Display advertising leverages visual content to capture the attention of online audiences. These ads manifest across various digital landscapes, from social media platforms to websites, using a blend of text, imagery, and design to engage viewers. Unlike traditional advertising, display ads offer the versatility of appearing in multiple formats and sizes, adaptable to any medium your team needs them to work with.

Difference Between Display Ads and Other Types of Ads

The primary distinction between display ads and other forms of digital advertising is their visual emphasis. While search ads predominantly rely on text and are triggered by specific keyword searches, display ads focus more on visual appeal, aiming to grab attention in a more passive browsing environment. They are not reliant on user search queries but are instead placed where potential customers are likely to see them, such as on websites related to the advertiser's product or service.

Importance of Including Display Ads in Marketing Campaigns

Incorporating display advertising into marketing campaigns allows for creative expression and storytelling, which is essential in building brand identity and emotional connections with the audience. Furthermore, display ads can reach audiences at different stages of the buying cycle, from awareness to consideration, making them a versatile tool in the marketer's arsenal.

Types of Display Advertising

Banner Ads

Banner ads are one of the most familiar forms of display advertising. Typically rectangular, these ads sit prominently on websites, offering a blend of imagery and text to convey a message or promotion. Banner ads are known for their flexibility in size and placement, making them a staple in digital marketing.

Native Ads

Native ads are designed to blend seamlessly with the content of the page on which they appear. They mimic the look, feel, and function of the media format where they're found, providing a less intrusive advertising experience. This subtlety often leads to higher engagement rates as they don't interrupt the user's browsing experience.


Animated display ads bring a dynamic element to advertising, using motion to catch the viewer's eye. These ads can be simple GIFs or more complex animations, offering a more engaging experience than static images. The movement in these ads can effectively draw attention and convey a message in a few seconds.

Interactive Content

Interactive display ads invite user engagement through elements like quizzes, games, or interactive videos. These ads not only capture attention but also increase user engagement and time spent with the brand, fostering a deeper connection.

Video Content

Video content in display advertising harnesses the power of both sight and sound. These ads can range from short clips to longer, narrative-driven pieces, offering an immersive experience that can convey a story or demonstrate a product.


Infographics in display advertising combine data and design to convey complex information in an easily digestible format. These ads are particularly effective for brands looking to educate their audience or present data-driven stories.

Expanding Ads

Expanding ads start as standard banner or rectangle ads but increase in size when interacted with, offering more space for messaging and creative content. This format is engaging but should be used wisely to avoid overwhelming the user.

Lightbox Display Ads

Lightbox display ads are interactive ads that expand and lighten the background to focus the viewer's attention on the ad content. These ads often incorporate video or interactive elements to engage users.

Pop-up Displays

Pop-up display ads appear over the webpage content, instantly drawing attention. While effective in visibility, they can be intrusive, so be sure to balance the timing and frequency to optimize user experience.

Interstitial Display Ads

Interstitial display ads are full-screen ads that appear between activities or page loads, providing a large canvas for advertisers. They are typically used in mobile apps and should be timed well to minimize disruption.

Benefits of Display Advertising

Boosting Brand Awareness

Display advertising excels in enhancing brand awareness due to its visual nature. The creative use of graphics, colors, and messaging helps etch brand images into the minds of consumers. These ads can appear across various online platforms, ensuring that a brand is seen repeatedly by a broad audience to boost brand recall.

Facilitating Wider Reach

Whether it's through popular websites, social media platforms, or mobile apps, display advertising provides brands with a great opportunity to reach a wide audience across the internet.

Utilizing Targeting Features

Display advertising comes with sophisticated targeting options. Advertisers can target audiences based on demographics, interests, behavior, and even retarget users who have previously interacted with their brand. This level of precision ensures that ads are shown to the most relevant audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

Remarketing or Retargeting Ads

Remarketing gives brands a chance to show ads to users who have previously visited their website. This tactic is highly effective because it keeps the brand in front of a warmed-up audience, increasing the chances of converting previous visitors into customers.

Increasing Diversity in Advertising Messages

Display ads allow for a wide range of creative expression, enabling brands to diversify their advertising messages. Different formats, from video to interactive ads, provide numerous ways to convey a message, tell a story, or showcase a product, catering to various user preferences and improving engagement.

Measuring the Results

One of the key benefits of display advertising is the ability to measure and analyze results accurately. With real-time data on impressions, clicks, conversions, and more, advertisers can understand how their ads perform and make data-driven decisions to optimize their campaigns for better results.

