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Display advertising is one of the most commonly used digital marketing methods. Even if you aren’t familiar with display ads, you’ve likely seen them on many websites, applications, and in your email inbox. They’re an excellent tool that allows businesses to have a massive reach online, getting in front of their target audience for an affordable cost.

What Exactly Are Display Ads?

In its simplest form, a display campaign is an advertisement that aims to create more brand awareness rather than facilitate leads and sales. They differ from your typical search ads because display ads show across the internet and on different websites instead of on the Google results page. They primarily appear as banner ads above or next to website content and are far cheaper than search ads.

Since these ads compete for valuable ad space, they must be appealing. Display ads typically have a high-quality image of a product, company logo, or video showcasing a company’s branding. By having eye-catching branding show up on different sites, you can increase your brand’s recognition and get more users interested in what you’re offering. 

How To Reach The Right People

Now that we know what a display ad looks like, how do we make it work? The secret to making any display ad perform is choosing the right type of audience targeting. The type of targeting you choose will either make or break your campaign, depending on your selected criteria. You can target users based on demographic, interests, affinity, and more. 

The four most common types of targeting include:

Demographic Targeting

This allows you to target an audience based on their overall demographic makeup, including income, age, etc., or visitors of a website similar to yours.

Placement Targeting

This targeting allows advertisers to show their display ads on specific websites. This will enable you to advertise in front of users who are already interested in a related product. For example, you could target different apparel websites if you’re in the running shoe business.

Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting allows you to show your display ad alongside content pieces that contain your specific keywords. This won’t show in search results, only on relevant content pieces.


Retargeting allows you to show your display ad to people who have previously interacted with your company or website. Google tracks thousands of data points and can show your ad to users who have already visited your site. This helps users re-engage your business to get them to buy or use your services.

Depending on your goal, any targeting strategy can improve your odds of getting in front of relevant users.

How To Measure Success Of Display Campaigns

Measuring how successful your display campaign is dependent on your goals. Typically a display campaign is used to increase brand awareness and recognition. For brand awareness, metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions are vastly important. 

Impressions are one of the essential metrics for display ads because it tells you how many people have seen your advertisement. The more people who can view your advertisement, the more likely you will have them click through and engage with your brand. Clicks are also crucial because it tells you how strong your ad is. If you have a good ratio of impressions to clicks, you know that your ad is strong and entices people to click.

Lastly, conversions are a metric that can add further clarity to what happens on your website when these users click through. It can tell if someone called, purchased something, signed up for a newsletter, etc. This is all valuable information to know how well your campaign is progressing.

The Takeaway

Display campaigns are an excellent way to build brand awareness. As long as your targeting is set up correctly and your ads have strong creative imagery, you’ll likely have success in getting more people to interact with your business at a very affordable cost.