What is Online Display Advertising?
To put it simply, online display advertising is a text, video or audio advertisement that is used on a website or digital platform. After a somewhat unconvincing start in the late 90’s and the first few years of the 21st century, online digital advertising has grown in sophistication and now enables advertisers to serve up contextual advertisements that are well received by their audience. In the early days this was not the case, and website visitors would often be bombarded with advertising material that was largely irrelevant to their interests and needs. Thanks to ad exchanges and real-time bidding, advertisers can now opt to bid only on ad space that is relevant to them, based on the targeting criteria of the audience. In addition, the more seamless advertising techniques now available have helped people to see and engage with online advertising material more positively.
If you are considering display advertising for the first time, this article offers some encouraging reasons to take the plunge, together with some tips about the potential pitfalls of online digital advertising and how to avoid them.
So why use Online Display Advertising?
For brand awareness
Whether a business owner or specifically responsible for the marketing of a business, we all want people to know about our brand and what our business does. Once people are aware of our brand, we then want them to do business with us rather than one of our competitors. Online display advertising is an effective way to fast track brand awareness by quickly and efficiently delivering your brand’s messaging and imagery to your target audience. Your advert may not be clicked at the time of viewing but exposure to your brand has occurred, putting your brand to the forefront of the viewer’s mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
To tailor your targeting
Unlike traditional magazine or television advertisements, digital ads have a plethora of targeting options to maximise the effectiveness of your campaign. Below are some of the different types of targeting that your business could use:
- Contextual – Contextual advertising is targeted advertising that will typically occur as a banner or pop-up advert on a website. Using contextual ad systems, advertising is targeted to a specific user based on the keywords for the page that he or she is visiting. Targeting potential customers with contextual advertising is highly effective as it allows you to connect with your audience at precisely the time that they are showing interest. The ability to display your advertisement at the very moment when someone is reading web content that directly relates to what you are selling is incredibly powerful.
- Interest/topic related – Relatively new to the Google Display Network (GDN) are targeting options known as “In-Market” and “Affinity” Audiences. They both take into account a user’s search history, social activity and content consumption patterns, together with other signals, but the way in which potential consumers are then categorised is very different, with In-Market Audiences being those with a short term interest in a particular product or service and Affinity Audiences being made up of those with a suggested long-standing passion, interest or lifestyle choice.
- In-Market Audiences
Individuals who are actively searching and comparing your product or service would be categorised as your In-Market Audience. Their online activity has indicated that they are in the market for the products or services of a particular category eg. “Travel” or “clothing” for example.In-Market Audiences are categorised as such by their temporary interest in a specific in-market segment, as suggested by their recent online activity. An example of this might be an individual who is needing to purchase an outfit for a particular occasion, eg a wedding dress. This person is not a wedding dress designer, and therefore will not have a long term interest in wedding dress designs but is very interested for the period of time in which she is choosing her dress.
- Affinity Audiences
This type of audience has been categorised as such by their long term interest in a particular in-market segment, and would include the wedding dress designer whose online activity demonstrates a permanent interest in wedding dress design. This individual will not have simply searched the websites of wedding dress suppliers, but may have engaged in online activities that help him or her to keep abreast of their industry, such as subscribing to industry magazines or watching what is worn by celebrity brides.
- In-Market Audiences
- Behavioural – Behavioural targeting is used by online advertisers and publishers to enhance the effectiveness of their campaigns. Information collected about an individual’s web browsing behaviour and purchase history through the use of cookie is then used to select which advertisements should be shown to that individual. It means that online advertisements can be delivered to those individuals who are most likely to be interested in them, providing a more targeted and therefore improved visitor experience.Remarketing, where advertisers retarget those individuals who have previously shown an interest in their product or service, is a very popular online marketing technique and is a form of behavioural targeting. It is a cookie-based technology that allows you to anonymously follow your audience all over the web and enables you to serve your ads to them at appropriate times.
Other types of targeting include demographic targeting (where an audience is targeted depending on a particular characteristic such as their gender, age, marital status, income etc), product-related (where a target audience is determined based upon their usage of a product, and dayparting (where segmentation occurs based upon users being active at a particular time of the day or week).
To influence at each stage of the marketing funnel
The ability to influence each stage of the marketing funnel is one of the biggest advantages to online display marketing. Where your aim is to raise brand awareness at the top of the funnel, behavioural and contextual targeting can be used to reach the screens of those people who would most likely be interested in the product or service that your business offers.
Further down the funnel, once your target audience is aware of your brand, focus shifts to enticing them to educate themselves about your product or service by downloading information or clicking through to your website where you can then present them with a call to action.
The bottom of the funnel is where you focus on those people who have previously shown an interest in your brand by visiting your website, providing their email address to receive a copy of your newsletter or downloading information that you have made available to them. These people as yet have not made a purchase from you but may still be in the market for your product or service and therefore continued exposure to your brand will increase leads and drive future sales.
To enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns
Another great advantage to online display advertising is the ability it gives you to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. It gives you the option to focus your efforts on an audience who have already shown an interest in the product or service that you offer, enabling you to use your time and marketing budget to greater effect.
Online display advertising is also very effective when used in combination with other marketing strategies such as paid search, social engagement and content marketing. Real time reporting allows business owners/marketers to monitor the effect of their campaign immediately and make necessary changes in order to optimise quickly. Monitoring and optimising your campaign results in more effective campaigns that drive more leads and increase sales.
So what are the challenges facing a business wanting to use online display advertising?
Online display advertising is constantly evolving and with that comes an inevitable ever-changing learning curve. Effective display advertising is no longer just about banners and skyscraper ad units, it’s now in your newsfeed on Facebook and alongside the updates of your connections on LinkedIn. Using advanced targeting criteria, advertisements are tailored to a specific audience to ensure relevancy to their interests and needs, and then placed on social and professional platforms that we have grown to trust.
Without an ongoing, clear understanding of the method for successful display advertising, its potential to enhance your business in the ways mentioned above is unlikely to be realised. Understanding how to use the channel to achieve your business’s specific goals and the software required to do so is critical. It is therefore hardly surprising that many businesses employ the services of a specialist digital marketing agency to run their paid online advertising campaigns for them. Those business owners who decide to do it themselves should expect to devote considerable time to it. Either way, if done correctly, the benefits of greater brand awareness, increased leads and sales and the opportunity to monitor and optimise your campaigns are there to be reaped!
We hope you have found this article interesting and informative. If you have any questions or would like to discuss online display marketing for your small business further, please contact Trinity on 02475 185286 for a Free Consultation or complete our online form.