In 2017, display advertising became a topic of discussion in the realms of both marketing and politics. Let’s see how the attitudes formed last year will impact display in 2018.
Display Ads: Spend and Buyer-Seller Relationships
According to eMarketer’s report, “US Digital Display Advertising 2018: Seven Big Bets for Buyers and Sellers”, digital display ad spend will approach $48 billion in 2018. Advertising buyer-seller relationships will be shaped by 2017’s concerns over ad quality and transparency, and likely adopt more controlled, direct agreements.
However, despite last year’s concerns over so-called “fake news” on major platforms, Facebook and Google will probably receive even more advertising dollars this year. Other premium publishers and social networks are also likely to benefit, especially when it comes to video advertisers (though some video advertisers may find the format does not fit with their content and go in another direction).
DAC Group also has some predictions for display advertising in 2018, and they echo much of what eMarketer has to say:
Advertisers and marketers will demand transparency and data ownership. Even though machine-based, highly targeted media had a questionable run last year (think Russian election meddling), it’s still valued as a way to align advertisements with audiences.
In light of this, DAC Group predicts that display marketers will expect more control of their data and greater transparency as far as where their ads are placed. They’ll also bring in their own data management platforms. Ultimately, advertisers will be able to create more targeted and impactful campaigns.
Local advertising will become more important, especially for brick-and-mortar brands. While a lot of targeting focuses on the demographics of individual people, display advertisers may want to focus more on locations.
DAC Group has seen excellent growth in locally targeted campaigns that bring together creative, audience and location (with landing pages that echo the ads). Locally focused techniques that message users when they’re physically close to a brand’s location also help (by creating a better experience).
Artificial intelligence (AI) will be promoted from a buzzword to a commonly used tool. Plenty of brands already use AI, but it has yet to realize its full potential for learning and making decisions in a human-like fashion. Some big names, like Adobe, are incorporating AI in their entire marketing suite, and as 2018 marches on, smaller brands will explore AI options for increasing portions of their budgets.
The analysts at DAC Group predict a range of display changes in 2018, from new vendors to increased transparency. They wrap up by encouraging advertisers to keep an eye on the new offerings and tests to bolster display ads in the coming year.
Find Success with Your Display Network Ads
Google offers plenty of guidance and tips for running a successful display ad campaign on the network. One of the perks of display campaigns is that Google runs them on more than 2 million websites and in more than 650,000 apps, making it easy to reach your target audience on any device.
Advertisers have options for display ads, which can appear as text, banner, Gmail or in-app ads. Simply select a format, decide where to run your ads (with targeting) and set your budget. Finally, you can track the success of your display ads based on preferred metrics and make adjustments based on your findings.
The whole point of display ads is to reach users where they like to spend time online, be it retail sites, YouTube or an app. It’s also about reaching them at the right time by re-engaging those who’ve visited your site before, for example. While the Search Network works off a users’ current query, the Display Network is a way to speak to them earlier or later in the buying cycle.
AdWords gets into more specific tips for creating your display campaigns. Here are some ways you can spice up your ads and improve their performance:
- Experiment with the various ad types and your content designs and strategies within them. Consider trying out different templates and sizes.
- Be thoughtful with your text, images and color schemes. Take it a step further and create your own custom images.
- Use your existing text ads as inspiration for your display ads.
- Make calls to action very clear, and if anything in the ad is clickable, make it obvious and self-explanatory (“Learn More” or “Buy Now”).
- Include special offers, exclusive deals and great prices to help people make the decision you want them to make.
- Optimize ads for mobile devices, including smartphones, feature phones and tablets.
Ready to get started with your display ads? Use this detailed, step-by-step guide to master every aspect, from planning ahead to combining everything into ad groups.
Perhaps the 2017 controversies over display advertisements will lead to innovations and improvements in 2018. Advertisers who stay atop trends and are willing to explore can help shape that shift, and perhaps benefit in the process.