What is digital display advertising?

Display advertising has been around since 1994 and was one of the first ways that digital publishers started to commercialise their website. Like most related to technology, we have come a long way since then. Display advertising can now be bought using Real Time Bidding and audiences, or potential audiences can be targeted using Demand Side Platforms. However, there are certain ways to make your digital advertising effective and these rules are as applicable now as they were 24 years ago.

How can I make display advertising work for me?

Firstly, like all digital communication your display advertising should be integrated with the rest of your messaging. Your online identity should not live in a silo – the thrust of your campaign should be aligned with your wider marketing objectives to support and enhance the specific campaign activity. It sounds obvious but if you’re running a sale, your digital display should be pushing this sale in the same way your press advertising is.

Secondly, define your audience. This is where your personas will be indispensable. There are many ways you can target display, for instance the Google Display Network but, to use a 1994 example, an advert for men’s deodorant wouldn’t work as well on a website geared towards women’s interests.

You also need to think carefully about what you want your digital display to do. Is it branding, engagement or lead generation? The strategic decision making that goes into your campaign rationale will have a direct impact on your messaging, the type of banner you produce and the landing pages you direct people to on your site.

Regardless of what you want people to do after seeing or, more pertinently, clicking on one of your ads there are some golden rules around copy that you should follow. Firstly, you need a clear call to action – tell people what you want them to do. The copy you have used should also be informed by keyword research, using direct and concise language. Next, the design of your ads should be as good as you can afford to make it and fit the context of the banner’s dimension you are using.

Like all digital marketing you have the ability to make decisions, which are rooted in science. Split test your ads – you can split test on lots of different metrics but the obvious ones to look at are the pictures – which one works the best in driving your desired outcome? Next, what about the text – how well does the text you are using make people click on your ad? How about your all to action? You should try different ones and see which works most effectively. Is it ‘buy now’ or ‘more information’? There’s only one way to find out…

Don’t be a pain…

Finally, remember to frequency cap. There’s nothing more annoying than an ‘ear worm’ radio ad is there? Well let’s apply this to a digital context. Have you ever been to an eCommerce website and then be followed by ads around the web for a product you have no wish to buy, or even worse, have already bought?

How we react to bad remarketing…

This kind of digital marketing is called re-marketing. It can be highly effective at getting potential consumers who are already aware of your brand to convert. However, to avoid this potential consumer from having a negative experience of your brand we would recommend frequency capping your ads so the maximum time an individual can see one of your ads is four times.

There’s a lot to know about digital display advertising. Done well it can be great lead generation tool for your website or business, done badly it can be an expensive waste of time. Like all digital marketing, your decisions should be backed up with a solid strategy, rooted in extensive research and as part of a wider mix of digital solutions to address specific target markets and where in the funnel these people are.