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The advancements in technology drive up and change every industry, including the world of digital marketing solutions. Not only does media content evolve and become more interactive and eye-catchy but also the tools to measure marketing activities are getting more sophisticated. However, the abundance of options requires more acumen and expertise. Although launching a display ad is not difficult, launching a successful ad that generates leads and increases ROI is. In this article, we will talk about display advertising types and processes, go over the benefits of choosing this type of ad, and explore some examples of display advertising done right.

What Is Display Advertising?

With the very first display ad launching back in 1994 as a small AT&T advertisement on, these types of ads are still largely popular and effective even all these years later. A box or banner on a website, digital display advertising tries to stand out from the rest of the visuals to instantly grab user attention and incentivize them to learn more. It can feature a product image, company’s logo, brand, and/or a call-to-action. Nowadays, ads are extended using various technologies to be animated and interactive to look more appealing to the viewer. However, the focal point remains the same it was in 1994: if a user clicks on the banner, they will be directed to the company’s website or landing page. 

Modern internet users will encounter hundreds of display ads on a daily basis which can be quite overwhelming and distracting, which has triggered the growth of ad blocking services. Although there are other reasons for installing ad blocking software such as the threat of malware or slow page load, many users claim they use it to hide advertisements. Does it mean the age of display ads is dead? Not really—they remain one of the best marketing tools and strategies for many businesses across the globe. When executed correctly and targeted properly, they can increase your ROI, attract people to the product and raise brand awareness. 

Types of Display Ads

When we talk about display advertising types, we can distinguish between static, animated, interactive, video, and expanding. Static is a still image and by text, whereas animated or video ads include GIFs, short clips, and other forms of video content. Interactive types of display ads incentivize users to partake in a quiz, survey, simple game, or any other form of interaction. Finally, as the name suggests, expanding ads grow bigger once a user places the cursor over and reveals more information. 

We can break down display ads into other categories to discuss more types of display advertising:

  • Traditional display ad typesinclude an image accompanied by some text and are mostly used on websites. 
  • Responsive types of display advertisingare based on various headlines, images, and styles that are personalized to appeal to a certain user. 
  • Retargeting or remarketing display ad types are visible only to viewers who have been on your website before and performed a set of actions. For example, if a user looked at a certain item but did not put it in their cart, they might see an ad for this item when they visit the website next time. 
  • Native types of display ads try to mimic the website’s surroundings and look as natural as possible. Their main goal is to look like a part of the website including style, font, design, etc. and not to appear like an ad to the viewer. 
  • Social display ad types are placed on social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and may be static, animated, or any other type. 

Process of Display Advertising

A part of digital marketing strategy, display ads also require a lot of preparation and expertise. Even though the technical part of advertising changes and advances, the cornerstones of advertising stay the same. Marketers try to target the product to a suitable audience to attract users who are actually interested in the offer. In this section, we will focus on the process of launching a successful ad that will yield the best results for your company and product. 

  • Define the demographic by segmenting your audience by age, location, gender, hobbies, occupation, and more. CRM tools and other Business Intelligence software allow marketers to know their client base and effectively segment it. 
  • Collaborate with publishers that act in the same industry as your company and fit your specific category. 
  • Identify the keywords that match the verbiage used on the publisher’s website to make sure your product will be discovered. 
  • Find the most appropriate ad placement within the website. For example, a subpage of a certain service or a blog post that discusses a specific topic. 
  • Utilize remarketing features that display specific ads to users that have already visited your website and expressed interest in a certain product or service. 

Platforms for Display Ads

There are two giants that carry a load of most digital display advertising online: Facebook and Google.

  • Google Display Network has accumulated more than 200 million websites and applications that can be used to advertise your product. Although it can be quite expensive, proper targeting will allow you to reach the audience that would actually be interested in your company and generate leads. 
  • Facebook Audience Network is another behemoth of digital marketing and offers ad placement on their services. Meta incorporates several highly popular networks which make their reach far and wide. 

An additional option is the Twitter Audience Platform which can put your service in front of 700 million people. Even though Twitter’s reach is significantly smaller than Google and Facebook’s, it still offers great advertising potential, especially if you know your audience well. 

KPIs for Successful Display Ad Campaign

display advertising

Without setting appropriate KPIs, your marketing strategy will not be effective or even meaningful. KPIs allow marketers to measure their activities and evaluate the success rate of marketing efforts. 


Impressions is the number of times your ad has been shown on a website or application. The number in itself does not mean too much, but the ratio with other metrics shows the performance of the advertisement. For example, if impressions grow but other metrics remain the same, you might want to restrategize your campaign. 


