Why You Should Dive into Display Advertising in 2016

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Eric Yarnik
January 21, 2016

With recent reports that marketing spend in the display network will overtake spend on the search network on 2016, you might be wondering how this is possible. Most within the digital marketing industry would agree that search and social advertising are generally higher priority and higher performing compared to the display network.


Why have display campaigns been less effective than search and social advertising?

For search ads, there’s typically a higher user search intent, which leads to higher conversion rates. Social media advertising also has effective conversion rates due to sophisticated audience targeting capabilities on social channels. When considering where to spend that all-important online marketing budget, display campaigns are usually the last to be considered.

Over the past few years, Google and other platforms have made big strides in offering advertisers more sophisticated tools and targeting capabilities to make display advertising campaigns much more effective and beneficial to businesses.

Of course, it’s important to be aware of recent reports claiming that a lot of online advertising money (almost $7 billion per year—a huge chunk of change!) is wasted on ads that are never seen. This obviously is cause for concern when considering ramping up display campaigns. However, this just reinforces the fact that you need to consider display campaigns as an important strategic and targeted marketing effort, not just an advertising afterthought.

Here are some of the most effective tools in the online space today that will allow your business to remain at the forefront of customers’ minds.


The importance of remarketing and dynamic remarketing

Remarketing ads allow advertisers to target past visitors to their website. If you need to get up to speed on remarketing, read this. When considering the best use of ad spend on the display network, this is your best bet to drive better KPI results.

Display ads with targeted messaging to users already familiar with your brand not only allow your brand to remain visible in an ever-crowded online space but also encourage them to come back to your site. It’s more likely for users to follow through with a purchase or better yet, purchase again.

Dynamic remarketing takes this concept a step further. When users visit a specific product page, dynamic remarketing will show that specific product in an ad to them. This serves as a not-so-subtle reminder that they were looking at the product and it hopefully convinces them to reconsider and purchase.



Take advantage of the Google Display network

Google’s Display Network also can be used to reach new customers who have not visited your site. Because of the element of unfamiliarity, general display campaigns can be expected to convert at a lower rate than remarketing would.

However, over the past few years, Google has been pushing to make display campaigns more highly targeted to drive performance. No matter what industry your business falls in, there is likely an audience you can target via the Google Display Network.

Advertisers can target users based on age, gender, or parental status, specific websites, many sites of a certain topic, or set of keywords. You can also target specific “Interest” categories, which are listed under “Affinity Audiences,” like Travel Buffs and Business Professionals, or “In-Market Audience,” like Women’s Apparel and Residential Properties demographics. You can then target broader demographic groups or users that Google has identified as being close to making a purchase in a specific vertical.

Here’s an insider tip: Google Display Network targeting works best with many targets layered together. For example, I could target brides-to-be by setting up a display campaign targeted to females, with wedding related content websites, who are also grouped in the ‘Bridal Wear’ In-Market Audience.


Check out Facebook Customer Audiences and Google Customer Match

The Facebook advertising platform has an incredibly useful Custom Audience tool that allows marketers to upload customer emails and directly advertise to those users on Facebook. This allows for more targeted messaging, like promo offers or new products to users already familiar with your brand. Additionally, Facebook’s “Lookalike” Custom Audience tool puts Facebook’s extensive user base to good use. This tool creates a list of users that is most similar to your already existing email list (or site visitors, or whatever else you currently target).

Last fall, Google made a significant splash by allowing advertisers to upload and target customer emails in AdWords. While this does not directly affect the display network significantly, one can assume Google might look to push this feature onto the display network in the near future. This move would then allow advertisers to target display banners to specific customers from an email list.


Don’t forget to coordinate with blogs and social media

It can be easy to overlook the simple fact that all of your marketing efforts should work for the greater marketing goal you have in mind. With that said, robust display network campaigns will not necessarily drive performance independently. Keep in mind that aiding display campaigns with coordinated blog posts and social media posts can help drive home your unique marketing message and gain further customers.


Even if you might not believe the chatter that display ad spend will overtake search network spend, these new tools and targeting options are worth checking out. Why not revisit a display advertising test in 2016? After all, new things might surprise you. For example, today I tried Shake Shack’s new chicken sandwiches—and I highly recommend them. Don’t forget to check out our display advertising services here.

What do you think of the hubbub over display advertising? Have you tried Shake Shack’s Chicken Shack Sandwich? Tweet us @Perfect_Search. 

Eric Yarnik
Director, Search & Social Advertising

Eric Yarnik is a Northwestern University Alum who considers writing the Perfect Search Ping Pong Power Rankings Column to be one of his favorite tasks at work. If he had to pick one fictional character to be friends with, it’d have to be the one who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

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