The Real Value of Display Ads


By Mina Guirguis, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

For years, display ads have received a bad reputation. Marketers misunderstood them, leaders don’t see a high ROI on them, and customers hate them when they block content on websites. So what if it told you most people don’t know the real value of display ads? When done correctly, display ads can be an affordable way to stay top of mind with your customers, and an easy way to create content. Let me tell you why. 


1.) Display ads are made for impressions, not clicks 

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Display ads have terrible CTR. Most people aren’t going to click on your banner and buy a product. This is where all the bad press comes from. However, display ads should not be seen as a conversion driver in that sense. The real value of the ads is their ability to keep you at the top of your customer’s mind. There have been countless studies saying it takes 8 impressions before a prospect sets up a meeting. That’s where display ads truly shine. They are a cheap and easy way to build up those impression numbers. Just keep in mind there is a fine line between reminding someone and annoying someone. Make sure your ads aren’t displayed too often, taking up too much space, or worse, blocking the content on the website they are appearing on. This can actually have a negative impact on your customers and hurt your brand image. When in doubt, just ask yourself, if this wasn’t your product, would this ad annoy you. If the answer is yes, it’s time to tweak those settings. 


2.) Display ads can be content 

Display ads are just that, ads. At least that’s what many believe. What isn’t as obvious is that they can make great snippets of content. Instead of redirecting to a product page they may have already seen, here are some ideas on how to really create value for your customers: 

  • Infographics 
  • Statistics 
  • Deals & sales 
  • Testimonials 
  • Links to larger content such as ebooks 
  • Announcing upcoming events 

In reality, display ads can act almost like another social channel. Quick pieces of valuable content that keeps you top of mind. You can even personalize the content by vertical so only the most relevant content is shown to each customer. The best part is because display ads are relatively cheap, you can reach a much larger audience than your social channels. 


3.) They can be extremally personalized 

As touched on before, display ads can be personalized by vertical to create valuable pieces of content. Not only can they be broken up by vertical, but you can even set what ads display on which websites and where on the website. This allows for an extra layer of customization that few other channels offer. Again, don’t go overboard with this. Getting too personal will creep out your audience. You want them to relate to your content, not be put off by it. 

There you have it! The real value of display ads. They are easy to pick up and hard to master, but once you do, they can be a great tool in your marketing arsenal.