As the online space becomes more competitive, brands are going to new and greater lengths to ensure they stand out ahead of the competition. One promotional route that many are choosing is display ads.
When well-executed, display advertising is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention. Display advertising allows you to effectively convey your product and messaging. The ads are designed to entice the reader to click through and learn more.
However, some expertise is required—poorly implemented display ads can negatively impact your business. When they miss their mark, users might find them intrusive and irrelevant, and you could waste a lot of money.
But what exactly is a display ad, and how do they work? What are some good examples of display advertising? Let’s find out.
What Is a Display Ad?
Display ads are a common form of online advertising. There are several kinds of display ads; you’re used to seeing them in emails, and they’re also common on websites and social media.
Display ads can serve multiple purposes. Some businesses use them to build awareness of new research, for example, while others will utilize them to promote the company’s products and services.
How Do Display Ads Work?
When you implement display advertising, you start by choosing the platform you want to promote yourself on, as well as the ad size and positioning.
The pricing varies depending on what you pick. You can choose several pricing models for display ads, such as cost-per-mille (CPM) and pay-per-click (PPC). When you run an advertisement of this kind, you can choose how long you want the campaign to run and select other parameters—such as the audience segments you’d like to target.
Examples of Excellent Display Ads, and Why They Work
To help you create an excellent display advertising campaign of your own, let’s look at these real-life examples. Below, you’ll find eight display ads that have worked in the past. We’ll discuss why they’ve enjoyed success.
Music streaming giant Spotify has become well known for its innovative and quirky advertising. The company has run several paid online campaigns, each featuring its instantly recognizable branding.
This is a promotion for Spotify Premium. If you use the free version, you know all too well that the ads can be intrusive to the in-app experience; this ad works because it gets to the point. What they are directly and indirectly saying is, “You can wave goodbye to ads and try the full version of Spotify for 30 days, after which you probably won’t want to return to the free edition.”
What makes this ad work? It addresses a pain point that customers using the free service all have, and offers an immediate, free (for a time) solution. The text is clear and not cluttered, and the green-means-go action button stands out. Single or two-tone color schemes with vibrant tones are also very effective statistically as they tend to pop out to the user on a desktop or mobile device.
MailChimp is one of the world’s most popular email marketing tools, and its marketing strategy is a key factor.
Why does this particular ad campaign work? Well, there are several reasons. Rhyming is a powerful way to make your message stick, and each ad is equal parts funny and absurd—inviting connection through humor. Moreover, the colors are simple and appealing.
Klarna has taken the fintech world by storm, and its advertising campaigns challenge the assumption that the financial services industry is drab.
This pay-later service originated in Stockholm, Sweden—where it still has its headquarters. And in the ad you see above, it has dug deep into its Scandinavian roots. Klarna isn’t actually Swedish for “smoother shopping”, so it’s added a bit of humor for users, as you can see with the two characters that pay homage aesthetically to playful Swedish stereotypes.
The ad also works because the copy is simple—only four words in a unique font—and both the colors and textures suggest the smoothness they’re talking about.
HP is one of the largest tech companies in the world and is perhaps best known for its printers. How do you make printing seem a little more interesting? Create ads that are fun to view and read, of course.
Anyone who has had to file their own taxes knows that tax season can often be stressful. HP’s ad works because it offers a promise—that its product will make your job more straightforward.
The ad also works because the colors are simple and the printer is at the focal point of the image.
Adobe is one of the world’s biggest software companies. Adobe’s solutions primarily focus on helping creatives achieve their goals. Photographers, designers, and podcasters use several tools (e.g., Lightroom, InDesign, and Audition).
Any photographer will tell you that what they saw in real life often doesn’t look the same on camera. Editing software is useful for improving color quality and creating a unique style, as this ad shows.
The ad is successful because it sums everything up in four words; you take the picture, before bringing it to life with one of Adobe’s editing tools. The company has also used complimenting colors, making the ad more eye-catching.
Samsung is a global manufacturer of various consumer items, including smartphones and tablets. It's one of the fiercest competitors to Apple. As such, the company needs to ensure that its advertising game is on point.
