Everywhere you look online, you’ll find display ads. Display ads—also known as banner ads—appear above, below, alongside and even in the middle of webpage content. It’s a form of online paid advertising that has an image and text. Viewers are directed to the corresponding landing page of a brand when they click on the ad. This landing page usually contains relevant content about the brand or business.
The first banner ad appeared online in 1994; since then, display advertising has evolved from static images to a key component of digital advertising. Display ads today incorporate a spectrum of technology from dynamic rich media to animation and video. These ads appear on every imaginable style and type of website, and reach broad groups of people simultaneously.
Components of a display ad
The goal of a display ad is to grab the audience’s attention and inspire them to take the desired action. Every display ad has these key components:
- Eye-catching graphics: Use high-resolution images and vibrant colors to ensure your ad is eye-catching. Don’t clutter your ad with irrelevant images and information.
- Clear branding: Ensure the brand’s name; its colors and its logo are clearly displayed within the ad. Keep the design simple.
- Engaging copy: Ensure ad copy is concise, and communicates clearly what your brand’s message is
- A call-to-action: The goal of any display marketing campaign is to create brand awareness so that customers recognize your products and services. You need to inspire them to take some action when they see your ad. Include a call-to-action such as “Join today” or “Get a free quote” or “Sign up” in your ad.
Benefits of display ads
- Brand recognition: Display ads are great for driving brand awareness, because they usually appear on sections of a website where a potential customer may be found. For instance, if a customer is on a website reading an article about healthy recipes, a typical display ad that may show up would be one for a brand like Protein Bake Shop or Nature Valley. The ad in this case would help drive awareness for the brands.
- Retargeting: Let’s assume a potential customer has visited your website but hasn’t converted. A banner ad is an opportunity to bring back such visitors with retargeting. The ad reminds the viewer about your business or brand; this improves the chance of them converting.
- High visibility: When you use a banner ad to promote your business or brand, you’re increasing the likelihood of people—who normally wouldn’t have thought to look for your business—seeing your ad and learning about your business.
The digital advertising ecosystem has undergone extensive transformation since the first banner ad appeared online. People began to be bombarded with excessive amounts of online ads because of which they started becoming indifferent to them. They learned to ignore banner ads and turned to ad blockers. This phenomenon is known as banner blindness.
Therefore, rather than tricking or forcing people to see irrelevant ads, brands should put more effort into designing them. In fact, thanks to the stream of rich media content, one can easily experiment with interactive banners that either entertain or deliver some value to the audience. A banner ad, if done right, can actually help brands build a relationship with their customers.