Display ads are a great tool to reach new customers, re-engage people who have visited your site, and stay top of mind for your loyal customers. With a reach of over two million websites, nearly 700,000 apps, and 90% of internet users, the Google Display Network is the largest display ad network. The landscape of Google Display Ads can be daunting for anyone not familiar, given the wide variety of sizing, targeting, and delivery options. This quick guide will help you understand what display ads are, and why you should be using them as part of your outbound marketing strategy to gain new customers.
Display ads are a way of attracting users to your website through the websites and apps they commonly visit and use. The ads can serve as awareness campaigns, targeting your ideal customers to showcase your brand or product, or can serve as remarketing tools to re-engage people who visited your site. Whether you are familiar with display ads as a marketing technique or not, you’ve seen them on many of the sites you visit. From the Weather Channel to news websites and many of the apps that are on your smartphone, display ads are nearly everywhere on the web and are an integral tool in an outbound marketing strategy.
Display Ads in the Google Display Network are placed based on an auction and are billed on a Pay-Per-Click basis, like Google Ads in search. Both auctions compare the ad’s eligibility based on the targeting data provided, the ad quality, and the bid amount you have set for the ad. If your ad wins the auction, it is placed on a site for the user.
Display ads are among the most common types of advertising on the web and come in many forms. In general, there are four types of display ads: banner ads, interstitial ads, rich media ads, and video ads.
Banner ads are among the oldest type, dating back to 1994, and are generally what people think of when they hear display ads. These are the ads you see at the top of a page or in the side column. Often effective as awareness and retargeting ads, banners are one of the building blocks for effective display advertising.
Pros: Banner ads are relatively inexpensive, unobtrusive, and effective for retargeting and awareness campaigns.
Cons: They can be overlooked or ignored as they are not right in the users’ face, particularly if the user has an AdBlocker installed.
If you’ve ever had to wait for an ad to finish before playing the next level of a game on your phone, or had to click the “X” on an ad to reach the content on a website, you’ve experienced an interstitial ad. Similar to the reviled pop-up ad, these ads interrupt the user’s experience, forcing them to interact with the ad. Interstitial ads are an asset when you have a great offer to share, such as a free trial, discount code, or white paper, but can be obnoxious and off-putting if they are not valuable to the user.
Pros: Interstitial ads grab users’ attention by forcing them to see the ad and interact with it, making them highly effective with special offers.
Cons: Disruptive ads can annoy users and often result in quickly closing the ad, which can lead to high costs with limited return.
Rich media ads are a subset of banner and interstitial ads that feature audio, video, or clickable elements within the ad itself. Often this is a lead generation form that captures some information that allows the advertiser to market further to the user. Like interstitial ads, these are particularly effective when you have something to offer in exchange for information from the user. Often, these ads will feature a request for an email address in exchange for a white paper, coupon, or guide to a topic related to the page the user is viewing.
Pros: Rich media ads can be effective lead generation tools with the proper offer.
Cons: Users can provide inaccurate information or unsubscribe once they receive the offer.
Video ads are a great way to engage users with a compelling story and call to action. The motion in a video ad naturally draws the eye of the user and is a great way to tell the story of your brand or showcase a product in action. Video ads can be some of the costliest display ads, however, as there is a cost to produce the video in addition to the cost of the ad placement itself.
Pros: Video ads allow advertisers to tell a story that wouldn’t normally fit in a static ad, and naturally draw the users’ attention.
Cons: They can be costly to produce, which can reduce the return on investment.
Understanding the types of ads is great, but why should you use display ads? Simply put, display ads get your brand, service, or product in front of people you want to reach, whether those are new customers or re-engaging past visitors. When targeted correctly and used as part of a holistic marketing plan, display ads can be an effective tool to capture new users and turn them into customers and keep yourself top of mind for your loyal customers. Talk to us today if you’re ready to take your marketing to the next step with display advertising or a review of your marketing.
Written By: Clayton Pollard