Reach quantifies the number of users who actually saw the advertisement on the website or application but did not interact with it. This metric can help you evaluate whether the ad is shown to the right people as well as prevent ad fatigue. If the ad is pushed to the same users who choose not to interact with it, it can lead to ad fatigue. Optimize your targeting parameters to avoid this outcome. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR) 

CTR demonstrates the ratio between the number of people who clicked on the ad banner and impressions. For instance, with 100 impressions and 2 clicks, your CTR will be 2%. This metric is crucial for assessing the efficiency of your digital online advertising and marketing campaigns in general. If you notice a low CTR, consider tweaking your ad and making it more striking and visually appealing. 

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is arguably the most vital metric and calculates the number of users who clicked on the ad and performed a certain action such as downloading a whitepaper or app, making a purchase, signing up for early release, and more. A low conversion rate may indicate that your landing page is not optimized or your targeting is wrong. The former can be fixed by A/B tests on landing pages whereas the latter can be improved by readjusting your targeting efforts. 

Benefits of Display Advertising

A marketer’s job is to identify the suitable marketing activities for their brand, product and audience. The assessment process includes taking into account the pros and cons of each method and determining which one would work best for them. A part of a coherent digital marketing strategy, display ads can be beneficial to some more than others. In this section, we will explore the benefits of display advertising as well as discuss some of the downsides. 


Boosting Brand Awareness

Especially for smaller companies, getting your brand name out there and reaching wider audiences is a vital marketing step. When executed right and targeted toward the audience of interest, a digital display ad can be a great contributor to a coherent and visible brand image. 

Facilitating Wider Reach

Using services like Google Display Network, companies can reach unprecedented amounts of potential leads and customers. With a market share of 92%, Google has 4.3 billion users worldwide which allow marketers to identify their potential customer base and target them specifically. These services also help companies to attract audiences from various locations and across devices and formats. 

Utilizing Targeting Features 

Targeting methods are twofold: contextualization and segmentation. Contextual targeting allows marketers to specify the keywords and key phrases as well as search terms for publishers to maximize the chance of product exposure to their target audience. User segmentation targets users based on their demographics, location, language, hobbies and more. The combination of both facilitates precise targeting towards the people who are likely to perform the call-to-action. 

Remarketing or Retargeting Ads

Remarketing activities are highly efficient since they are pushed to audiences that are already familiar with the product. On average, remarketing delivers higher CTR and conversion rates and increases ROI in the long term. For example, offering the products that the user has already viewed but never purchased will increase the chances of the sale. 

Increasing Diversity 

As mentioned before, display online advertising options are incredibly diverse and come in all shapes and formats. Depending on your budget, goals, and target audience, you can create an ad that will be appealing. From static text and images to videos and interactive games, businesses can take advantage of various formats to speak to their audiences. 

Measuring the Results

Digital display ads are measurable and tangible which allows marketers to monitor the performance of their activities and pinpoint which ones work the best. Google Analytics and other marketing tools offer a large variety of services and functions to track and measure ad outcomes and fine-tune marketing strategies. 


An experienced marketer will evaluate both benefits and downsides of each digital marketing strategy to determine whether it is the right path to achieve their goals. First of all, we would like to mention a phenomenon called banner blindness. In the abundance of digital display ads on the internet, users are likely to ignore them or simply not notice them. However, this can be counteracted by using remarketing features and interactive ads. The second disadvantage is the prevalence of ad blockers. Over the last few years especially, ad blockers have become commonplace which hinders your exposure. Companies try to circumvent this problem by allowing users to opt-in or out of ads as well as sign up for newsletters.

Best Practices for Launching Display Ads

display advertising

Besides going through the steps discussed before, there are some tricks that could help you with your first campaigns. In this part, we will dive into the best practices of display advertising that might help you avoid common beginner mistakes and launch a successful campaign. 

Use Various Formats

Services like Google provide a large array of formats that you can use for your digital online advertising. However, we recommend using multiple formats at the same time to appeal to different users. Another tip is to choose the formats from the top of the list as they are proven to be the most effective.

Add Your Logo and Value Proposition

To increase brand awareness and exposure, use your logo and brand name in the ad. The placement is up to you, but make sure they are visible, readable and clear. Additionally, include a very straightforward value proposition that might incentivize the right audience to follow up. It could be a special offer, new collection, free shipping, discounts, cutting-edge technology, or other offer. Don’t forget to include an explicit call-to-action to let users know what they can gain from clicking your ad. For example, getting a 25% off, signing up for free, downloading an app, etc. 

Explore Different Media

No one will argue that video content is at its peak of popularity and you should use this knowledge in your ads. Videos are digestible, easy to consume and capture the attention of your audience. Another promising medium is interactive content. Despite the potential of driving up your budget, interactive ads can significantly increase your ROI. Make sure the audio is also clear and at an appropriate volume as well as muted by default. The common practice is to play the muted video and allow users to hear the sound by tapping on it. 

Focus on Landing Pages

A common reason for low conversion is low-quality landing pages. Pay more attention to the landing page, its design and navigation, and the call-to-action. Neglecting these parts will likely decrease conversion rates and lead to abandons, especially if the page is not user-friendly, the design is not consistent with the ad, or the call-to-action is not clear or appealing. 

