Hey, Marketers!

Embarking on an exploration of the dynamic realm of Programmatic Display Advertising? Excellent.

To begin our journey, it is crucial to establish a solid understanding of the subject at hand.

What is Programmatic Display Advertising?

Programmatic Display Advertising is an intelligent and streamlined approach to purchasing and managing visual ads in online advertising spaces through the use of advanced targeting and server technology. Its principal objective revolves around the precise targeting of desired audiences, ensuring they encounter the right message at the right moment in the most suitable location. With this fundamental comprehension in place, let’s dive further into how to successfully run display ads on today’s Internet.

Display Advertising (AKA Banner Ads)

Remember those flashy, eye-catching ads you see while surfing the web? Those are display ads! They come in all shapes and sizes – banner ads, interstitial ads, rich media ads, video ads – you name it! Display Advertising is all about visual appeal, designed to catch your attention and hopefully, spark interest. They’re the billboards of the digital highway, if you will.

Way back in the days of dial-up internet (cue nostalgic sigh), banner ads were born. They were the pioneers, adding images to links or links to images, paving the way for all digital advertising we see today. Fast forward a few decades, and they’re still with us.

Why? Because they work! It’s as simple as that.

They’ve adapted, evolved, and become more sophisticated to suit our ever-changing digital landscape.  But how does a marketing team utilize this weapon of digital sales effectively?

The Art of Non-Interruptive Advertising

We get it. Pop-ups, interstitials, auto-play videos… they can be a real nuisance when you’re trying to consume content online. That’s why one of the main challenges in display advertising is creating ads that are non-interruptive yet engaging. We’re not just out here to put ads on screens; we’re here to connect, to captivate, to converse. Let’s dive a little deeper into how we can master this art.

Balancing visibility and interruption

First thing’s first, visibility is key. Your ad has to be seen to make an impact. But this doesn’t mean resorting to invasive tactics. Instead, it’s about finding the perfect balance – making your ad prominent without intruding on a user’s browsing experience. This could be achieved through smart ad placements and by leveraging native advertising. Native ads are designed to match the form and function of the content platform they appear on, seamlessly blending with the user’s online experience. They’re like a chameleon, effortlessly adapting to their environment.

Providing value to the user

The truth is, people don’t mind ads as much when they’re relevant and provide some sort of value. Maybe it’s an ad for a product they’ve been thinking about, or a service that solves a problem they’ve been dealing with. If an ad feels personalized and relevant, it doesn’t feel like an interruption – it feels like a helpful suggestion.

This is where targeting comes in. By understanding who your audience is, what they like, and what they need, you can create ads that feel personalized and valuable. Think of it like this: you wouldn’t recommend a steakhouse to a vegan, right? With the right data and insights, your ads can feel less like random shouts into the void and more like curated recommendations for each user.

Engaging without annoying

Now, you’ve got an ad that’s visible and valuable – but is it engaging? Here’s where creativity comes into play. An engaging ad is one that tells a story, stirs emotions, or invokes curiosity. It invites the user in, instead of pushing a hard sell. Maybe it’s a clever use of humor, a captivating visual, or an intriguing headline. Remember, an ad is a conversation starter. So, start a conversation that’s worth having.

In a nutshell, non-interruptive advertising is all about respect – respecting the user’s online experience, their needs, and their interests. And when you hit that sweet spot of visibility, value, and engagement, you’ve got an ad that’s not just seen, but also remembered and appreciated.

Creating Visually Appealing Display Ads

Creating visually appealing ads for programmatic display advertising isn’t just about hiring a graphic designer with a keen eye. It’s a meticulous blend of science and art, utilizing compelling visuals to convey your message in a way that resonates with your audience. Here’s how you can craft ads that are not only beautiful, but also powerful in their message delivery.

examples of display ad sizesKnowing Your Brand and Audience

Before we start with colors and images, let’s take a step back. A visually appealing ad aligns with your brand’s image and speaks to your target audience. So, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of your brand’s identity (your colors, fonts, voice) and your audience’s preferences. Are you a bold, modern tech startup attracting millennial entrepreneurs? Or perhaps a warm, nurturing childcare service appealing to busy parents? The design choices you make should mirror this.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency in your ads builds recognition and trust. This applies to everything from color schemes and typography to the style of imagery and tone of voice. When your ads are consistent, they become instantly recognizable as ‘yours,’ creating a coherent brand experience across various platforms.

