3 Key Applications for Digital Display Advertising

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Digital display is a form of advertising that is served across websites on mobile devices and desktops. Display ads play an important role in today’s comprehensive media campaigns. Whether your goal is to build awareness of your brand or convert leads, creative implementation of display ads within larger, multi-layered strategies drives traffic to dedicated landing pages or company websites. When choosing to use display ads in combination with other types of digital media vehicles within a multi-faceted program, advertisers’ messages effectively (and often repetitively) target users as they consume information throughout their daily lives.

In today’s online media lexicon, digital display advertisements are a type of tactical advertising that is typically applied to a media strategy when the goal is to raise awareness of your brand or service. Consumers are delivered display ads throughout their forays around the web, thanks to the seemingly endless contextual and behavioral data collected by internet search engines. Banner ads come in many sizes and formats, and may contain rich media, video or other interactive elements. Their exact specifications are determined by available online and mobile inventory.

Here are three potential applications for digital display advertising:

  1. Building Awareness. One of the primary benefits of including digital display advertising in your media mix is its ability to be highly targeted. These days, data abounds in relation to demographics, user behavior, preferences, personal interests, communities and information consumption habits. The key is to assemble as much of this data as possible about the target audience, including their site visitation habits, search behavior and regard for particular types of content. When a media planner applies a high level of audience specificity, digital display ads will reach their target with more precision and less waste.
  2. Increasing Traffic. Because digital display ads are served directly to the target audience, more of the right people are seeing the right advertisement at the right time. That means more of the people you want to reach are clicking on your advertisement and reaching your landing page or website. Provided the web destination is optimized to receive this traffic, it’s also possible to see conversions happen. In our experience, online ads offer a ripple effect. Not only will site traffic increase because of a display campaign, but organic search and direct traffic will also go up, and repeat visits may lead to more potential conversion events.
  3. Boosting Reach and Frequency. Similar to print, broadcast or other, non-digital media vehicles, online advertising follows the cardinal rules of reach and frequency. The sheer vastness of the online universe makes display advertising an efficient way to achieve reach. Geographic targeting technology led by access to users’ mobile GPS allows advertisers to create reach zones as wide as an entire country or as narrow as a single parking lot. On the other hand, digital frequency is achieved through the use of a retargeting strategy whereby visitors to a website are tagged with an online pixel (also known as a cookie) allowing advertisers to serve their message repeatedly across the web until the retargeted user finally takes the desired action step, the cookie expires naturally or the user clears the browser history.

Measuring Effectiveness of Display Ads and Other Forms of Digital Media

Digital marketers and media planners use Google Analytics and other media platform measuring tools to determine exactly which online ads are performing well, which are falling short and which are driving traffic to a page but not converting. We are able to tell how much traffic is going to a certain URL, the duration of the visit, whether they stay or bounce, and where they go from there. This crucial data allows us to evaluate and optimize a media campaign in the moment, switching out an underperforming headline for one that is driving more traffic or making tweaks to a landing page to improve engagement. Because we’re working with digital files, it’s often less costly and time consuming to edit and replace them, compared to other, more cumbersome, advertising vehicles.

“When a media planner applies a high level of audience specificity, digital display ads will reach their target with more precision and less waste.”

Digital advertising offers elements of flexibility and responsiveness to the media landscape ensuring today’s advertising campaigns are more effective than ever before. However, a successful digital campaign, like any media plan, requires quite a bit of forethought. Before launching a digital media campaign, it is critical to discuss the goals and expectations for the campaign and to research and understand your target audience(s). It’s also important to work with a media planner who understands and is able to communicate the benefits of using one media platform over another.

If you’re thinking of launching an advertising campaign, give us a call or drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management, and SEO.


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Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.

In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts and hosts our BSuite podcast. Favorite topics for both platforms include the entrepreneurial journey, sustainability + social responsibility, media planning, media buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.