Display Ads Best Practices

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Whether you’re looking to improve your creative or adjust your audience segmentation, these display ads best practices for 2020 will help you optimize campaigns to improve performance:

1. Stick to the basics! Include the following somewhere in the ad or associated copy:

  • Your logo or company name
  • A value proposition or message you want to convey
  • An image that represents the product or service, even if it’s abstract

2. Use high-quality images and video assets that include the following:

  • Legible typefaces and crisp elements
  • An overall design that matches the corresponding landing page
  • Product or service imagery; or
  • Imagery that represents the consumer problem you can solve or the positive emotion that your business offering causes

3. Stand out from your competitors.

  • Use white space and defined borders that pass IAB standards.
  • Test multiple formats to see what your customers prefer.

4. Be true to your brand.

  • Visual and tonal brand consistency is crucial across all marketing channels.
  • Mixed messages and imagery – e.g., when clicking from the ad to the landing page – can lead to users’ confusion and mistrust.

5. Have someone proofread it.

  • You’ve spent time creating a beautiful ad, so don’t inadvertently turn people away with a misspelling or insensitive message.
  • Tone and messaging are so important during times of upheaval. (Right now we’re thinking of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and major social movements happening globally.)

While the above practices are all important, they mostly describe what a display ad should look like. But how should it be set up to catch the right eyes? Keep reading to see how to optimize Google display ads, social media ads and more. 

Choosing Display Ad Networks

Choosing the right display networks is a “display ad best practice,” we suppose, but this is more of an exploratory process rather than an isolated choice. Keep the following options in mind.

Google Display Network is one of the easiest and most popular publishers of display campaigns. The network reaches nearly 90 percent of internet users and more than 2 million websites, and it’s where Oneupweb commonly operates successful campaigns for our clients.

Other excellent avenues for display ads include YouTube and Gmail. Social media display ads are effective as well. For example, here’s how to set up a LinkedIn paid advertising campaign. A high-quality display ad on a platform like Instagram or Pinterest is a great way to reach users as they browse the platform or partner sites.

What Is a DSP?

Display side platforms (DSPs) allow brands to buy impressions across a range of publisher sites. Publishers make ad impressions available through marketplaces called ad exchanges, and DSPs automatically place your ads based on potential impressions and returns. Often, the price of those impressions is determined by a real-time auction through a process known as real-time bidding, or RTB. Oneupweb recommends using a DSP to expand targeting options outside of Google’s inventory and to use different types of targeting options.

Choosing Types of Display Ads

From traditional banner ads to responsive ads to native ads, there are many formats to choose from. There’s no magical mix of ad types that’s considered perfect practice.

Ultimately, you’ll need to play around with ad types and configurations to see what works best for your business. Keep in mind that “what works best” may change quickly, so consistent paid media management is important for achieving the best ROI. 

How can you begin? You could read the rest of this article and start experimenting, or check out our resource about the different types of display ads, which includes plenty of examples.

Fancy Features: How to Optimize Google Display Ads

Google Ads provides ample options for customizing and optimizing your campaigns. You can learn more about how to optimize Google display ads below.

But first: Remember that Bing Ads, YouTube, social media platforms and all the others are awesome too! Cruise our paid media FAQs to make sure you have the info you need.

Top Guidelines for Google Display Ads

  1. Audiences – You can create custom audiences, in-market audiences, affinity audiences, or any combination of those to reach the right group of people. Using different audience combinations allows you to reach customers at different stages of the sales funnel. Test and refine to reach the right audience. Analyzing Interest reports in Google Analytics is a great source of information about your customers.
  2. Demographics* – You can optimize your paid campaign by age, gender, parental status or household income. Refine campaign targeting to those who meet your target demographic. Advertisers can use advanced combinations to show ads to specific users to maximize impression share.
  3. Placements – You can communicate to Google where you want your ads to appear and exclude certain websites or apps. Utilize whitelisting to show ads on specific placements that are higher performing. Analyze engagement, CPM, conversion and quality of leads. Similarly, use a blacklist to prevent ads from showing on certain domains or categories.
  4. Formats – You can also choose your ad format, such as video, HTML5, dynamic ads, and more.  Use multiple ad formats to maximize reach within different web and app placements. Refine to specific ad formats that are driving conversions.

*Note: Household income is a demographic option in Google Ads that allows you to adjust bids on HHI levels ranging from the top 10%, 11 – 20%, 21 – 30%, 41 – 50% and lower 50% of US incomes.

Test & Refine

  1. Test different audience combinations to determine how to optimize Google display ads. Instead of running your campaign in “observation,” you’ll get better performance from “targeting” a specific audience, or set of audiences.
  2. Don’t forget to exclude customers who have previously purchased or are currently part of your sales funnel, unless you do so intentionally to upsell.

How Does an Extension Work on a Display Ads?

Google Display Network ads can show in affiliate location extensions (such as Walmart or Target), or call extensions, depending on the space available and relevancy to the user.

Extensions on your display ads are not guaranteed to show with every ad impression. Google Ads determines whether to show the ad extension based on your historic performance, among other factors.

How to Create Animated Display Ads?

Animated display ads are the bees’ knees. We recommend partnering with a full-service digital marketing agency (hey, like us!) to support your paid media team with high-quality, customized creative assets and a strategy to match.

You can also use Google’s responsive display creator to make animated ads. This intuitive tool allows you to upload assets (or scrape your website or social property) for thumbnail, logo and ad images, along with variations of headlines and descriptive text to serve in a number of different placements.

If you’re using third-party software to somewhat automate the creation of your display ads (a great solution for some brands with less resources or a high volume of creative), that can be good too. Just be sure the ad creative continues to evolve along with design trends and any changes in display ad best practices – it can be easy to lose sight of this when you don’t have in-house or agency experts backing you up.

What About the Landing Page?

A successful landing page is the final piece of the display advertising puzzle.

Use imagery on the landing page that provides a similar, or continued, experience with the ads. This helps create a seamless user experience and assure the reader that your brand is consistent and trustworthy. Your landing page should be optimized for conversions and provide the information your audience needs (and expects) to make an informed purchase decision.

Need help optimizing an ad campaign or landing page? Learn about Oneupweb’s conversion rate optimization services here.

Be More Confident in Display Ad Best Practices

When you build your display ad campaign on a strong foundation of data-informed strategy and skilled design, you get the most from your dollars. Even a single campaign can be powerful – take PKD as an example.

If you need any level of support with display advertising or other paid media marketing, you can count on Oneupweb to bring honesty and experience to the table. Reach out online or call (231) 922-9977, and let us know what you have in mind. 

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