Demystifying Display’s Tactical Landscape

Dominic Johnson
November 13, 2020
One of the biggest parts of a successful display campaign is utilizing the myriad of targeting options available to you, but before diving into targeting, brands must first identify which ad types – whether it’s video, audio, banners, native, or something more custom – support their larger business objectives.

Demystifying Display’s Tactical Landscape

Display Media

“Display” doesn’t just mean banner ads anymore – it encompasses a wide variety of digital ad types, essentially covering all bases outside of paid search and paid social. It also serves as awareness-focused advertising that introduces (or reminds!) your target audience of who you are and what you offer. Because let’s be realistic, before people can search for you on Google, they need to know who you are.

One of the biggest parts of a successful display campaign is utilizing the myriad of targeting options available to you, but before diving into targeting, brands must first identify which ad types – whether it’s video, audio, banners, native, or something more custom – support their larger business objectives.

Picking a display ad type that fits your objectives

Display used to be synonymous with banner ads, but it has grown to include much more. Display now encompasses the online ads that don’t fall under paid search or paid social, ranging from video to banners to more. With so many options available, these two questions can guide your decision about which ad types to use:

  1. What is the goal of this campaign? For example, a pure awareness goal will feature ad types like video and audio, while a goal focused on engagement could see custom rich media units play a larger role.
  2. What message do you need to convey to your customer? Knowing how much you need to say in a given ad can help determine the right ad types for your campaign based on the given format.  If you need to launch a new product or service and it requires an in-depth explanation, video or audio would best convey that. If you are simply trying to stay top of mind amongst your audience with reminder messaging, banners are the perfect option.

With those questions answered, you can parse through your options. Use this overview to review different goals that are accomplished by different ad types:

  • Video: Video is the best awareness-driving ad type because of its ability to deliver a complex message. Video lets you introduce yourself and your differentiators, helping answer the question “Why us?”.
    Video is accompanied by imagery that channels like audio lack, making it the most engaging ad type and perfect for reaching consumers at the very beginning of their decision-making journey.
  • Audio: Audio can be a great choice for the same reason as video – it provides the opportunity to talk through your value proposition. And with various ways to utilize audio (terrestrial or streaming radio, podcasts, etc.), you can reach more customers than ever before. Differentiating how your audio sounds by tactic can be powerful as well: a podcast ad can be host-read and feature a promo code for a direct response touchpoint, while streaming radio ads can focus purely on building brand awareness.
  • Banners: Banners don’t have the luxury of capturing a customer’s attention for a long time, so they are better suited for quick-hit messaging with the biggest benefit being efficient reach. Plan to utilize banners for retargeting in every campaign to keep your brand top of mind for consumers – but don’t forget that banners are also a cost-effective way to prospect new consumers across thousands of websites.
  • Native: Native is an ad type that benefits greatly from having a wealth of long-form text-based content at your fingertips. If you have interesting things to share (i.e., blogs, whitepapers), drive traffic to it with native ads. Because native ads live within editorial newsfeeds on sites, having it be centered around content will garner more interest and provide an excellent user experience for the consumer.
  • Rich media: These ad units can be incredibly engaging and are almost completely customizable. The most popular rich media ad units combine the strengths of banner and video into one, utilize map functionality, or house things like quizzes and even minigames. These are perfect for filling the middle of the funnel by encouraging consumers to interact with what makes your brand special.

What’s the takeaway? Always keep your objectives in mind

With so many ad types available it’s important to keep your goals and objectives in mind, as well as the format best suited to relay your message to your audience based on where they are in the consideration journey. Selecting the wrong ad type, for example, can hurt the campaign because different ad types support different business goals. Select the wrong ad type for your message or audience , and your campaign will fail to reach the goal you had set out to achieve. This makes understanding the display process all the more important.

Ultimately, picking an ad type that matches with where the audience is in their decision-making journey will help ensure successful performance in your campaign, as well as aiding long-term awareness of your brand.

Photo Source: Unsplash

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