Keeping Up With Display Advertising: 4 Traits You Should Know

By Ashlee Dixon, March 02, 2017

Digital advertising is our favorite subject to talk about, particularly pay per call and pay per click. But sometimes we don’t give enough credit to another essential type: display advertising

Display Guru.png

If pay per call and pay per click are the Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian of digital advertising, display advertising is the Kim Kardashian West. Allow me to be your reality TV display ad guru and explain why.  

1. It’s Visual

Like Kim, display advertising appears on websites and relies heavily on appearance. Yes, it is the most superficial type of advertising. (No offense, Kim.)

Display takes advantage of all visual and engaging communication tools within its reach, so not only will it appear as images with text, but as audio and video, too. Here is an example of a banner ad, appearing across the top of  


The bold red text and tagline “Guilty or not, here they come” is enticing enough for me to give it a click and see what the show’s all about. And that is exactly the goal of these display ads.

2. It Wants Your Attention

Similar to Kim sharing selfies (or a cat seeking cuddles in the middle of the night), display ads are needy attention-seekers that keep popping up in your face until you inevitably click upon them.

And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter if you ignore them, they will continue to pester you until you click (or pay attention to your cat).

attention seeking display.jpg

Source: SearchIntegrations

With display ads, consumers can be at the beginning of the sales funnel, not actively searching or aware of your product when these ads target them. Sort of like Kim’s latest product appearing in your news feed.  

Take the previous example for instance, I had never heard of this show, but now I’m intrigued. Honestly, if I wasn’t at work, I probably would click on it and check it out. And if I forget, well, that brings me to my next point.

3. It Loves to Retarget

Let’s say I get home tonight, put on comfy clothes, and flip on Netflix while I scroll through my news feeds. I see a new ad pop up for the same show on a different site. And I think: wait, isn’t this the show from earlier? Again they pique my interest, and I click the display ad.

But wait, how exactly did this ad find its way back to me again?

Most likely, it is retargeting, when a cookie is popped onto your computer or mobile device after you visit a website. Remember when I first clicked on the banner ad for “Doubt”? Yeah, that’s probably when the cookie was dropped onto my computer. And with some cross-device targeting, it followed me to my smartphone.

Related Post: 7 Steps to Master the Google Display Network

However, retargeting isn’t the only way display likes to gain the attention of its consumers. There’s a whole array of other ways it may target you:

  • Behavioral Targeting. It targets consumers browsing categories or topics relevant to its product(s). It may even use your purchasing history to make its ad more personal. (Think Kim “stealing” Kylie’s lip kits and giving them to you.)
  • Demographics. Not only does it target you based on your interests, but also your age, gender, job, income, etc.
  • Geotargeting. Yes, it is possible display can target you based on location.  

Related Post: The Definitive Guide to Display Advertising Targeting

  • Dayparting. It knows when you are browsing, so it can set up specific times and days to deliver ads when you need them. Sure it sounds creepy, but display just wants to save you money (and make you a customer).  

4. It Lives for Impressions (and Conversions)

Display advertising lives for impressions. Remember like Kim, it just wants to be noticed (and hopefully get you to click). In order to get impressions, display campaigns must be optimized for each platform (e.g. mobile, desktop).

But impressions alone aren’t enough to sustain display advertising, it needs conversions, too. Display campaigns have two types of conversions: click-through and view-through.

A click-through conversion occurs when a consumer views your ad, clicks on it, and converts on your website. Meanwhile a view-through conversion is the result of a consumer viewing your ad, not clicking on it, but returning later to your website to convert.

And even if you don’t end up purchasing anything, display advertising doesn’t care because you’re helping it build brand awareness. (And branding is everything to a Kardashian.)

Related Post: How to Map out a Successful Display Campaign

So, now you know the eerily similar parallels between display advertising and Kim Kardashian West. Give display advertising a try and see how it can boost your digital advertising efforts. You can always pull the plug if you don’t see any movement, but if your campaign is anything like Kim, we don’t think you’ll want to.   

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Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee is the former Content Writer and Digital Specialist for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. On weekends, you can usually find her curled up next to her cat and watching Netflix with a glass of wine in hand. More Articles by Ashlee Dixon