Any business that transacts online, whether selling products directly or communicating with customers, should have probably heard of display advertising.
However, most clients we speak to don’t understand the full potential of what display advertising can offer.
Display advertising is the process of buying ad space somewhere on the web, much the same way a company would use a physical billboard or poster in the real world.
The same methodology works here, using the ads to boost brand awareness, loyalty, promote special events of product launches and ultimately sell more.
What physical advertising can’t achieve however is the ability to interact with customers on a much more personal basis – and that’s what makes display advertising so effective.
Types of Display Advertising
Depending on the market you are trying to reach and what action you want them to take, there are many different ways to use display ads. Below are just a few suggestions:
- Product/service specific
- Abandoned shopping carts
- Membership programs
- Time of year/seasonal sales
- Offer a discount
- Get users to subscribe to a newsletter
- Offer an incentive (e.g. free shipping or giveaway)
- Explain how you are better than your competition
Best Practices to Apply
When it comes to effective display advertising, there’s one area where you should never cut corners – creative.
Using the same generic banner over and over again will not excite your customers; in fact, it will probably just annoy them if they see it all over the web.
The best way to approach display advertising is to think about whom your target audience are, what you want them to do and where on the web you will find them.
By understanding their behaviour and thought process, you can tailor your ads to trigger the best response.
Below are just a few quick tips to help get you started:
Tip 1: Use high quality images
As with in-store displays, the way you present your products to potential customers can make all the difference.
Make sure you always us high quality images that will not become distorted on larger screens. On the other hand, don’t use photos that are zoomed out, as they’ll become difficult to see on a mobile device.
Tip 2: Add a personalised message
There’s nothing better than adding a personal touch to your marketing creative.
Customers will appreciate the effort you’ve made, if you have something smart or funny to say, and sometimes that’s all you need to separate yourself from the competition.
Tip 3: Link to the relevant landing pages
There’s nothing worse than clicking on an ad expecting to see something specific, and being re-directed to a generic home page that has no relevance to the ad.
To improve the user experience as much as possible, try and link display ads to the correct information on your website, and if you don’t have a dedicated page then create one.
If you’re asking a specific question on your ad then answer it in a blog article. If you are advertising a specific range of products then link it to a custom landing page featuring those particular items.
The less clicks you require from the user, the more likely they’ll take the steps towards achieving the action you want.
Tip 4: Always be testing
The Internet is far more intuitive than any other marketing platform.
No matter what you’re doing on the web, there’s almost always some way to retrieve instant data and results – display advertising is no different.
Google provide free tools to gauge the effectiveness of your display ads, offering more information and insight than you will probably need or know what to do with.
Use this information to test as much as possible, find out what works, what doesn’t, when it works best, who it’s working with and what action it’s generating.
You can simultaneously test almost every element of your display ads as well, from the layout, the image, the colours, the text and the call to action. Trial and error is sometimes the best method here, as you can only learn more from the experience.
Worst Practices to Avoid
Display advertising is no different to any other type of marketing.
In essence, any brand recognition is good recognition – but then again, spending money on advertising that isn’t converting is money that could be used better elsewhere.
Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your display advertising campaign:
Tip 5: Stick to your corporate branding guide
There are a lot of articles on the web trying to teach start-up businesses the key to effective display ads.
They mention using emotive colours like greens, reds and oranges because they “attract attention and demand action” – which may or may not be the case.
The reality is that you should never stray from your corporate branding guide for any reason, because in the end it will do more damage to your brand than good.
Think about all the biggest brands in the world, they all have an uncompromising set of colours they use in all advertising material – there’s a reason for it.
Tip 6: Avoid cliché calls to action
The web has matured a lot since the 1990s, and users are no longer sucked in by cliché marketing cries like “Buy Now!” or “Sign up Here”. Instead, try and get creative with your call to action.
Incorporate a personalised message that intrigues and excites the user – for example: “Want to know the key to an effective display ad?”
Tip 7: Rich Media
What is Rich Media?
A lot of clients, who come to us interested in display advertising, usually ask us what is more effective: static or rich media.
Traditional display ads are what we refer to as static, which means it’s a simple flat file, typically consisting of a photo or image with text overlay. These are usually in the form of JPG, PNG or EPS file.
Rich media goes one step further, offering an element of interaction in the form of video, Flash or audio, and can even do things like expand when hovered on or move with the mouse cursor.
With the popularity of video and the effectiveness of video advertising, it’s no surprise more companies are shifting towards rich media for their display advertising. However, as with all forms of media, the only downside of becoming more interactive is that it comes with a cost.
Thankfully, rich media is not crucial for any business. If done well, yes, it can be effective – but at the same time there is no point investing in something until you’re doing it properly from the start. We encourage all clients to invest their time in static display ads first, and once they have proven to bring in sales, then consider investing in rich media.
For more information about display ad campaigns and how they can assist with your business goals, contact the team at Digital Thing. We’ll take the time to assess you website and determine a suitable strategy.