Getting The Most Out of Display Advertising

This is a guest post by Caroline Watts, Marketing Manager at ReTargeter.


Display advertising is an established digital marketing tactic, but lately it’s gotten a bit of a bad rap. But display doesn’t have to be ineffective. Like with most marketing channels, display campaigns are only as effective as they are well-run. Ignore best practices and you aren’t likely to be successful, but run a well-managed campaign and you can see impressive results.

 

Though there are many factors that go into a making display work, the following aspects of your campaigns are likely to have the most significant effect on your success: who you’re reaching, what your ads look like, and how well display is integrated with your other marketing channels.

 

Reaching the Right People


With display, as with most forms of advertising, it’s all about audience. If your ads aren’t getting in front of the right people, nothing else matters. Fortunately, this part is easy to get right. One of the primary benefits of display advertising is the robust and precise targeting available to advertisers. Here are a few different types of targeting you can employ to make sure your campaigns don’t miss their marks:

 

  • Site Retargeting: Retargeting, the practice of serving ads to people who have previously visited your website, is one of the most effective forms of display advertising because it focuses on the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service right now. Retargeting can work well for virtually any business, as there isn’t a marketer out there for whom conversion rates are 100%.
  • Advanced Retargeting: There are many more complex forms of retargeting, which allow you to target ads based on other activities like opening an email or searching for relevant keywords. Depending on your business, it probably makes sense to start with site retargeting and incorporate more advanced targeting techniques as you become more experienced.
  • Demographic and Geographic Targeting: If you have a good idea of what your ideal customer looks like, demographic information like age, gender, income, or occupation can help focus a campaign on the people most likely to be interested in your messages. Targeting your ads by geography is also a particularly effective way to keep costs low and relevancy high.

 

Creative Matters


One of the biggest mistakes digital marketers make with display is under-investing in creative. Banner ads are not all ineffective—but bad banner ads are. Make sure your in-house designer or contracted design service has experience with banners and is well-versed in the best practices of banner design. Regardless of campaign type, banner ads should always be memorable, aesthetically pleasing, representative of your brand, and should stand out from the page. 

 

It’s definitely possible to run effective display campaigns with well-designed static ads, but it’s also a good idea to test rich media like Flash and video to see if you can get even more out of your campaigns.

 

If you’re designing banners in-house, make sure you have a good sense of how others in your space are using display. Using MixRank, you can actually check out all your competitors’ display ads and use their design choices to inform how your campaigns.

 

No Campaign Exists in a Vacuum


Display is an incredibly powerful marketing channel, but it’s most effective when it’s one campaign of many. Display can complement paid search, social media, and email marketing (just to name a few), but it’s important that all your campaigns are well-integrated. Make sure that your various campaigns are truly supporting each other. Though each campaign should be tailored to its respective medium, the messaging you use to reach the same audiences across different forms of media should always be consistent.

 

About the Author

Caroline Watts is a Marketing Manager at ReTargeter, a full-service display provider specializing in retargeting and audience targeting. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

 

  • Leslie Van Zee

    Great article. I agree very much with you that retargeting is a very powerful strategy to use with display advertising. Also, you make a good point about the importance of creative in ad effectiveness. When you consider that for most viewers, the ad is all they will ever see of your campaign (since very few will click on it), content is really key. We talk about this on our blog quite a bit – for example, here is a recent post regarding when to refresh creatives: http://www.vantagelocal.com/blog/when-to-refresh-your-creative-design/.