Display Advertising: Digital Marketing tips for beginners

display advertising

Table of Contents

Display Advertising relies on third-party websites and, with the use of videos, images, or texts, allows you to sell products or services. In this way, it offers businesses the possibility to pay for their ads to appear when a certain type of user is on a certain type of web page.

But what can you really obtain with Display Advertising? Here is some of its advantages:

  • It supports brand awareness and visibility
  • It allows you to do retargeting
  • It can be tracked to measure effectiveness

In this article, we will deepen the topic of Display Advertising to help you understand what it is, how it works and how you can include it into your digital marketing strategy.

What is Display Advertising

We could define Display Advertising as a digital version of a billboard, a print ad or a TV commercial. Businesses pay those who own the advertising space in the hope of reaching the right type of people, to be transformed into customers.

In Display Advertising, advertising spaces are not found on billboards or television networks, but on the websites we visit. There are several ways to achieve this. You can make arrangements directly with the managers of a website or take advantage of networks that connect companies with different websites that sell advertising space.

In addition, you can decide to show your ads on specific web pages or to specific groups of people, or even do both.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) vs Display Advertising

Thanks to search engine marketing, advertisers can leverage information to reach potential customers while they are actively looking for something. So, people tell search engines what they want online; while advertisers bid to run their ads in response to searched words or phrases.

Display Advertising works differently. The person to whom it is addressed is not necessarily looking for an activity like yours, nor showing interest in the products or services you offer.

Another difference is the space where the ads appear. With search engine marketing, your ad will only appear when someone makes a search. Therefore, if it is not on a search engine but is browsing the web, you won’t be able to reach that person. On the other hand, with Display Advertising, your ads can run on any website that offers advertising space, which means you can tap into millions of other websites besides search engines.

There is a final difference: the ads themselves. Those on search engines are generally made up of text. Usually there is a title, a short descriptive text, a link to click on and sometimes other elements such as an address or a telephone number, depending on the options offered by the search engine. Display Advertising, on the other hand, offers advertisers a wide range of creative options: different sizes and formats, images, videos and much more. In this way, the opportunities to attract the attention of a potential customer multiply.

How to reach your business goals with Display Advertising

What do you hope to achieve with Display Advertising? 

For example, you could use it to:

  • Introduce yourself to those people who still don’t know you
  • Communicate something new about your business to old customers
  • Make casual customers become regulars

Display Advertising can help you do all these things, but it is best to first decide what is most useful for your business and then create your display campaigns based on the goals you have identified.

An easy way to analyse what you want to achieve is thinking about the different stages of the customer journey in terms of funnel. The wide and high part of the funnel represents notoriety. Therefore, if the goal is to make your business known, you should target a wide audience and use ads that make a great first impression. Think about what could catch people’s attention, bearing in mind that they are not actively looking for you when they view your ads.

The next stage of the funnel is to shape people’s opinions of you to remember you in the future when they search for what you sell. If that is one of your goals, you can create new display campaigns that leverage messages to increase your competitive advantage and highlight the strengths of your product or service.

The last stage of the funnel concerns the purchase. If your goal is to acquire paying customers, you need to focus your efforts on conversion. Retargeting is a good strategy to achieve this goal, as it allows you to show ads to people after they visit your website or take specific actions that signal an interest in your business. 

A focus on retargeting

Retargeting is a particularly effective type of Display Advertising, which allows you to take advantage of what people do on your website to reach them with a targeted advertisement, even after they have left the website.

The first step in retargeting is to define your target audience. For example, you might define your target audience as people who have started filling out the sign-up form without completing it. 

The retargeting service may require you to add a small code to your web pages, or integrate that code into your web analytics tool, to start collecting a list of people from your website who meet the criteria in question. Of course, it won’t be a list of individuals with personal information, such as names or email addresses. Instead, it will be an anonymous list (often called a retargeting list) of users who fit your criteria and to whom specific ads should be targeted.

At this point, you can start creating your ads. For example, you could post special offers for extra content, a signup giveaway, or some other incentive to get them back to complete their signup.

How Display Advertising works

To create and launch your display campaigns, you might find yourself using a Display Advertising network, which is a system with which you can advertise on various websites. Most of these systems allow you to choose where to post your ads and who will see them. For example, you can show ads only to people who speak certain languages, or only at certain times or days.

You can also take advantage of the so-called “placements“. The basic idea is that, if you know the types of websites that your target audience visits, you can present your ads to them using exactly the placements you want. In this way, you can really narrow down the space on which to post your ads by choosing specific websites, individual pages on the websites in question or even certain areas of those pages.

After deciding who to address with your ads and their placement, you have to start creating your ads. There are banner ads of all shapes and sizes, while video ads can use moving images and audio to showcase what is going on behind the scenes of your business.

A focus on Display Advertising networks

Display Advertising networks are a kind of intermediaries that connect companies that want to advertise with websites that sell advertising space.

Websites that sell advertising spaces can join these networks and set minimum rates to publish ads. On the other hand, your business can bid for the advertising space it intends to obtain on the websites of the chosen network, determining how much it is willing to pay. Buyers and sellers come into contact every time the pages in question are loaded and the ads that have won the spaces are published.

These networks can also help you to:

  • Reach specific audience segments
  • Manage the exchange of money
  • Add tracking tools to your web pages

Display Advertising: a creative Best Practices guide

Google Display Advertising appear on over three million websites, over 650,000 apps, and across Google properties such as Gmail and YouTube. This guide will help you create assets for display ads — with a focus on responsive display ads, helping you ensure your assets work together in a potentially very large number of configurations.

Use the following guidelines to create responsive display ads that reach users and drive performance for your business. Improved image quality, in turn, can improve your reach and performance by ensuring your ads are eligible to serve in all available inventory. See below the key point of this guidelines:

  • Marketing Images
  • Use high quality images
  • No overlaid logos
  • Avoid overlaid text
  • Do not overlay buttons
  • Make your product or service the focus on the image
  • Avoid collage images
  • Avoid digital composite backgrounds
  • Logos
  • Use clear and compelling headlines and text
  • Include prices, promotions, and exclusives
  • Provide a relevant landing page
  • Create 3 to 4 ads per ad group
  • Auto generated videos

If you want to know more, please click on this link.


Now that you know how important and impactful Display Advertising can be, are you ready to include it into your digital marketing strategy? With the information in this article, in fact, you should be able to set up your campaigns and achieve your business goals.

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