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Wednesday 19 December 2018 Digital ConsultancyDigital Marketing


Leon Gerrits's picture
By Leon Gerrits

A solid digital strategy for any business nowadays includes display advertising. Where display advertising used to be static and limited to only being available via specific networks, the rise of programmatic offers much more potential for this channel.


A frequent objection to investing in display advertising is that it is expensive and drives minimal conversions, especially compared to PPC (excluding retargeting efforts). While the costs of display advertising can ramp up quickly, it’s not a fair comparison. PPC is a pull marketing activity in the ‘interest’ and ‘desire’ buying phases, whereas display advertising has a greater impact when a user is starting off their purchase journey. In this case, it would be better to see how investments in television ads could be used more effectively via display advertising.


More and more companies understand that display advertising can help close the gap between branding and activation – this is often measured using engagement KPI’s that are part of a KPI framework. Another benefit of display advertising is being able to gather data and the ability  to target ads to specific audiences, via programmatic media buying. Unfortunately, this capability is much more complex via TV media buying and not nearly as measurable.


The following five tips could help to further increase the effectiveness of your display campaigns:


  1. Optimise Campaign Settings

Use the campaign settings in your display platform wisely such as the ‘frequency cap’. This is used to ensure that users are not shown more banners than the maximum which reduces annoyance to the user and budget wastage.

It is recommended to analyse the data of the average number of banner impressions needed to deliver a good performance on a relevant KPI (for example: a website visit). This should dictate the number set as the frequency cap. Typically, branding and prospecting display campaigns have a much lower frequency cap than retargeting campaigns, as these are used to drive conversion.


  1. Optimise Creative

Optimise your creatives for performance by showing a clear call-to-action in every frame. Don’t underestimate the power of including a company logo and also ensure the complete creative is clickable, not just a single button or element. I’ve seen some great examples of advertisers that allow users to select options or fill in data within the display ad. This leads to higher engagement and an increase in click-through-rate.

The user experience should always come first and should be optimised for all devices. For example, you’ll need to develop creative in different sizes for each type of device including mobile phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop and in-app. The type of creative should be relevant to the campaign goals and target audience.


  1. Optimise Landing Pages

To get the most out of users that visit your website after seeing or clicking your creative, it is crucial to show them a relevant landing page. A great way to automate the process of connecting relevant landing pages to specific display campaigns is by using ‘dynamic creative optimisation’. This offers the opportunity to upload or connect a feed of landing pages which are shown when a user clicks on a creative.

This requires some investment in resources and tech but, will eventually be worthwhile as the conversion rate of visitors from display campaigns will most likely increase. 


  1. Use an ad verification tool

An ad verification tool allows advertisers to check if their ads are being displayed in the right context. Investing in this tool is especially important when a fair share of budget is spent on programmatic open exchanges to help verify the quality of the placements. Ad fraud via botnets is unfortunately still common, the verification tool can help to discover and block this, reducing budget wastage.

The ad verification tool can also be used to gain insights about viewability metrics. For campaigns that  have engagement related KPIs, the data available can show either ads are viewable or for what time they have been in-view. This is a great input for optimising display campaigns, as well as safeguarding ads to meet your brand safety standards.


  1. Always be testing

There are so many variables to test with display advertising, which makes it hard to predict results of display campaigns. The only way to find out what works is to run tests, preferably in similar conditions so you’re able to isolate results and translate them to learnings. You can simultaneously test almost every element of your display ads, including layout, imagery, colours, text and call-to-action. Trial and error is likely the best method here, as you can apply learnings quickly.

My advice is to start with simple tests and scale this up once you feel more comfortable with the structure. Involve team members who can help to get ideas for testing, but also to do data science and reporting.



For more information on how to get the most from your display campaigns or to have your display strategy reviewed, get in touch. Our pre-registration period is now open for our Digital Marketing Event taking place on 13th March 2019 in London, to ensure you receive event updates including speaker and agenda announcements, register your interest.

A solid digital strategy must include display advertising. Here's five tips to help increase the effectiveness of your display campaigns.