How Display Advertising Works

Process of Creating and Managing Display Campaigns

The process of creating and managing display advertising campaigns starts with defining campaign goals and identifying the target audience. Advertisers then design the ad creatives, choosing formats that best suit their objectives. Next, you must select the right platforms and placements for the ads and set up targeting parameters to reach the desired audience. Once the campaign is live, continue to monitor and optimize based on your real-time data to improve performance.

Platforms for Display Ads

Here are a few of the most prominent display advertising platforms: 

  • Google Ads: offers extensive reach across the Google Display Network, which encompasses a vast number of websites. 
  • Facebook Ads: provides access to a large and diverse user base on both Facebook and Instagram. 
  • Amazon Ads: currently gaining more traction, especially for e-commerce brands, by allowing ads on Amazon’s website and its affiliated properties.

A few other platforms that are less prominent include:

  • LinkedIn
  • StackAdapt
  • Rollworks

These may not be as well used but do provide another way to target through display advertising. Each platform has its own, unique forms of targeting that can help target users in different ways. 

Key Performance Indicators for Successful Display Ad Campaigns

Be sure to keep track of your key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the success of display ad campaigns. Common KPIs include click-through rate (CTR), which measures how often people click on the ad; conversion rate, indicating the percentage of clicks that resulted in a desired action; and return on ad spend (ROAS), assessing the profitability of the ad. Monitoring these KPIs helps advertisers understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and guides them in making informed adjustments.

Examples of Successful Display Ads


Adobe’s display ads often stand out due to their creative use of graphics and messaging that resonates with their target audience of creative professionals. Their ads effectively showcase their products’ capabilities, often highlighting new features or uses that can inspire potential users.

Apple TV

Apple TV's display advertising is known for its sleek design and clear messaging. The ads typically feature high-quality visuals of their shows and movies, coupled with compelling call-to-actions, making them both visually appealing and effective in driving subscriptions.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

PUBG has leveraged display ads to enhance its gaming community and attract new players. Their ads often feature in-game graphics and highlight the interactive, adrenaline-filled experience of the game, appealing directly to their target audience of gamers.

The New York Times

The New York Times uses display ads to showcase their journalistic excellence and breadth of coverage. Their ads often feature compelling headlines or snippets of top stories, drawing readers to their site for in-depth reading, thus increasing subscriptions and engagement.

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai's display ads focus on promoting their healthcare services and expertise. Their ads are often informative, featuring health tips or information about their services, designed to build trust and awareness among potential patients.


SEMrush, a digital marketing tool, uses display ads to highlight the features and benefits of their platform. Their ads typically address common pain points in digital marketing, positioning their tool as a solution, that resonates well with their target audience of marketers.


Bulldog Skincare’s display ads are notable for their straightforward and humorous approach, often featuring their products with clear, concise messaging. Their branding is consistent across ads, strengthening brand recognition and appeal.


Square’s display ads effectively communicate the simplicity and utility of their payment solutions. With clean designs and straightforward messaging, their ads appeal to small business owners and entrepreneurs, showcasing how Square can streamline their business operations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Display Advertising

Benefits of Display Advertising

Display advertising offers numerous benefits that make it a valuable component of digital marketing strategies. First, its visual nature makes it highly effective in grabbing attention and creating brand awareness. With the ability to use images, videos, and interactive content, display ads can be more engaging than other forms of advertising. The targeting capabilities of display ads are also a significant advantage, allowing advertisers to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and online behaviors. Additionally, the flexibility in terms of ad formats and placements enables brands to creatively showcase their products or services in various contexts.

Challenges of Display Advertising

However, there are challenges to be aware of. Ad blindness, where users ignore banner-like information, can reduce the effectiveness of display ads. The increasing use of ad blockers also poses a significant challenge, as it prevents ads from being seen by a portion of the audience. Furthermore, measuring the direct impact of display ads on conversions can be complex, as they are often more effective in building brand awareness than driving immediate sales. Finally, creating high-quality and engaging ad content requires resources and creativity, which might be challenging for smaller businesses.

Display Advertising vs. Other Advertising Channels

Comparison with Search Advertising

Display advertising and search advertising are two prominent pillars in digital marketing, each with unique strengths. Search advertising is intent-based, triggered by user queries on search engines, making it highly effective for capturing users with a clear purchase intent. In contrast, display advertising excels in building brand awareness and reaching users earlier in the buying cycle. It's more about creating a visual impact and engaging users who may not be actively searching for a product or service but are part of the target demographic. Typically, Display campaigns hold higher impressions and higher clicks, but lower click-through rates than Search campaigns. 

