Display Ads

Display Advertising: Reach The Digital Masses

Web users spend only 4% of their online time in search engines. Make sure your advertising reaches them in the other 96% with expertly managed display network ad campaigns.

Digital advertising does not end with PPC and social. To get truly global reach in your market, you need to take your brand message out to the all-encompassing major display networks. Much of this is hidden from the casual browser, and you can unlock the potential with the help of professional, experienced media buyers at Enlightenment Media.

Contact Enlightenment Media to discuss how we can build a fully rounded, highly impactful digital advertising strategy for your business.

Display Advertising Online: Go Wide - Go For The Masses

The Google Ad Network reaches 94.2% of internet users, i.e. 214,596,000 people [May 2014, comScore]. But there are at least 15 other ad networks which still each have a reach of over 100,000,000 people. These include names you've heard of such as Yahoo and AOL, and others (bigger than Yahoo and AOL) such as Conversant and Criteo.

As you can see, the potential reach for your advertising is massive, and there is not just one system to work on. In addition to the biggest global networks, there are also many country-specific networks and also networks which are more specialised by topic and audience. It's important to consider these factors ofrelevance in display advertising just as much as you optimize for it in pay-per-click.

More web users will join the internet in the next five years than in the past 30 years: as the audience grows, so will the early-mover rewards for the brands which have successfully developed tactics and performance for broad-reach advertising.

Many of the most relevant AND powerful online media placements are only available by human negotiation and manual placement. This is where your professional media buyer gets you to a new level of marketing reach that your competitors are not at.-- Enlightenment Media

The more specialist the interest topics associated with your products/services, the more important it is to go after display placements that are relevant to the right kind of audience. This is much easier for companies to solve with assistance from experienced media buyers such as Enlightenment Media. The focus remains on getting the best results but you don't have to expend your time researching, connecting with, and negotiating with many different publishers.

Display builds brand power

When someone searches in Google and sees your AdWords ad, or SEO-empowered organic search result, what happens next? Whether she clicks on your link -- among many others competing for attention -- is the first question, and if she arrives on your site, there are still hundreds of little decisions to work through before taking decisive action which you consider a lead or conversion.

The same issues of decision making, research, and trust are just as important if your web visitors have arrived from a referring link or social media.

Clearly, if this person knows and trusts your brand, it's going to be a lot easier to communicate with her and hopefully convert the web browsing into the next step of the conversion funnel.

What we can see is that it's highly significant to have stronger brand recognition and trust, and better brand power lifts ALL of your other marketing efforts.

This is where display advertising comes in. While display ads can be highly effective for direct response clicks and conversions, that's not the only reason these networks are multi-billion dollar companies. The costs per impression (people seeing your ad, even if it's just passive/background viewing) are cheap. Couple this the enormous reach across so many sites of the internet (and news media, and in mobile), and you can see that it's the fastest and most enduring way to get your brand in front of thousands or millions of eyeballs.

The more your brand and offers are seen, the more it builds up the recognition, association, and trust in that brand, which then makes the whole marketing process in your more targeted campaigns work a lot better.

You've seen the brands of sponsors of major sporting events. To some extent, part of your display advertising strategy could be understood like that - a kind of sponsorship of well-related web contentreaching the places where your users are already spending time.

Display advertising and brand awareness

  • Display campaigns can be used to generate a spike of interest to boost a product launch or promotion
  • Display campaigns can be used on "slow burn" over the long term to establish yourself as the most recognized brand in a niche
  • Display campaigns increase recognition among media editors and influencers, helping boost your SEO link building and social media reputation
  • Display campaigns focusing on products or product lines can educate prospects about beneficial aspects, lifting conversions when web users arrive to commercial pages
  • Customers will feel more secure dealing with a brand they know to be well-established and well-known
  • Brand-oriented campaigns can position you favorably at a company level versus competitors, rather than competing on details of products and prices
  • Brand-strength advertising builds value for employee loyalty and helps attract talent
  • For investors, brand strength contributes not just abstract value but literally higher company valuations

Long-standing display campaigns oriented to brand awareness don't have to be static. You should always have a regular schedule of refreshing your visuals and copy so that regular exposure reinforces key points while still remaining fresh.

