What is display advertising? A beginner’s guide

What is display advertising? A beginner’s guide


  • Measurable:
  • Depending on which CTA you use, you can measure the success of a display ad campaign against a plethora of marketing metrics. For example, if you choose a call to action, such as “experience the brand,” in addition to measuring clicks on the display ad itself and corresponding cost per click (CPC), you can measure things like impressions, conversion rates, return on ad spend (ROAS), and much more.

    And you can determine if the ad resonated with your intended audience, and understand what inspired shopping actions. For example, you can see which audiences purchased your brand.

  • Cost-effective
  • Display ad costs vary, but what makes them one of the most cost-effective advertising methods is the flexibility. With some traditional advertising, brands can’t change the visuals, CTA, or message, after an ad begins running. That means that if the ad isn’t effective, the cost per action may be higher. Since display advertising is dynamic, allowing advertisers to change course during a campaign gives brands greater flexibility to optimize campaigns for growth.

  • Complements other channels
  • Display is complementary to other channels. When you combine it with another channel, like social media, display can boost ROAS or have a halo effect. In fact, according to our research, display can help reduce time-to-sales baseline by 21%.3 In addition, brands who have used a full-funnel strategy intermittently (e.g., on and off), drive 1.8x more ad-attributed sales on average when they take a modified full-funnel approach, and 2x more ad-attributed sales when they take a comprehensive full-funnel approach, compared to when they only use certain display ads.4

  • Flexible and accessible
  • Display ads allow brands to test different copy, visuals, and calls to action in order to achieve the desired results. For example, rather than choosing just one headline and hoping it will work, brands can launch several display ads with the same visuals and CTAs but different headlines in order to gauge which messages resonate best with their intended audiences. If a brand is also doing offline marketing like TV spots or billboards, testing headlines through display advertising is a good way to determine which messages will yield the best results when applied to less flexible ad formats.

    Display doesn’t just allow brands to test and learn; it’s also one of the most widely used advertising formats today and programmatic accounts for the majority of display ads used. It can be effective as both a standalone and complementary channel.


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