. Whether you want to be discovered, drive engagement, or generate leads, we can build a customized strategy that works for your business. Contact us today to receive a free digital presence evaluation and to learn more about how we can help you tackle the digital marketplace.

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