How can display advertising help my company?

In these tough times of the pandemic, many advertisers are wondering if they should stop their advertising campaigns (we’ve already written an article about this here). Interestingly, industry experts all say the same thing about this: they suggest that brands stay in regular contact with consumers and just try to slightly adjust their strategy.

They also suggest that this is the perfect time for us to give more thought to online activities, where we can constantly optimise and monitor effectiveness, even with smaller budgets.

Special attention should be given to display advertising – one of the forms of digital advertising, which we’ll look at in more detail in the article below.

  • Are you wondering if your company needs a display campaign?
  • Or maybe you’ve never run an advertising campaign, or they were too expensive and not effective enough for you?
  • Are you looking for solutions that will help you win customers and build relationships with them?

We’ll try to clarify the situation a bit and answer these questions.

In this article, you’ll find out what display advertising is and why it’s so popular. We’ll try to briefly set out the main options available, methods for optimisation, and indicate which types of campaigns it’s best suited for. Finally, we’ll also give a quick rundown of the benefits of this tool and the possibilities it offers.

What is display advertising anyway?

Consumers encounter this format hundreds of times a day on their computers or mobile devices. To put it simply, it means all forms of visual advertising displayed to internet users. The most common form is simply banner ads, which could be called “the billboards of the virtual world”. More broadly speaking, these are all ads that have a visual impact on the user: through text, logos, animations, videos, photos or other graphic forms. Currently, the vast majority of display ads have a list of ready-made standard sizes, especially in the Google Display Network.

What are the main types of display ads?

  • The above-mentioned banners, with a specific resolution and “weight”, adapted to fit the requirements of the publisher, i.e. the owner of the page on which it’s placed. Banners can mainly be divided into static, animated and video.
  • Vertical or square-like formats with specific names, such as skyscraper or half page, which are akin to banner ads and work on a similar principle – without going into too much detail, these are simply “banners” with a different orientation and resolution.
  • Google Search ads: these are text-based ads that look more or less like part of the list of search results. Sponsored search results appear at the top of the list and are marked with
  • Shopping Ad: a similar format which appears alongside search results in response to specific keywords, with direct redirection to the product card in the advertiser’s store.
  • Rich media advertising, which is a format that allows interaction – for example, scrolling, mouse over action, selecting one of the options, or even entering text. There are a great many possibilities for interacting with rich media banners.
  • Pop-up ads: banners which pop up when the page is opened, or pop-under, for when the page is closed.
  • Web push notifications: small pop-up windows with a photo and short text, which are displayed not when the user visits the advertiser’s website, only when the user has given their prior consent.
  • Takeover ads: ads which constitute the background for the content of the website visited.

This is just a very general distinction. There is still disagreement in the industry as to whether social media ads should be classified as display advertising (after all, these are also graphic ads displayed to the user). However, today we will focus only on display ads in the classic sense, where social media ads are closer to native advertising, i.e. matching the look of the content of the website on which it is displayed.

How should a good display ad look?

The answer is not surprising: it depends. Mainly on the ad format and the purpose it’s meant to achieve.

Generally speaking, banners should be: short, with a good catchphrase, visually attractive graphics and a clear call to action, i.e. the action which we want the consumer to take (usually going to the website). However, earlier in the article, we purposely compared display ads to “billboards of the virtual world”.

Like the public space, the internet is cluttered with advertising content that attacks consumers on every side. That’s why it’s worth ensuring three things:

Firstly, the ads should be attractive and polished in terms of the copy and the graphics, and they should preferably use original materials, not just stock photos.
Secondly, the message and the content should be tailored to the audience.
Thirdly, the ad should be precisely targeted, so that it’s displayed to exactly the people we care about. And while we’re on the subject:

Who are display ads shown to?

We can say that there are three basic ways to reach users. To be more specific:

  • Via general, or horizontal portals (like Onet), where the reach is very large, as well as the demographic and psychographic cross-section of users.
  • On themed websites with a narrow spectrum of visitors, gathered around a specific issue.
  • Programmatic advertising, which allows you to reach specific users determined on the basis of their demographic or psychographic profile, or specific online behaviour. Unlike the first two classic forms of ad placement, programmatic advertising allows the ad to be displayed regardless of which website the user is logged in on. This means the most precise reach and the greatest scope for budget optimisation.

How can display advertising change my business for the better?

