Knowing the latest display advertising trends and best practices is critical in effectively guiding your team to success. Based on the thousands of ads we’ve implemented for local businesses, here is what we’ve learned.

Running display advertising campaigns that not only attract traffic, but actually convert your website visitors to paying customers takes a lot more than simply buying space in the right outlets and putting clever ads in them. Effective display advertising is actually a system of elements that work together to get you the best value for every dollar you put into your display ad campaigns. Wading through the marketing jargon and statistics can be an endless source of frustration, but here are some plain-spoken explanations of the basic must-have elements for a successful display ad campaign.

A Landing Page that Draws Visitors In

If you think of your display ads as invitations, it follows naturally that you need to provide a valuable experience for people who respond to that invitation. The landing page on your website is a visitor’s first impression of that experience, and it needs to do a couple of things immediately: Provide a visual and informational connection to your display ad so they feel that they’ve landed in a familiar place and give them a reason to stay on your page and have a look around. If the ad promised visitors a free ebook, make it obvious on your landing page how they can get that, while also presenting them with more, related items of interest that will draw them deeper into your site.

Targeting that Reaches Your Actual Customers

Once you identify the people who are most likely to actually pay for your products or services, you can create display ad campaigns that specifically target those people, whether by geography or by online behavior. You can, for example, choose to have your ads served to people who are local and have shown interest in competing products. Audience targeting is quite flexible and lets you find your most likely buyers and focus on winning their attention and purchases.

Banner Ads that Stand Out

Building banner ads that stand out sounds fairly simple, but it’s actually an area where many businesses miss valuable opportunities. Start with the most important things, which are the basic elements of your visual branding: Your logo and the fonts and colors you’ve chosen to represent your brand. Staying consistent in using these elements builds public recognition of your brand and what it stands for. In small spaces like banner ads, clean, uncluttered design is most effective, so think about how you can let your visual branding do most of the “talking,” and use as little text as possible. Give a short, attention-grabbing explanation of why someone should accept your invitation, and leave it at that.

A Good Tracking System that Shows Results

If you’ve ever looked into tracking the results, or metrics, as marketers call them, from an ad campaign, you may have come away from the experience with an eye twitch and a headache. It’s easy to get off in the weeds when it comes to metrics, and that’s partly because of all the jargon. Basic results you should be keeping track of include impressions, which is marketing-speak for, “How many people saw my ad.” Next, is the click rate, which is simply the number of people who clicked the ad to learn more. Both of these metrics help you understand whether or not your ad is enticing people to visit your website.

The next-level metrics tell you whether site visitors are interested enough in your web content to put themselves into your lead management process by submitting a contact form, making a phone call, or initiating a chat. These actions move the buyer into the care of your sales team and toward an actual sale, so they are considered part of conversion tracking metrics. Looking at each type of result or metric shows you not only the final outcome of your display ad campaign but can pinpoint where in the process you are gaining or losing conversions and sales.

A CTA that Urges Action

A Call to Action (CTA, for short) is an absolute must in display advertising, because without that nudge to take another step toward conversion, you’re really just showing people a nice picture which they will forget almost instantly. The most effective CTAs work because they don’t simply “call” viewers to action, but actually create an urge to take that action. Three of the most basic and proven ways to create that urge are to:

  1. Show them the Benefit of clicking with a simple statement like, “Sign up for a free trial,” or, “Get your free information guide,” or, “Schedule a complimentary consultation.”
  2. Use Visual Design to point the viewer to the information that will lead them to take action. Use a clear, bold font, minimal text, and colors that highlight the offer while staying in harmony with your visual branding.
  3. Make it Obvious where you want the viewer to click by making a button and labeling it something like, “Yes, I want a free ebook!” or, “Sign me up!”

Managing a complete display advertising program can be a time-consuming prospect, and many businesses find it most cost-effective to work with a marketing partner to keep everything on track and up to date. If you’d like help optimizing and coordinating your website, social media posts, and display advertising for better conversion, we’re here to help!

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