Considerations for Choosing the Right Advertising Channels

Choosing between display advertising and other channels depends on the specific goals of a marketing campaign. For immediate sales or leads from users with a clear intent to purchase, search advertising might be more effective. However, for long-term brand building, audience engagement, and reaching a broader audience, display advertising is a superior choice. Often, a combination of different channels, including display and search advertising, provides a balanced approach, covering various stages of the customer journey.

How to Measure the Success of Display Advertising

Metrics Used to Measure Display Ad Performance

Measuring the success of display advertising involves tracking a range of metrics that provide insights into the effectiveness of the ads. Common metrics include:

  • Impressions: The number of times an ad is displayed, giving an idea of the reach of the ad.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click, indicating how compelling the ad is to the audience.
  • Conversion Rate: Measures the percentage of clicks that lead to a desired action (like a sale or sign-up), showing the effectiveness of the ad in driving conversions.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM): These financial metrics help in understanding the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Calculates the revenue generated for every dollar spent on the ad campaign, indicating its profitability.

Importance of Tracking Key Metrics

By analyzing the data gathered from key metrics, advertisers can identify what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to optimize their campaigns for better performance. Regular analysis of these metrics ensures that the campaign remains focused on its objectives and delivers the best possible return on investment.

Best Practices for Launching Display Ads

Using Various Ad Formats

To optimize reach and engagement, brands should experiment with different types of display ads – including banners, videos, interactive ads, and infographics – to determine which resonates best with their audience. This variety helps in understanding audience preferences and keeping the ad content fresh and engaging.

Incorporating Brand Logo and Value Proposition

Every display ad should prominently feature the brand logo and a clear value proposition. This ensures brand recognition and communicates the core benefit of the product or service. A strong, concise message helps in making a lasting impression on the audience.

Exploring Different Media Options

Advertisers should explore various media options for placing their display ads. This includes popular websites, social media platforms, and ad networks. The choice of media should align with where the target audience spends their time online, ensuring maximum visibility and relevance.

Optimizing for Performance

Optimization involves A/B testing different elements of the ads, such as images, headlines, and call-to-actions, to see what performs best. Testing and re-testing campaigns is always an important part of maximizing their performance. Additionally, using targeting options effectively to reach the right audience and adjusting bids for optimal ad placement 

 can make display a powerful tool for engaging audiences and achieving marketing objectives. By continually testing, measuring, and optimizing, advertisers can ensure that their display advertising efforts yield positive results.


What Are Display Ads?

Display ads are a form of online advertising that combines text, images, and a URL linking to a website where customers can learn more or make a purchase. They can appear on websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps.

How Do Display Ads Differ from PPC Campaigns?

While both are online advertising strategies, display ads focus on visual engagement across various websites and platforms, while PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is primarily text-based and appears in search engine results.

What Are the Key Benefits of Display Advertising?

Display advertising boosts brand visibility, allows for creative branding opportunities, targets specific audience segments, and provides measurable results.

Can Display Ads Help in Reaching Specific Audiences?

Yes, with advanced targeting options like demographic, geographic, and behavioral targeting, display ads can precisely target specific audience groups.

What Are the Best Practices for Creating Effective Display Ads?

Effective display ads should have a clear message, a compelling call-to-action, high-quality visuals, and should be optimized for different devices and platforms.

How Can I Measure the Success of My Display Ad Campaigns?

Look into your key metrics. These include click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, return on ad spend (ROAS), and overall engagement. Analyzing them can provide insights into campaign performance.

What's the Role of Retargeting in Display Advertising?

Retargeting allows you to serve display ads to users who have previously visited your website, helping to keep your brand top-of-mind and encouraging them to return.

Are Display Ads Effective for Local Businesses?

Yes, display ads can be highly effective for local businesses, especially when targeting is set to focus on a specific geographic area.

How Do I Choose the Right Platforms for My Display Ads?

The choice depends on where your target audience spends their time online. Researching your audience's online behavior and testing different platforms can help determine the best fit.

What Trends Should I Be Aware of in Display Advertising?

Current trends include the increasing use of video and interactive content, a focus on mobile optimization, and the integration of AI for better targeting and personalization.