The brand value of Coca-Cola was estimated in 2002 at $69.2bn, equivalent to over 50% of the market capitalization of the entire company

Business Week 2002 via Brand Channel

Display Advertising - issues to watch out for

All advertising has to generate a return on investment, and so you'll often have to cut unproductive campaigns in order to nurture the good ones. But display advertising also comes with some special problems you'll have to watch out for.

  • In display advertising, without paying per click, it can be hard to track campaign performance, particularly if you are running multiple campaigns at the same time
  • Some CPM networks and individual sites are plagued by false views or at least overly robot-influenced traffic statistics
  • In the case of technical mistakes you may not get immediate feedback when your ads fail to display correctly
  • With international sites you will need to pay attention to the time of day your ads are shown, and whether geo-targeting is available
  • If you don't pay attention to ad placement positions, your ads may be shown low down "below the fold" on the website, or only on less important pages of the site

Getting professional help with your display advertising is the key to avoiding lost time and money from unnecessary trial and error, and more directly reaching sustainable and effective placements.

Where does display advertising beat paid search or social?

In general, paid search advertising allows you to target quite specific intentions on the part of the web user, and social media allow you great control of demographic targeting. But they are not always the superior choice.

Here are some situations where nothing beats display network advertising:

  1. Where you already maxed out your advertising in search and social (or at least are reaching diminishing returns) and need more audience
  2. Where national or global brand recognition and value is the goal
  3. Where there is an educational/informational message to promote rather than a direct commercial response
  4. Where huge reach and awareness are means to an end or part of a publicity strategy (for example towards winning an award, promoting an event, developing social audience)
  5. Where there are not many specific search terms or existing social interest groups related to the product or service you are selling (for example because it is something completely new)
  6. Where the nature of your market is restrictive or over-competitive leading paid search not to be a viable main source of traffic (for example restrictions in pharmaceutical product advertising in search, or legal search terms that reach unfeasibly high PPC cost per click)

You should establish benchmark cost-per-click, traffic volume, and conversion from your PPC advertising, so you can test whether the same or similar placements on a CPM model will work better. By definition, a CPM campaign won't cost you more if you can improve the ads to get lots more clicks. Often a long-term high-performing ad placement from within a network like Google can be re-negotiated at cheaper rates by working directly with the site owner.

Advertising: a creative business

The quality of your ads themselves is just as important as getting the display network placements right.

Here are some of the skills you'll need to have in your team... or if you don't have these skills covered fully, get help from a full-service digital marketing agency like Enlightenment Media:

  1. Copy writing (words matter!)
  2. Graphic design
  3. Branding and editor supervision
  4. Offers and pricing management
  5. Landing page design and optimization
  6. Ad budget management
  7. Media buying and liaison
  8. Ad tracking and analytics
  9. Reporting and coordination
  10. Market research and competitor awareness

Doing well in display advertising requires both the professional understanding of how to perform well in the many different networks, and the management and skills mix above to put out high quality campaigns with good turnaround.

Don't forget that retargeting systems can cover CPM/display advertising as much as the main Google/Bing systems can. So if your remarketing ads are doing well in the Google Display Network, it is well worth looking at other places you can "follow up" those potential customers who visited but didn't take action.

Finally, many of the benefits described here about brand recognition and trust, and broad reach of display networks, are also applicable to social media. You can create very high performing display campaigns, including on a CPM basis, in Facebook and others, so these are well worth looking at if you are choosing to build broad market awareness as well as CPC-style direct clicks.

Building brand awareness is not an end in itself and neither is driving clicks to a website. You must put all of this in context of an integrated marketing strategy, and that is what we'll do for you with our unique Universal Solution approach.
--  Enlightenment Media

Contact Enlightenment Media to get immediate, practical suggestions about how to lift all of your digital marketing and brand strength online.


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