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What Is a Display Ad: Display Advertising Explained

As your brand grows and you need to market your products and services, you can use many different types of ads to spread your message. Display ads are some of the most effective, but only if you use them properly and fully understand how they work.

If you're just beginning your online marketing campaign, don’t worry. This detailed guide will break down everything you need about display advertising.

What Is a Display Ad?

Display ads are any form of digital advertising on your display. They frequently combine images, text, and a target URL that links a clicker to a specific website, like a product page or landing page. In other words, they are the most common online ads you’ve ever seen.

Display ads are mostly contrasted with other forms of online advertising, such as pop-up ads (which block one's screen and open a new tab or window) and email ads (which show up in an email inbox rather than taking a viewer to a specific page). Display ads, in contrast, include:

  • Banner ads, which show up like banners on the sides of website screens. These are the most common type of Google Ads aside from PPC Google search ad formats (SERP).
  • Mobile device and desktop leaderboard ads.
  • Video ads, which offer rich media messages to the targets of display advertising campaigns.

Most display advertisements are rectangular or squarish, including content that aligns with a host site’s message, content, or audience needs. 

They’re all interactive for app or browser users, enabling efficient audience targeting options with many metrics, including engagement, call to action (CTA) response rate, and click-through rate.

Display ads are beneficial and often utilized because a single click takes a prospect or lead precisely where the advertiser wants them to go. Additionally, using machine learning automation and AI tools, the ad spend set aside for display ads can go a long way.

Thus, you can use digital display ads for various campaigns, purposes, and marketing efforts. It’s a big reason why display marketing is so powerful and is likely to grow even more critical in the future.

What Are the Different Types of Display Ads?

There are a few different types of display ads to reach their in-market potential customers. 

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Remarketing ads. These are also called retargeting ads. Retargeting campaigns are meant to convince customers to make purchases from brands that remember their interests or previous purchases. They “retarget” customers who have already purchased from a brand and are statistically more likely to make another purchase. However, they’re only offered to the “right audience” after gathering lots of search ad and search engine data.
  • Personalized ads. These include display ads tailored to a visitor or lead’s personal preferences, previous purchases, and other demographic data. Personalized advertisements are popular because of their high success rate – people are more likely to respond to ads and other marketing content they feel is tailored to their needs.
  • Contextually targeted ads. These appear on host websites according to criteria like topics, keywords, host website theme, and the browsing histories of recent visitors. These ads can draw new brand customers from a shared overall audience between your business and a host website. Depending on ad performance and your content marketing strategy, these web page ads may be sent to a complete ad network or just specific sites.
  • Site-placed ads. These allow brands to handpick individual websites that will host their marketing materials. This enables businesses greater control over their brand associations and brand awareness, at the cost of taking a little more time to implement.

Are Display Ads the Same as Native Ads?

You may wonder whether display ads are the same things as native advertising. Native ads are similar to display ads but also unique; they're meant to blend in with the rest of the content on a given page.

For example, you may post a blog about one of the topics related to your brand’s industry or niche. However, you also include a subtle advertisement at the top or bottom of the article. That’s a native advertisement. 

The purpose of native ads is to draw people to your brand or a product without being too explicit (though you still have to be honest about the ad’s nature).

Thus, native ads are technically a subsidiary type of display ad, but they’re so unique that they usually aren’t discussed when breaking down a display ad campaign.

What Are the Advantages of Display Advertising?

There are many benefits to using display advertising as one of the cornerstone elements of your online marketing strategy.

For starters, display advertising often leads to better brand awareness. As opposed to materials like native ads, display advertisements are obvious in their marketing nature. Sure, some individuals may ignore them because of that.

But your target audience members won’t. By showcasing your brand imagery, aesthetic, and style, your company becomes a more critical part of its niche or industry. That can help your brand awareness efforts in the earliest days of your business.

Furthermore, display advertisements convey messages quickly and efficiently. True to their name, many display ads are based on visuals rather than text. So audience members don’t have to read through a long advertisement from start to finish to get the picture (literally) or be swayed to make a purchase.

On top of that, display ads are relatively easy to create in place, particularly with a skilled marketer on your team. Display ads don’t require a lot of complex integration with publisher websites, so it’s easy to post them across the web.

Lastly, you can use display advertising at any stage in the purchase funnel. It’s excellent for convincing or converting customers near the beginning or closer to the end of their buyers' journeys.

What Are the Downsides of Display Advertising?

It’s also crucial to know the potential downsides of display ads. First and foremost, many people don’t like them.

Many consumers think ads are much more intrusive and frequent than in previous years. Offered advertisements always have the potential to irritate the people you want to convert into customers, so you have to design them carefully.

In addition, display advertisements can be too minimal or simplistic. While they should display their messages quickly and simply, going too far can make your display advertisements confusing or unattractive. In the worst-case scenarios, all you’ll do is waste money you could have spent elsewhere on valuable keywords or advertising spots.

Then there's the fact that most display ads have low click-through and conversion rates across the board. 

Even banner advertisements from the most successful brands have average click-through rates of about 0.1%. That’s seriously lower than the results of many other forms of online advertising.

Fewer click-throughs mean fewer conversions and fewer people interacting with your brand overall. If your marketing budget is already quite limited, you may be better off using other types of online advertisements or other forms of customer outreach altogether.

Try AdQuick Today

Display ads have the potential to maximize your profits and expand your audience base like never before. But to use display ads effectively, you must use the right tools, especially for marketing tricky subjects like cannabis.

The same principle applies to out-of-home/OOH ads, like billboard advertisements. AdQuick provides the comprehensive platform to succeed in this advertising arena, offering ad cost calculations, connections to ad publishers, and much more. Try our platform today.


Display Advertising - Digital Marketing Lesson - DMI | Digital Marketing Institute

About Display ads and the Google Display Network | Google

How Does Google Remarketing Work? | Wordstream

Contextual Advertising 101: How it Works, Benefits & Why It's Necessary for Relevant Ad | Instapage

2023 average ad click through rates (CTRs) for paid search, display and social media | Smart Insights

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