Back to Basics: How to Personalize Your Display Ads

By Kim Marcozzi, May 18, 2017

View a web page, watch a video, or scroll through an article, and you’re sure to find at least one display ad. Display advertisements are everywhere. And not surprisingly, consumers are becoming increasingly desensitized to them.

However, there are some ads that still seem to capture consumers’ attention no matter what. What is it that those ads have, that others don’t? Personalization.

Taking the time to personalize your ads increases the odds of consumer engagement. Why? Because ads created for specific audiences resonate better than generic ads.

Here are four best practices for personalizing your display ads.  

1. Stay Relevant to Your Demographic

You may have a brilliant concept for a unicorn-themed display ad, but unless your target audience is Larry Kim, hit the brakes.

Your target demographic will determine what types of ads you need to create for your audience. Before you create anything, always consider these key demographics:

Age. Age can impact a variety of factors from your ad’s font size to jargon to tone. Older audiences may require larger fonts for improved readability. Younger audiences may require a more casual tone, which could fall flat with older audiences.

Related Post: The Definitive Guide to Display Advertising Targeting

Gender. Is your audience predominantly male or female? The messaging in your ad may need to pivot depending on what gender you’re targeting.

Language. Does your product target both English and Spanish speakers? You may need to design ads in both languages, and ensure that the translation isn’t lost between them.


Source: Doz

2. Incorporate Elements of Your Brand’s Personality

Your brand has a specific personality for a reason: to attract a select audience. So, why aren’t you using it in your display ads?

Your display ads should reflect elements of your brand’s personality (e.g. funny, serious, smart, laid back). Perhaps your brand is humorous. Incorporate that humor into a funny slogan or mascot for your ads. Not only will it help differentiate your ads from the competition, but it will make them easier to identify, too.    

When we see a funny talking lizard with a British accent, we immediately know we’re seeing an ad for GEICO. Or when we see witty actor Isaiah Mustafa standing in a bathroom, we know we’re about to be sold some laughs with a side of Old Spice deodorant.  


Source: AdBasis

Incorporating your brand’s personality is a simple way to personalize your display ads.

3. Use Trends (When They Make Sense)

Trends are always a good weapon to have in your marketing arsenal, as long as you use them correctly. Do a bit of research on recent marketing trends to see what could potentially resonate with your target audience.

Related Post: 3 Ways to Avoid Being a “Thirsty” Brand

For example, YOLO was trendy for a while with Millennials, but older generations had no idea what the acronym meant. The billboard shown below surely would have emitted a chunkle from Millennials, but it’s not likely older people would have gotten the cheeky message.


Source: Legal Cheek

Embracing trends isn’t guaranteed success. Avoid overuse of slang and stay away from referencing fads that have already gone out of style.

4. Keep Brand Image Consistent

A seamless and consistent brand image across platforms is key. From your website to your social media to your ads, your brand personality should remain identical.

If your tone is light-hearted on Twitter, don’t suddenly switch to dark undertones on Facebook. Of course, this means using the same tone and jargon, too. And be sure to keep typeface, color scheme, mascot, or logo the same, as well. Abiding by these branding style guidelines helps ensure that the appearance of your ads matches the rest of your brand materials.

A consistent image increases your credibility and paints your brand as trustworthy. Now, get cracking on those display ads, and let that personality shine! 

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Kim Marcozzi

Kim Marcozzi

Kim is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she double majored in English and Japanese Studies. More Articles by Kim Marcozzi