There are digital display advertising opportunities everywhere – but are you getting the best performance? Get your ads shown to the right people across the web with these tools and platforms.
Famously, though perhaps not best practice, Toys R Us included a single display ad placement on their homepage. This one ad spot, which they sold to the highest bidder, generated enough revenue to fund the majority of their digital advertising budgets. The takeaway? When targeted to the right audience, display advertising has tremendous ability to drive awareness and traffic for your product or service.
Display advertising allows marketers to place eye-catching advertisements on sites across the web. These ads come in a variety of different dimensions and formats. According to Google, 336×280 and 300×250 rectangles, 300×600 half-page ads, and 728×90 and 320×110 pixel banners are the best performing formats – but this can obviously vary based on placement. These ads can be created as static images, GIFs, or animated HTML5 banners.
Once the ads are created, marketers need to purchase advertising space on websites (known as inventory). There’s a number of different ways to do this. Most websites go through a SSP (supply-side platform) to list their inventory and manage their placements. Then, marketers bid on this inventory through ad networks or DSPs (demand-side platforms).
As you’d expect, some of this inventory is extremely competitive. To help manage this, millions of auctions are held every second, and businesses bid against each other to serve ads on particular domains or on pages that contain certain keywords. The ads with the winning bids then get displayed to potential customers. When someone clicks on a display ad, companies then pay their bid price. Sometimes display inventory is charged on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis – so rather than paying for a click, you pay per impression.
Display marketing is one of the most widely available advertising channels. With it, businesses can track and attribute clicks, spend, and conversions – and calculate precise return on investment for campaigns
However, display advertising is rarely a set-and-forget channel and requires constant optimization to deliver meaningful results. Search terms can change, and should be reviewed regularly. Your competitors could adjust their bids and placement strategy – leaving you overpaying and throwing budget away. In addition, large campaigns can require more detailed analytics to properly confirm efficiency and calculate results.
Fortunately, there are a plenty of tools to aid marketers with display advertising – whether you’re running your first campaign or managing seven-figure budgets. These tools help in many ways, including helping advertisers set up campaigns, creating banner ads, running background audits, retargeting customers who have interacted with your ads, and automating processes required for generating the best return on ad spend.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a particular display marketing tool. When selecting a display platform, you should bear in mind: pricing, usability and feature range, customer support, and available tutorials to help you get the most out of the tool. These aren’t always easy to compare across most tools. As a result, making an informed decision can often take hours of research. At least… it used to!
What types of display tools are available?
There are all kinds of tools available to help marketers manage display campaigns. Some of the most popular tools aid with banner ad creation, premium ad networks, retargeting relevant customers, and competitor review. Each of these are important for executing on display
Where should I start with display?
The first place is generating assets to use in your campaigns! Spend some time thinking about relevant calls to action and potential creative tactics – think about a range of different visual strategies, and then test their performance. Next, you’ll need to configure campaigns targeting specific keywords, websites, or customer habits.
From here, it becomes a challenge of optimizing your ads and leaning into placements and creative that performs. The best place to start is by removing ads and search terms that don’t seem to be converting; by pruning away low conversion ads quickly, budget efficiency can increase substantially.
How do I pay for these tools?
Should you choose to adopt a specific tool or platform, these are generally paid for on a subscription basis. However, most tools do offer a discount if you buy an annual subscription compared to a monthly one. Most display networks have a self-serve option, but minimum campaign thresholds can be quite high for premium networks.
Payment options often include credit/debit cards and/or bank transfers. Don’t forget to add your VAT ID if you have one!
Can I configure my display campaigns and leave them alone?
As much as we’d love to say that this was doable (it would definitely make our lives easier!), display campaigns should be constantly updated and reviewed. Optimizing your bids and expanding your placement list means digging into data and reviewing performance constantly.
Can I add multiple users to the same account?
Most tools allow unlimited users. However, some can have limits on the number of users you can add. This is always worth double-checking before you create an account to make sure it’s a good fit for your business.
We include a wide variety of display tools in our comparison tables. In these comparisons, you will be able to find platforms and providers that are suitable for small sites and blogs, medium-sized businesses and digital agencies, all the way up to multinational e-commerce sites.
We encourage you to read through the pros and cons of each tool to find the one right for your business needs – there is often no one-size-fits-all approach!
Banner Creation Tools: Display advertising requires banners, and making them can be incredibly time consuming (or expensive if you choose to outsource this work). These tools help with creating beautiful banner ads.
Demand Side Platforms: These networks provide advertisers with quality inventory to acquire high-value customers. They provide features for purchasing ads and targeting the right people.
Supply Side Platforms: These platforms help websites to monetize their ad space by listing available inventory, managing placements, and receiving revenue.
Display Retargeting Tools: Conversions often take many different touch points. These tools will help retarget high-value leads to your product or business.
Display Competitor Review Tools: Display bidding and creative tactics change at any time. Staying on top of what your direct competitors are doing can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that underperforms.