A well-designed display campaign is a comprehensive tool to support your business. It all boils down to the conclusion that online advertising is the most cost-effective in relation to traditional forms of communication.

On TV, we’re bound to reach a cross-sectional target group, compared to the more profiled, but smaller target group in themed channels. Display advertising allows us to precisely target the group that’s more likely to buy our products based on detailed criteria such as online behaviour, location or content viewed. Remarketing allows us to display our ads to people who have visited the website, meaning we can focus on those users who are increasingly likely to buy something from us.

We can constantly optimise and improve the placement of our ads thanks to complex analytics and the possibility to adjust media plans in real time. With traditional media, the campaign objective is differentiated only at the message level, and in 4 out of 5 cases it’s geared towards showing the ad. With display ads, we set the objective at the stage of choosing the billing model: from impressions, through redirects to the website, to leads and completed transactions. As a result, we can act in a way that’s image-oriented, sales-oriented, and/or focused on engaging our users.

Display ads are an excellent support for advertising campaigns in other communication channels, including offline. On average, consumers need a minimum of 10 contacts with an ad before they buy the product, and according to other analyses, even more.

Display advertising makes it possible to increase the frequency of exposure of the advertising message, and thus brings the consumer closer to completing a transaction. This is especially important in the era of multiscreening, i.e. viewing content on two or more devices simultaneously – there are tools that allow you to show display ads at virtually the same time as on TV.

Importantly, display advertising is very effective for brands that are just starting out on their adventure with marketing. Display advertising allows you to effectively use even small budgets, and thus test out various solutions and the suitability of the ad for a given product type or service. It also provides a low entry threshold for smaller companies that can’t afford traditional advertising.

Secondly, display campaigns are the perfect solution for all e-commerce platforms. Promoting specific products in the search engine by keywords brings the consumer closer to making a purchase, and the analytics of the store itself are an invaluable mine of customer knowledge. In the case of online stores, we have a huge scope for personalisation, because we can adapt the creations and advertising message to a specific user. We also have a full range of tools to promote completion of conversions, such as cart abandonment monitoring and remarketing, which makes sure that the consumer doesn’t forget about previously viewed products.

A few statistics:

  • The Google Display Network covers 95% of the Polish internet.
  • Companies worldwide earn an average of 2 dollars for every dollar invested in Google Ads.
  • Search campaigns on mobile devices can help increase brand awareness by as much as 46%.
  • 82% of smartphone users use their phones and search for information about a product when visiting a brick-and-mortar store.
  • ⅔ of consumers admit that watching a video online influences their decision to buy a product.
  • Polish companies spend about PLN 3.2 billion annually on internet advertising, of which one billion goes to Google.
  • 2019 was to be the first year in history in which more money was spent on internet advertising than on TV advertising.

The thing about banner blindness

However, there are pitfalls. One of them is so-called banner blindness, i.e. the phenomenon of users becoming “immune” to this type of advertising while browsing content. In the age of sensory overload, our minds have learned to filter out banners and “not see” them. We’re not able to protect ourselves against it 100%, but we can defend ourselves.

Banner blindness has developed in humans primarily as a defence mechanism against badly matched ads that annoy us and are of no use to us, and should often be targeted at someone else. Therefore, it’s worth taking advantage of the benefits of display advertising, such as precise targeting, analytics that allow you to test and draw conclusions, and the possibility for very specific personalisation of content. Instead of trying to stand out with the flashiest creations, it’s worth focusing on good quality graphics and diligent campaign planning.

If we’ve sufficiently piqued your interest, we recommend checking out our completed campaigns here.

Summary: why is it worth taking an interest in display advertising?

  • It gives you the possibility to precisely target the campaign – to reach the specific people you care about with various types of creation and message.
  • We can optimise placement depending on your needs (e.g. for conversions, frequency of contact with the ad or greater range of communication).
  • It provides the most accurate and extensive analytics and “learning” capabilities, meaning you can adjust the campaign’s assumptions to achieve the best possible result.
  • It’s the easiest type of ad to modify during the campaign.
  • It’s a great tool for supporting campaigns in other channels, which increases their effectiveness.
  • It works well as a sales tool for running an e-commerce business.
  • It’s the most cost-effective solution, also due to the possibility to constantly monitor effectiveness and make adjustments, which makes it suitable even with small media budgets.

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