How Did That Ad Find Me? 2019

Display ads pop up on our phones or on our favorite websites. Sometimes, it seems like they’re talking directly to us, or even reading our minds.


That’s because display ads can target individuals and show them relevant information based on their online activity. Other forms of advertising target large demographics (males aged 18-35 with ponytails).


Display ads don’t come in only one form. They take on many shapes and sizes and use images, text, animation, audio, and video to get people to engage with them. But doesn’t every ad do that?


Display ads are an effective, targeted way to reach your potential customers, tell them about your products, and increase your brand awareness.


You can use networks, like the Google Display Network or Yahoo! Bing Network, to ensure the right audience sees the right ad at the right time.


But, even if you spend a good chunk of your budget on putting your ads in the right places, you have to make sure your ads are well-crafted, with strong messaging, imagery and design. Let’s explore all of these factors.


We’ll look at messaging first. There’s a lot more to it than saying, “Buy now.”


Not everybody who’s looking at your ad is ready to buy or is aware of your brand. That’s why you should create different messaging that targets users at 3 different stages of the sales funnel.

The second factor is imagery. Users aren’t surfing the web looking for ads, so creating eye-catching imagery is crucial to grabbing their attention.


Users prefer images of people and products that seem real and natural. Sometimes, genuine is better than glamorous. But, make sure to feature your brand’s logo to maintain credibility.

In some cases, you can also animate your display ad. Elements of motion on a static website draw the eye towards the ad.


You can also show the user an image of a product or a similar product they looked at recently (AKA remarketing.)


The third factor is the design. It’s helpful to think of your ad as a billboard on a highway. Would your message get across to someone who’s driving 65 MPH?


Aim for a good balance between the text and the image. Don’t clutter the ad with too much messaging. Using high contrast color schemes will make the ad stand out.


One of the most important design elements is the call to action (CTA). This button takes the user to your website. Make sure that your CTA is easily visible (sometimes, the larger the better) and that its directions are clear.


Your CTA should lead to a page that matches its subject matter. If a user clicks on a display ad about a specific product, it should link to your sales page and not your homepage. This ups the chance of conversions.


Because you’re creating an ad that will probably be featured in different places and media (mobile, desktop), make sure it works in different sizes. The standard sizes for display ads are 80x150, 300x250, 728x90, and 160x600.


So how do all these factors come together? Let’s look at an example: Imagine you’re in Hawaii on vacation and you’re surfing (the web) when a banner ad for a local surf shop pops up. Which display ad would you click on?


Run your series of display ads long enough to get significant results (aim for 1000 clicks). This will allow you to gauge which display ads are working best.


Most display networks allow you to use different ads and optimize them to improve your click-through rate. Then they’ll automatically run the ads that perform the best.



Even the best-performing ads get old so you should introduce new ads every few weeks. Pushing new ads will maintain the effectiveness of your campaigns and will keep your target audience engaged.

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