The Science of Display Advertising and Why Ad Placement Matters


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Display advertising can be a real nuisance to digital users when they’re produced incorrectly. Many ads are blocky, flashy, and irritating. Large numbers of consumers see them, but few truly interact with them unless they positively stand out. Intriguing colors, witty one-liners, or even unexpected tactics are all intuitive strategies that advertisers produce to make the most out of lifeless display advertisements. 

Whether through digital or physical means, display advertising is extraordinarily useful for our clients and their advertising objectives. Placing the right ads in the right place in front of the right people can turn a mundane medium into a profitable one fairly quickly. 

What is Display Advertising?

Display advertising, in its simplest and most redundant definition, is advertising that is displayed. Where is it displayed? How is it displayed? When it is displayed? 

The answer can be frustrating because, well – it depends. 

Display ads largely depend on the product, company, industry, target audience, and just about every other factor you can think of. It can vary due to the diversity of tools and marketing platforms available in the modern marketplace. Display ads are commonly found around the edges of high-traffic websites and utilize designs and imagery that help to differentiate themselves from one another. Other display ads can be found before videos (aka video pre-roll), in pop-up form, or even interactive ads that employ a unique design technique that lets users control aspects of the ad, which is used mostly within mobile gaming.

No matter how you spin it, display ads are just about everywhere. Exponential use paired with diminishing consumer interest within display ads make digital advertising an interestingly complex arena to maneuver. Display advertising is a tough science to crack, despite its simplistic form. Taking the necessary steps to ensure creative content that consumers want or need can positively impact how well your display ads perform. 

Creatives, Copy, & Composition 

Digital advertising for web and for mobile can be a challenging task to achieve. The limited space and time available while fighting for consumer interest can be mastered with a carefully thought-out creative process. Creatively designing and planning your display ad could give you a leg up compared to other advertisers within a shared digital audience space. 

  • Consumer Curiosity: Tailor ad copy and word usage to invoke genuine interest and curiosity. Creativity is king.
  • Detailed Design: Choose relatable imagery, inviting creatives, and color schemes to make your display ad POP using the power of native design.
  • Untroubled Urgency: Use words such as “need” or “now” to give onlookers a gentle push towards your call-to-action.

Display ads need to be attractive and clickable. Sure, the product or service on the other end should be respectable as well, but the avenue that consumers take to a company’s website should be an easy, fun, and an overall enjoyable experience.  

Banner Blindness & Ad Blockers

Advertisements can be blocky, bothersome, and downright annoying when implemented incorrectly. Consumers take preventative measures knowing this by purchasing ad blockers or even taking part in what advertising professionals call “banner blindness” – the act of actively neglecting banner ads online.

According to a study conducted by Infolinks, 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. This leaves a mere 14% that might pay attention to your display ads. This is a monumental issue that cannot be ignored, unless you are a practicing banner blindness consumer. Banner ads and display advertising, in general, need to be better and look better to counteract these banner blindness trends that abundantly disrupt ad campaigns.

Ad blockers, on the other hand, are completely unavoidable. Display ads get blocked and there is no chance to entice any users with these advertisements. Consumers will pay a premium to receive ad-free experiences and advertisers should take different measures to neutralize those efforts by incorporating different tactics such as native ads, influencer advertising, or even whitelisting. Whitelisting is a technique that explicitly asks users to allow ads with their online experience. This strategy can recapture lost revenue caused by ad-blockers and is effective for publishers that specialize in curated content. 

Content-heavy marketing endeavors, on the other hand, that look and feel like regular content amidst a cluttered social media feed will perform much better than regular display ads, particularly with consumers that use ad blockers. 

Why Does it Even Matter?

The same reason why traditional display ads like billboards matter – simple is better. They are easy-to-use tools that can be remarkably effective when managed to their fullest extent. With the use of measurable metrics, ad placement can be easily simplified. Website heat maps, high traffic websites and increased traffic areas can aid advertisers with their ad placement decisions. Do call-to-action ads fare better towards the top of the page or the bottom? Will brand outreach-specific ads produce higher click-through-rates with a pop-up or a general banner ad? Should you incorporate a retargeting strategy? Direct analytics and programmatic advertising initiatives can help answer these questions with data-driven insights and confidence. 

Display advertising, despite their popular use, may be viewed as wasteful ad spend by advertisers who push for more modernized techniques. Ad placement, despite being a simplistic concept, matters a lot. Putting the right ads in the right places is critical to campaign performance and optimization. Banner ads, pop-ups, and video ads all have their own unique uses, especially when they’re paired with a more integrated advertising communications strategy implemented across varied channels. Measuring performance and results using modern metrics help turn commonplace display ads into profitable opportunities. Display ads are more of a singular tool, as opposed to an entire advertising tool belt. Without adequate targeting, alluring creatives, and appeasing ad placement, even the most inventive and prolific display ad campaigns will fail to produce reasonable results. With Firefly Engagement, this won’t happen. We manage the complexities of display advertising so you don’t have to. We help produce the best results, along with the best ROI. You win. We win. Everybody wins. 

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