Beginning a display advertising campaign can feel like a daunting task. Though there is some data that suggests that a phenomenon known as "banner blindness" means most users scroll past ads instinctively, in the hands of a savvy marketer, display ads can be quite effective. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that the market for display ads is projected to double in the next five years, thanks to new innovations in the display advertising industry. So what separates ads that users scroll right past from ads that are engaging and highly clickable? It turns out that the best display ads have these three things in common.
1. Audience Targeting
Before you begin creating your display advertising campaign, it's absolutely critical to target your audience. Who is most likely to want your product? More importantly, who is most likely to share information about your business with friends and colleagues? It's vital that marketers use both geographic and behavioral metrics to find consumers that their message is most likely to resonate with. For instance, if you're marketing a local gluten-free bakery, targeting local consumers who are browsing health-focused websites is a great place to start. As you learn more about your consumers and measure click-thru rates, you can further hypertarget your audience according to factors like age or gender. Additionally, there are several new ways for marketers to use innovative mobile technology to create hyper-targeted local campaigns that appear on relevant consumers' smartphones. With these tools, if a local consumer recently searched on their mobile device for a gluten-free bakery and they happen to be in the area, you could serve an ad directly to their smartphone encouraging them to visit your business.
2. Creative Design
Though you can target and hypertarget your audience as much as you'd like, if you don't have a creative design for your display ad, it will go ignored. When developing your ad's look, think about what consumers might be looking at on the website they're browsing and how it relates to your product. For instance, if you've decided to run a display ad for the bakery mentioned above on a gluten-free recipe site, you might create an ad that features images of moist cakes or delicious baked breads to draw the eye of hungry browsers. However, if you're running an ad on a party-planning website, you can show big party platters that may appeal to corporate consumers. And while you certainly want your ad to stand out, take care not to include too many flashy or distracting animations — these can turn off consumers and make them scroll past your ad.
3. A Clear Call-to-Action
The power of a strong, clear call-to-action cannot be overstated. Marketers can make their copy stand out by using a simple, effective phrase that draws consumers in. For instance, using the same bakery example, a simple call-to-action might read "Click for Yum" or "Cake. Delicious. Moist. Gluten-Free." These calls-to-action clearly involve the bakery's products and could appeal to hungry browsers during midday. Making sure your call-to-action is short and to the point, and that it includes an actionable verb, is a great way to ensure conversions. If you're unsure which call-to-action might work best, test two variations, leaving all other design elements constant, and see which one outperforms the other.
Display advertising campaigns can be challenging to craft, but by following a few simple guidelines, you can create a campaign that is poised to succeed and will grab the attention of the consumers you want to attract.