The Power of Simplicity

An overcomplicated ad can be overwhelming and off-putting. The human brain craves simplicity. Thus, a clean, simple design with a clear message often outperforms a cluttered, confusing one. Use whitespace effectively, limit your color palette, and stick to one main idea per ad. As they say, less is more.

Captivating Imagery and Strong CTAs

Striking visuals are the heart of a display ad. Whether it’s a high-quality photo, a bold graphic, or a quirky illustration, your imagery should be visually interesting and relevant to your message. Pair this with a strong call-to-action (CTA) that compels users to click or engage with your ad. “Buy Now” or “Learn More” might do the trick, but sometimes, a more creative and specific CTA can work wonders.

Testing and Refining

Lastly, even with all these elements in place, you’ll need to continuously test and refine your ads. What works for one campaign may not work for another. Use A/B testing to determine which visual elements are most effective, and don’t be afraid to make tweaks and changes based on your findings.

Creating visually appealing ads isn’t just an art; it’s a strategic process. And when done right, it can be a game-changer in capturing attention and driving results in the world of programmatic display advertising. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s not just about looking good; it’s about effectively communicating your brand’s message and making a meaningful connection with your audience.

The Mechanics of Programmatic Display Advertising

This is where Programmatic Display Advertising shines! It’s like having a super-efficient personal assistant who buys and sells your ad spaces across various platforms, using real-time data to make the best decisions. Through systems like real-time bidding (RTB) or private marketplaces (PMPs), we can optimize the entire process. No more guesswork – just smart, data-driven decisions.

Effective Targeting in Display Networks

Now, you’ve got your stellar, visually appealing ad, but where do you put it? Who do you show it to? Welcome to the world of ad targeting. It’s about making sure your ad appears to the right people, in the right places, at the right time. Here’s how to get it done.

First off, you need to understand where your ads can appear. Display networks are basically collections of websites and apps where your ads can be placed. Google Display Network is a popular example, encompassing over 2 million sites and reaching over 90% of internet users worldwide. But there are others too, each with its own characteristics, user base, and rules. Signal works with five different networks depending on the nature of the campaign we’re running.  The key is to choose a network that aligns with your audience’s behavior.

Identifying Your Ideal Customer

Next, who is your ideal customer? It’s not enough to say ‘millennials’ or ‘women aged 18-35’. Dive deep. What do they do for a living? What are their interests? What challenges do they face? What sites do they visit? The more detailed you get, the better you can tailor your targeting.

Layered Targeting

With programmatic display advertising, you can leverage layered targeting. This means you can mix and match different targeting methods to zero in on your audience. You might combine geographic targeting (people in a certain location) with interest-based targeting (people interested in, say, fitness or organic food) and remarketing (people who’ve already interacted with your brand).

Behavioral and Contextual Targeting

Behavioral targeting involves reaching people based on their online behaviors, like websites they’ve visited or content they’ve engaged with. Contextual targeting, on the other hand, places your ad on sites with related content. If you’re selling baking equipment, your ad could appear on a food blogger’s recipe post.

The Power of Retargeting

Remember those ads that seem to follow you around after you’ve visited a site? That’s retargeting. It’s a powerful way to re-engage people who’ve shown interest in your product or service, nudging them closer to conversion.

Precision Matters

Remember, precise targeting doesn’t just increase your chances of engagement; it also helps you avoid wasting ad spend on the wrong audience. It’s about reaching the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer, making every ad impression count.

So, while it might seem complex at first glance, targeting your ads to the right display networks is essentially about understanding your audience and using the tools at your disposal to reach them effectively. It’s the bridge between your well-crafted ad and the people it’s designed to inspire.

Assessing and Measuring the Results

Ready to see how your ads are performing? Analytics are your best friends here! By tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like click-through rates, conversions, impressions, and more, you can measure the success of your ads. Use these insights to tweak your strategies, optimize your campaigns, and maximize your ROI. After all, what gets measured gets improved.

One of the most common things we hear from new clients who come to Signal for their programmatic display advertising is the lack of measurement and assessment from their previous agency. It’s super important to review the results of a display campaign in detail to ensure we’re hitting the proper metrics and to tailor the next round of campaigns to suit our goals.

If you’re interested in starting an online ad campaign, chat with a Signal consultant first
It’s free and no-risk, but can save you endless headaches by explaining what to look for and how to achieve success.

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