Upon releasing the Galaxy S6 tablet, Samsung produced a campaign with a simple message: you can create work regardless of where you are. The ad appealed to people who might need to create quick prototypes for clients on the go, along with those either traveling or working remotely.
In addition to the messaging, the ad also works because the colors are simple – and the tablet is the main focal point for the viewer.
Huawei is a smartphone manufacturer headquartered in China. For a recent Christmas campaign, the company put together the following ad campaign.
The ad encourages people to be present with their loved ones aside, but it’s clever because you can still see the main product that Huawei is trying to sell. Moreover, the candy cane adds to the Christmas theme – as do the shades of red.
Huawei’s ad was also effective because it played on viewers’ emotions. Christmas is a time to create memories with people you care about, and the messaging reminds people about the importance of disconnecting from the virtual world now and then.
Puma is one of the world’s best-known sports clothing manufacturers. While it isn’t as big as Nike or Adidas, the company still has a huge presence and following – with several major partnerships.
Puma has created several memorable display ads in the past, but the ad above is one of the best. It uses the term “we’ve got sole” to describe the fact that puma shoes often have comfortable and sturdy soles, but also that its products have a sense of character.
Unlike some of the other ads on this list, the Puma campaign features a wider variety of colors. However, they remain pleasing to the eye and work together without looking disjointed.
4 Ways to Create Your Own Successful Display Ad Campaign
Now that you’ve seen a couple of display ads in action, we can discuss the top factors that will help your own campaigns stand out.
Set a Clear Goal for Your Ads
Before you start creating copy, you must have a clear goal in mind for your display ad campaign. You can use display ads for several types of goals. Below are three to get your creative juices flowing:
- Generate more leads
- Increase email subscriptions
- Offer a free trial for a premium version of your product
Consider the action you wish readers to take, and select your words carefully to connect with your audience demographics.
Use Interesting Visuals
Each display ad example in this article uses interesting visuals. The images are simple and tell the story with minimal complexity, making it easy for the viewer to understand what’s going on.
Color is a critical factor to convey mood and personality, so choose carefully. Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow generally convey a sense of energy and enthusiasm. Blues and purples more often connote poise, wisdom, and stability. Green, of course, makes people think of action and growth.
Think About Your Fonts
Your text will be the first thing that most people look at when engaging with your display ads, and you should have fonts that appeal to them visually.
Your fonts should match your branding; using something modern if you sell antiques probably won’t work. Be creative; we recommend trying at least two or three different kinds to see which ones bring more engagement.
Carefully Pick the Platform for Your Ads
Since you can create display ads on several platforms, place them wisely to get the highest return on your investment. Younger customers are often found on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, while more mature audiences can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
How to Write Copy That Gets People Clicking on Your Ads
Once you’ve chosen your display ad campaign’s goals and visuals, you’ll need to consider the copy itself. Below are some pointers to help you out.
Understand Your Audience
When you create ad copy, it’s crucial that you understand your audience. How they speak is especially important—tone and style matter. If you’re struggling to write copy that resonates with your audience, consider outsourcing this part to someone from the same demographic.
Keep Your Copy Short
In each of our display ad examples, the copy is short and gets to the point. People won’t read lengthy ad texts online. Long paragraphs will turn them off.
You might find it helpful to write a few versions and A/B test them to see which works best.
Inject Some Humor
People love laughing, and humor is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience. Don’t be afraid to go a little left-field with your visuals and copy. The payoff is huge if you get it right. Just ensure that it feels authentic and acknowledges a common experience they’ll recognize.
Solve the Audience’s Problem
What’s in it for them? At the heart of all advertising, you need to ensure that you communicate how you will solve your audience’s problem. The reader must want what you are selling, so be sure to communicate your solution clearly and immediately.
How MarinOne Can Help
Display advertising is an excellent way to reach your target audience, and you can have a bit of fun planning your campaigns. The fight for online attention is fierce, but the rewards are big if you successfully portray yourself in the best possible light.
We hope you are inspired by some of the best display ads of 2022, and that our tips help you create the best ads possible. If you would like to improve your display advertising, MarinOne can help you identify opportunities and optimize your campaigns across Amazon DSP, Yahoo! DSP, and Criteo Marketing Solutions