Display Ads: Maximizing Your Investment

A study by ComScore recently revealed that nearly half of all online display ads are never being seen. A separate study by Google and DoubleClick found figures closer to 60% of display ads. When you combine this data with click-through rates for banner ads which appear to be less and less substantial marketers might be wondering if investing in online ads is actually offering value.

To increase  the value of their display ad buys, marketers should consider the following when developing media strategy:

  • The benefits of emerging display ad formats
  • Opportunities for display ad growth through mobile
  • How to maximize current display ads with ad placement and positioning

Emerging Display Ad Formats

Display ad numbers haven’t been terribly encouraging with the average click-through rates in the US hovering around 0.08%. But your display ads can still get results if you are willing to be creative and/or utilize some other formats, for example:

  • Rich media: These are enhanced display ads, typically with Flash and/or some sort of multimedia. Rich media amplifies ads making them more interactive for users. For example, including games or videos within the ad, graphics to peel back or roll over, and otherwise immerse you into the advertising.  This has been found to increase a viewer’s time spent with the ad and brand recall. They’re clickthrough rates are also more than double traditional display ads with 25% of them being viewed.
  • Native Ads: Conceptually, these ads are designed to have the look and feel of the editorial content for the site where it is placed, so they can vary depending on where they are placed. Over the past few years native ads have proven a very effective way to not only get ads noticed, but to also get them shared and interacted with. A Sharethrough study found that consumers looked at native ads 52% more than banner ads. Additionally, 32% said they would share a native ad with their friend over 19% who said they’d share a banner ad.

Opportunities for Display Ad Growth with Mobile

If your  display ads have not been getting results you’d hoped online, it may be time to consider moving to another ad format. Ninety percent of adults own a mobile phone. Fifty-eight percent own smartphones.  In last week’s post we cited a stat that found that while mobile makes up nearly 20% of media consumption time, it only accounts for about 4-5% of marketer’s digital ad spend. The opportunities for growth here are still tremendous. Additionally, the CPM for mobile ads are nearly one-fifth of the cost of CPM for desktop ads.

Digital Ad Placement, Positioning, and Size

The viewability issue primarily concerns how, and if, ads are seen by marketers. To count as a view, standards by the Media Rating Council cite that half of the ad’s pixels must be in view for at least one second. For video, they must be in view for at least 2 seconds. There are still ways to increase the likelihood your display ad gets seen. Ad size and placement can have a big impact on whether or not your ads get seen. Experts recommend buying vertical ads online, for longer view time.  Also, for desktop advertising, ads placed lower on the page, or below-the-fold, are considerably less likely to seen. In fact, nearly 60% aren’t seen at all. When you’re buying display ads on websites, opt for positions that are higher up on the page, but not too high.  Google has recommended ads that are placed right above the fold, not at the top of the page, get the most views.

Boosting Your Display Ad ROI

While there’s still no sure way a marketer can prevent an ad that from getting ignored by a user or to always ensure it gets completely delivered every time, marketers can still maximize the value of their digital media buying return on investment.

  • First, when negotiating your ad buys opt for a plan that will allow you to pay for ads that are viewed, not ads that are served.
  • Second, get as targeted as you can with your advertising. This means really getting to know the people most likely to buy and use your product. The more inclined the people who are seeing your ad are to
  • Third, try to negotiate some value added perks to offset any loss. This is where a media buying agency, like Capitol Media Solutions, can be very helpful.
  • Finally, measure results and use that data to make future buys. Studies continue to show that marketers either aren’t measuring or not using the data they get from their campaigns. Use this data to help craft your strategy and allocate your budget to the areas where it will make the most impact.

Whether or not display advertising is a good investment remains to be seen. Be open to experimenting with ad formats, trying out new placement ideas, and implementing some multimedia. Effective marketing is about constant testing until you find the formula that works for your product. Display advertising can still generate results for your product, but not without a well-developed and executed strategy.

Need help developing your digital and/or  display advertising strategy? Contact us at  Capitol Media Solutions and let our media buying strategists customize a digital or traditional media plan to reach your company’s business goals.


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