Display Ads: The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Display Advertising

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Display ads are highly targeted and convenient and can help brands reach their target audience quickly.

Over the past fifteen years, our team has helped thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses build and grow their businesses with effective display advertising. And we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs and companies create effective display ads for use online and in apps. Throughout that time, we’ve regularly experimented with display advertising for crowdspring and other businesses and projects. This guide shares the actionable insights, tips, best practices, and expertise we’ve developed after helping over one hundred thousand brands.

If you want to know how to leverage display advertising to help your startup or small business grow, learn all the basics, types of display advertising, and more in this ultimate guide.

The US display advertising market is rapidly growing at 27.5%, representing an ad spend of $108.53 billion.

But there is more to display than the usual ads on social media platforms or websites. You need to consider important factors such as the type of display advertising, targeting options, and a creative strategy to ensure that you’re attracting the right people to your ads.

Display advertising is a pay-per-click ad (PPC) but differs from search advertising. Search advertising is text only.

Display ads can play an essential role in your marketing plan. The main goal of display advertising is to catch people’s attention in hopes of turning them into paying customers. But it takes five to seven impressions for consumers to recognize your company.

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Types of display ads

Knowing which type of display ad suits your brand and the message you wish to convey to your target audience is vital. Here are 9 types of popular display ads:

  1. Banner ads. Banner ads are one of the most common types of display advertising. You can find this type of ad across platforms like news websites, social media, and blogs. They combine text and images and often appear in traditional shapes such as landscapes, squares, and skyscraper sizes to fit the platform.
  2. Native ads. This type of display advertising aims to fit ads into various content naturally. Examples include sponsored search results or posts, paid social media posts, and more. The goal of a native ad is to appear as natural as possible to attract potential customers.
  3. Infographics. Another common type of display advertising is infographics. Infographics are a creative way to feature ads through graphics and text. They are commonly used for ads to educate, build customer relationships, and encourage engagement.
  4. Interactive ads. Interactive display ads combine multiple media elements to encourage online engagement. Some examples include images, graphics, and other embedded features that allow the audience to interact with the ad. This type of ad helps build interest and is a good way to funnel people into a brand’s website.
  5. Interstitial ads. Interstitial ads are commonly seen in mobile applications, especially video games and social media apps. They are ads that often appear to users in-between scenes or game levels. This type of display advertising is essential to digital marketers who wish to promote products and services with mobile integration.
  6. Pop-up ads. Pop-up ads live up to their name. These ads pop up whenever people visit a website, blog, and more. Marketers often use them to promote product offerings, newsletter sign-ups, and more. Pop-up ads are often square or rectangular and take up the entire page to fully gain a person’s attention.
  7. Video content. Display ads featuring video content aim to engage audiences by providing specific information, asking thought-provoking questions, and showcasing a unique product or brand offering to incite action. Video content allows marketers and brands to explain and explore topics that static images or texts can’t do.
  8. Animations. Animated display ads use parts of video, audio, and text to effectively catch people’s attention and promote products and services or brand messages. Animated ads can be shareable forms of media to help spread brand messages or product promotions easily. So, it’s vital to create engaging and well-designed animated display ads.
  9. Expanding ads. Expanding ads allow users to expand the ad beyond its initial size. They often appear as a small display somewhere on the platform, and users can click on them to expand the display to learn more about product or service offerings, brand messages, and more.

Display ads versus native ads

One of the primary goals of display advertising is to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the advertiser’s website. But, display ads can sometimes be intrusive and interrupt a person’s browsing experience or stand out too much from the website’s content.

Native advertising is a more subtle approach to digital marketing. Native ads are often perceived as less intrusive and more informative than traditional display ads. Native ads blend seamlessly with the surrounding content because they are designed to match the look, feel, and function of the media they appear in, offering people a less disruptive experience. This form of advertising can be found on websites, social media platforms, and even in sponsored articles or videos.

Disadvantages of display advertising

Display ads do have some disadvantages. One significant disadvantage of display advertising is ad fatigue. Ad fatigue occurs when people become disinterested in seeing ads repeatedly. Over time, this can lead to diminishing returns, as people are less likely to engage with or even notice the advertisements.

Display ads also often suffer from low click-through rates (CTR). If the ads are poorly designed or written, they may not be sufficiently interesting to get people to click on an ad and visit your site. As a result, you can spend lots of money targeting the wrong prospects.

Advantages of display advertising

Display ads offer several advantages for your business. If you’re still unsure whether you should leverage display advertising, here are 5 ways display ads can help your business:

Display ads boost brand awareness

Display ads help develop your brand’s visual identity and increase its exposure to various audiences, and their wide reach provides higher ROI potential. And if you’re a small business looking to increase brand awareness, leveraging display advertising is the key.

Display advertising creates a major visual impact on your target audience

Display ads are versatile, and you can be as creative and experimental with your ads to attract your target audience. Use the best quality images, write captivating copy, and combine other media forms to make your display ad stand out and stay on brand.

Display ads are simple to track and measure

Display ads aren’t complicated to track. The key metrics, such as impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and more, are easily trackable and measurable. This allows you to check and refine your display ads to create more effective ads in the future.

Display advertising easily targets and retargets certain audiences

Display ads are effective because they target specific audiences. You can create audience-tailored ads based on their behaviors and interests. Display ads also allow you to retarget your audience, reach them, and encourage them to return to your website.

Display ads can be cost-effective

Display ads are typically inexpensive compared to other marketing campaigns, such as native advertising and video.

Best practices for display advertising

Here are five display ads best practices to help guide you:

1. Ensure that your ads are relevant. Avoid wasting resources in putting up ads for the sake of doing so. You must research, strategize, and understand how display ads can work for your business.

For example, if you’re a new business looking for exposure, display ads can work for you if you highlight the strongest points of your brand that matter to your target audience to drive engagement. Encourage people to make meaningful purchases that address their needs by showing through your ads how your brand can add value to their lives. Make your business the solution and avoid annoying potential customers with irrelevant offers.

2. Make your ads simple and easy to understand. Ads often follow a brevity rule: keep it simple and easy to digest– and display ads are no different. Use strong call-to-actions (CTAs) and keep the tone conversational. Display ads that look too overcrowded with words can confuse readers, discouraging them from engaging with your ad.

3. Keep track of your ad performance. Don’t just run a display ad and forget about it. Think of display ads as measurable flyers for your business that you can adjust whenever they’re not meeting your goals. Keep track of your ad performance, modify elements that aren’t working, and run occasional tests to see which aspects of your ad your audience responds to most.

4. Stay on brand. Ads are great avenues to help your audience become more familiar with your brand, especially for new businesses. The more they are exposed to your ads, the more they will be able to distinguish your business from the competition. So, you must use brand-appropriate designs, elements, and voice to help people get acquainted with your business.

5. Experiment with rich media. Static images are good in display ads, but using other media elements like videos, audio, and more is even better for attracting your target audience. You must explore and find ways to leverage popular media forms such as video to fully capture your audience’s attention and increase the chances of customer conversion.

6. Leverage remarketing. With Google vying away from third-party cookies, learning as early as now how to find alternatives to marketing your ads properly is vital. Research new ad remarketing strategies and learn how to apply this to your marketing strategy. Remember, technology is always evolving, and so should your brand.

Display advertising is a proven way to help your brand reach the right people. But running a display ad alone isn’t enough to capture your target audience.

It’s vital to check three key factors before running your display ads: relevance, content, and design. So, learn all the basics, research various strategies, and constantly test your display ad to get the best-desired results.

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