Display advertising refers to the process of advertising a product or service through visuals like images and videos on networks of publisher websites such as the Google Display Network and Facebook etc.

Display ads are placed on relevant third-party websites in the form of banner, image, and text ads. Display advertising is pretty much a blanket term that includes every visual ad placed on a website, however, it can be divided into three basic categories:

1. Site placement advertising: In this type of display advertising, the advertiser/marketer chooses the website they would like to run their display ads on.
2. Contextual advertising: In this type of display advertising, networks place ads on relevant websites, for example showing an ad for dog food on a pet adoption website.
3. Remarketing: Remarketing display ads appear in front of users who have been on your website or post-click landing page but have left without completing the relevant conversion goal.

These are the most commonly used display ad sizes

image showing different sizes of display ads

Unlike search advertising that uses a pull approach where users are actively looking for a product/service similar to yours. Display advertising uses a push approach where users who see your display ads are targeted purposefully for those ads, either because of remarketing campaigns or maybe they’re browsing a website that’s relevant to your offer.

Display advertising also differs from native advertising.

Display ads versus native ads

While display ads are used as an umbrella term to include all ads that users see online. The term native advertising refers to a form of advertising that attempts to match the content of the platform. This is done to make the message more easily consumable by the users of that platform. Native ads appear in-feed and are non-disruptive, like suggested posts on Facebook or promoted posts on Twitter.

So, while the intent of display ads is to stand out, native ads are meant to blend in with the web page they are situated on and not look like ads at all. Native ads are mostly found on social media feeds or as recommended content on a webpage; the ads look like part of the editorial flow of the page.

Display ads call out for attention, while native ads blend in with web pages and focus on soft-selling.

These are the most common native ad placements:

image showing typical native ad placements

Native ads are ideal for driving traffic to your website as they serve users with educational ad content that piques their interest.

If you’re looking to educate users on a particular subject or are just trying to get them to your website to view more offers, then creating native ads is your best bet. Native ads are non-intrusive and so aren’t affected by banner blindness, however, if the goal of your campaign is to increase brand awareness, retarget lost customers, or customer acquisition then creating a display advertising campaign is the right way to go.

Why you should include display ads in your marketing campaigns

Display ads present you with the opportunity to showcase your offers in a wide variety of ad formats. Plus, when you create display ads on advertising platforms such as the Google Display Network, your ads have the potential to reach users on millions of websites around the globe.

Display advertising is an excellent way to build brand awareness and get clicks, conversions, and sales from users who might not have an interest in your business per se but have found your display ad to be relevant to the solution they were searching for.

The success with display ads lies with targeting the right user at the right time on the right website. In terms of remarketing campaigns, display ads work wonders for customer acquisition and brand awareness as they remind users who have left your website what they’re missing out on by not availing a particular offer.

Display ads have the potential to increase your marketing ROI as their format demands attention; they increase brand awareness and visibility, and target relevant audiences with retargeting campaigns.

Now that you know what display advertising is and why you should use display ads in your marketing campaigns let’s move onto discussing how to set up display ad campaigns in Google Ads and Facebook.