Display Ads (Part I): Are They Still A Good 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 fully maximize the value of their online ad buys, marketers should consider the following when developing your media strategy and planning your digital media buy:

  • Emerging display ad formats
  • Opportunities for display ad growth
  • 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.  Examples include games or videos within the ad and graphics to peel back or roll over.  This has been found to increase a viewer’s time spent with the ad and brand recall. Their 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

If display ads aren’t getting results 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.  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.

Stay tuned for Part II coming soon!

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