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11 Proven Tips for Successful Display Ads That Work 

Candace Boren
|
August 1, 2022

Display advertising is one of the best ways for businesses to grow their online presence—and there are plenty of sites where you can promote your products and services. Unfortunately, many beginners make mistakes that impair their advertising efforts.

Several factors need to be considered to create a successful display ad campaign. This article will discuss display ads and why you should use them, and we’ll give you 11 tried and tested tips for standing out. 

Why You Should Use Display Ads 

It’s true that text-based search ads have their advantages when it comes to click-through rates and conversions, but there’s still an important place for display ads. Some important uses of display ads include highlighting products or services that are visual in nature, and cultivating and educating potential customers in the early stages of the sales funnel, regardless of whether they click on the ad. It’s no wonder, then, that companies in the US have been spending more every year on display advertising—and this trend is set to continue. 

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Why else should you use display advertising? First and foremost, display ads can—when done correctly—put you in front of your target audience immediately. This is in contrast to the longer-term investment of time needed for organic content marketing—making it an excellent option if you’re trying to scale a newly established business quickly. 

Because you’re getting in front of more of the right people more quickly, display advertising is an excellent way to increase sales right out of the gate. Since you’re driving more traffic to your website right away, you’ll have more leads to send down the marketing funnel—enabling you to convert more of those leads to paying customers while you build your brand organically at the same time.

Here’s how you can get started with display ads so you can keep your business growing. 

Keep it Brief 

Regardless of the industry you operate in, you’ve probably got fiercer competition than ever. However, at the same time, you’re fighting for limited attention spans: research from Microsoft found that average attention spans dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds between 2000 and 2015. The rise in short-form video platforms like TikTok will likely have an additional effect, but the full impact won’t be visible for a while yet.

Your advertising copy must be brief if you want to engage users. Keep the text content to no longer than a few words, and make sure that every word adds something valuable. 

Focus on One or Two Benefits 

If you’ve never tried display advertising before, you might find it tempting to try and stuff as much information into your ad as possible. However, adopting this approach will confuse your target audience. 

Remember: your display ad is only an introduction for users. Focus on one or two key benefits conveyed through strategic use of words and powerful visuals and give interested users more information once they’ve clicked through. 

Reel Users in With Your Headline 

When you consume content online, you probably skim headlines—but how many articles, videos, or ads do you click on? Probably a small percentage. Users do the same with your ads, so your headline must reel them in. 

Ask yourself this question: Why should a customer buy from you instead of a competitor? Once you know that, you’ll have an easier time creating your headline. 

Avoid Vague or Metaphorical Words 

Since you don’t have much time to convince users that they should engage with your ad, this is not the time for symbolism. Don’t force viewers to struggle with a riddle—give them the straight goods using a clear and compelling message in simple language.

Use Positive Language and Avoid Negative Words 

When a sentence is a negative statement, the reader must perform an extra mental step to decipher it, so use simpler language to help your readers understand your message at a glance. A positive statement is more engaging—and more likely to be clicked on.

Additionally, a negative attitude can repel prospective customers, so adopt a light and entertaining tone when possible.

Create Scannable Copy

Display ads are not the place for lengthy descriptions—effective ones act like a hook to lure readers to your more detailed content. Make it clear what your offer is; it should be interesting and obvious at a glance. 

Use Powerful, Relevant Visuals 

Did you know that people remember 65% of what they see three days later, compared to 10% of what they hear? And according to Venngage, 52% of research participants said that visual content is “very important”: 

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You can include several kinds of visuals in your display ads, including still images and animated GIFs. Think about your audience's interests to ensure you choose visuals that appeal to them. 

Be Creative and Authentic

Users ignore boring ads, but ads that are too flashy are also best avoided. Strive to find a balance that's authentic to your brand. Use colors and messaging that are consistent with your branding. Be daring, but take calculated risks. Listen to feedback from others, as this will guide you in the right direction. 

Tailor Ads to the Platform 

Requirements will vary depending on where you place your ads. What works on Google might not work on Bing, and ads that have succeeded on LinkedIn might not be as effective on Twitter or Facebook. Before running campaigns, take the time to think about what interests users on the platform you're using to maximize your engagement rates.

Set Clear Goals Before Your Campaign 

Setting goals before you create ads is the most important thing you can do. A campaign without direction will look disjointed, so users won't know what to expect from your products and services—and they won't click through. Clear goals give you KPIs you can assess to be sure you’re on the right track.

Examples of goals you can set include generating leads, growing your audience, or earning a certain number of subscribers. Get clear on these, and everything will run more smoothly. 

Showcase your USP: Unique Selling Point

Making an impression is the most important goal of a display ad, so use the opportunity to become familiar to your audience. Define your USP—the attribute you most want to be known for—and express it in your ad using clear and impactful words. Consistency in your messaging will help make your ads more memorable.

Now you've got everything you need to create a successful display ad campaign

Running a successful display advertising campaign means considering many factors and adopting a strategic approach. Create ads that are clear, compelling, and scannable. A campaign with no defined goals is destined for failure, but experienced marketers have developed their eye through effort and testing—and using these 11 strategies, you can do the same. 

Also remember that display ads should be a piece of your overall omnichannel marketing strategy, and it’s important to see how they are performing in relation to your ads on other channels. 

Schedule a demo to learn more about how MarinOne’s cross-channel reporting and optimization platform can give you the insights you need to put your best foot forward on display ads together with search, social, and ecommerce to help you grow your business.

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