3 key elements of successful display advertising
Research shows that users who are re-targeted are 70% more likely to convert, which is an opportunity too big for most businesses to ignore.

For those just starting out in digital marketing, display advertising is an element that’s going to come up as a key consideration. In basic terms, display ads are ads on websites – not sponsored posts, like the ones you might see on Facebook, but the ads on the sidebars and banners that show up as you browse.

Depending on who you talk to – and how they're used – the opportunity of display ads varies significantly. As you’re no doubt aware, sometimes you get hit with banner ads that have no relevance to you or your interests; sidebar ads that are so unrelated to you that it seems unlikely they’d be even worth the advertisers’ money.

In reality, that’s probably true – there are some cheap forms of display ads that will get you a heap of reach and exposure, but offer no targeting, and those campaigns aren’t likely to drive significant results.

The key with display ads is focus - displaying the right ads, to the right users, at the right time.

This is possible with display ads – here are some key tactics to consider when evaluating the potential of display ads for your business.

1. When will it be shown?

As noted, display ads often seem random and unrelated to your interests. But they can be targeted more specifically, and not only to certain websites, but to specific users at certain stages of the buying cycle.

This is particularly beneficial for re-targeting. Re-targeted ads are the ones that show up after you’ve visited a website – you look at a pair of sports shoes on eBay, and the next day there’s an ad for those same shoes in your sidebar while looking on another site.

This is how re-targeting works, and it can be extremely effective. Research shows that users who are re-targeted are 70% more likely to convert, which is an opportunity too big for most businesses to ignore.

It makes sense – you went looking for a certain item, which means you’re interested, and sometimes all you need is that little nudge or reminder to actually go through with the purchase.

Display ads can be great for this purpose.

2. Where will it be shown?

But, of course, you also need your ads to be shown on the right websites, where your target audience is active, and actively considering making a purchase.

There’s little point having your display ads for hose fittings showing up on a news and entertainment site – while that sort of approach might get you reach, it’s less likely to generate the best response. You’d have better luck targeting gardening sites or hardware-focused platforms, related websites where your target audience is more likely to be active.

For this purpose, most display platforms offer some level of ad targeting. Sensis, for example, offers targeting to approved sites to ensure your ads appear where they’re more likely to drive response.

Again, focus is key with display ads – you need to reach the right consumers at the right time. Your host sites are a key element in your campaign.  

3. How does it look?

The final major key for display ads is how they look. Are your ads attention-grabbing without being intrusive? Do they speak to your audience and generate response? Does your landing page provide all the relevant information to best facilitate a sale?

All of these elements play a part – you don’t need to be a design genius, but you do need to understand what your audience is after, and what they will, and won’t, respond to.

You also need to monitor your analytics to see where your audience are falling away – for example, if they’re clicking through on your ad but not converting, your landing page might not be up to scratch.

As in all things marketing, understand the user perspective and ensure your content speaks to their needs.

There are various other considerations with display ads, but these fundamental elements are key to your success or failure with this option. Used well, display advertising can be a great way to generate more exposure and drive leads. But it’s a delicate balance, and one which requires a measured approach. 

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