Make Your Ads Mobile-Friendly

Mobile phone use is increasing every year due to its affordability and flexibility. Adjust your ads for mobile display to ensure the message remains readable using a phone. Moreover, make sure the images, videos, and interactive content work perfectly and the landing page is optimized for mobile use. 

Explore Remarketing Options

We have talked about remarketing before and would like to stress its importance even more. Utilize marketing tools to collect user data, analyze user behavior, and retarget your campaigns to specific people. Remarketing brings in higher conversion rates and saves your marketing budget. 

Test and Measure Your Ads

First of all, continuously track and measure your KPIs like impressions, reach, CTR and conversion rate. If the metrics are low, investigate the reasons for it and adjust the ads accordingly. Secondly, A/B test your ads to identify which formats, designs, fonts, and media content speaks to your audience. 

Be Creative in Your Branding

This is obvious advice but it remains integral to successful marketing campaigns. Find your unique voice and tone, use humor and rich media, and try different formats to identify what works for your brand. 

Examples of Display Ads

Theory can only take you so far. Let’s explore different types of display ads launched by big and successful companies and learn from their experiences. In this part, we will go over a few examples of display advertising that showcase different strategies you can choose to highlight the advantages of your brand and product. 


display advertising

The first example of display advertising is from Adobe, who decided to choose two different but similar ads that are meant to appeal to two segments. The first ad is geared toward businesses and offers group plans that would help them create designs. The second ad appeals to individuals who need design tools to finish their projects. The company is trying to address the biggest issue customers have with their products—a high price tag. Putting prices on the ad allows them to demonstrate that their pricing model is flexible and affordable for both business and personal use. Finally, the design is simple and appealing which attracts users and incentivizes them to click on the advertisement. 

Apple TV 

display advertising

Apple TV went for a simplistic and concise design to advertise their gift card selection. The ad is focusing on the message of staying at home and watching favorite TV shows without overwhelming the viewer with too much textual content. The design itself is black and white which draws even more attention to the colorful gift cards that the ad is trying to promote. The call-to-action simply says learn more, which could be stronger, but in this case, it’s sufficient. 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 

display advertising

Another prominent example of display advertising is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This ad does not follow every rule in the book and appears flashy and overwhelming. However, it goes to show the importance of knowing your audience and their preferences. An ad for a famous game that is known to be action-filled and fast-paced can be less conventional. This example is meant to show you that experimenting and breaking the rules can be successfully accomplished with a great knowledge of your audience and rigorous tests. Finally, the ad has a clear call-to-action that entices people to click on it to claim their free season passes. 

The New York Times 

display advertising

The ad from New York Times is capitalizing on the fake news trend that is rampant across social media platforms. They are here to deliver the real news and help people to gain access to truthful stories. The call-to-action is subscribing to The Times, and the button will direct readers to various subscription plans. Altogether, the ad is concise and simplistic and does not overwhelm viewers with flashy imagery and texts which make The NY Times look professional and authoritative.

Mount Sinai 

display advertising

A great example of display advertising is this Mount Sinai ad that is addressing the current healthcare situation in the United States and urges people to get a much-needed check-up. The message is conveyed clearly but the copy does appear to be long which might discourage users to read it. The call-to-action is enticing people to book an appointment which is a good tactic. The design is also elegant and easy to digest which in combination with everything else makes it a premium ad. 


display advertising

This ad from SemRush is a perfect example of an attention-grabbing ad that does not cost too much to produce. The hourglass alludes to the insights you will get from this platform and learn about your market competition. The design is colorful and interesting and the messaging is concise. The ad could use a clearer call-to-action button but it still works and attracts users to their services. 


display advertising

This ad from Bulldog exemplifies the usage of humor in the marketing space. It is a hard route since humor is highly subjective and might not appeal to many people but can be very fruitful if used correctly. The green design also highlights the organic nature of the product line and appeals to environmentally conscious users. The ad allows you to scroll through their products to see what the company offers before clicking the ad. The call-to-action is straightforward and sets clear expectations. 


display advertising

Finally, the last but not least on the list of our examples of display advertising is from Square. This ad is a prime example of following the rules and getting results. The ad includes a logo, brand name, product image, call-to-action, and a value proposition. It goes to show that you do not need to be a creative genius and a revolutionary to launch a successful ad. All you need is a good image and an enticing value proposition—in this case, low rates. The simplicity works and conveys a professional and qualified image of the company. 


Digital marketing is becoming more complex and precise with the rise of technology. Digital display advertising also evolves by incorporating various technologies, social media trends, and different media content. Setting up an ad is not difficult, but mastering targeting and remarketing can be complicated. If you would like to explore the intricacies of this art and learn more about it, get in touch with the experts from NIX United. Our team of marketing specialists will help you navigate the world of modern marketing and choose the right strategies for you.


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