Best Practices for Online Display Advertising

Online Display Advertising, Display Ads

Display ads are often regarded as online noise, but eMarketer predicts that banner ad spending will increase 52 percent from 2015 to 2019. Despite their negative association, display ads are actually your brand’s most underrated marketing tool.

A display ad’s performance extends beyond measuring metrics such as impressions or click-through rates; impressions are mostly a factor of how much you are spending while click-through-rates lack substantial business value. The true impact of display ads is difficult to measure, even with comprehensive view-through tracking setup for offline and online conversions.

However, as mobile continues to be a primary conduit between marketers and consumers, mobile and online display advertising spend has enjoyed considerable growth, even outpacing mobile search. Mobile advertising offers countless opportunities for building your brand, especially since ad blocker adoption is much lower on mobile than on desktop.

Display Ad Best Practices:

In summary, display ads prime consumers with the brand’s message, which is then actively processed and stored as an overt memory. Consider the following display ad best practices in order to combat the digital advertising industry’s contempt with display ads:

  1. Copy should be less than five to 10 words: Consumers spend about one to two seconds analyzing an ad, but only viewing 250 milliseconds is enough time to considerably increase ad recall. Depending on the device, users will interact with ads or content for longer or shorter periods of time. For example, a mobile Facebook user will interact with a piece of content for 1.7 seconds while a desktop Facebook user will spend 2.5 seconds. Younger demographics, such as millennials, will spend significantly less time interacting with their mobile newsfeeds in comparison to older users.

A recent study discovered that animated display ads can last between 10 to 15 seconds and feature multiple frames, pressuring marketers to convey the overarching message within the first few seconds.

  1. Think of display ads as channels for branding instead of direct-response ads: Think of display ads as you would a billboard. Billboards exist to reinforce the brand’s message in less than three seconds, and with display click-through rates falling below 0.1%, your display ad should aim to establish a similar rapport as a billboard would.

While implementing display ads for direct response should still be top-of-mind, your display ad should simultaneously address procuring an audience to accommodate the goal-oriented mentality of an internet user.

  1. The creative asset should look like an ad: While native ads are less disruptive and more fluid on-page, banner ads are deliberately unsubtle.  A well-designed banner ad includes the brand’s logo in each frame, a clear call-to-action, and the corresponding imagery should reflect the product or service (although the ad shouldn’t exclusively rely on product shots).

The IAB requires that display ad creatives be “clearly distinguishable from normal webpage content” with defined borders. Powerful display ads successfully accomplish the following:

  • The brand’s name and message are clearly defined.
  • Only one product or service is advertised as to not confuse the user with multiple offerings.
  • Simplistic messages, rather than heavier messages, resonate better with audiences.
  • The ad utilizes high resolution, uncluttered visuals for easier comprehension.
  1. Creative should be consistent across all campaign efforts: If display ads are just one element of a larger marketing campaign initiative, the branding and messaging must be consistent. This requires all seemingly extraneous details to be in accordance, including colors, fonts, themes, messages and call-to-actions.