As Display advertising (also known as banner advertising) becomes increasingly popular with Top 20 advertisers in the UK and worldwide, search retargeting has also entered the fray by enabling advertisers to tag (via pixels) specific landing pages. As a result, advertisers can show display adverts that follow the visitor round the web that pertain to the landing page(s) visited. The problem solved is that instead of leaving 90% of search visitors behind, you’re more likely to convert the lost visitors later on by dynamically building a personalised advert for each and every lost prospect. This could be items in an abandoned online shopping basket or the items that were appealing in the first place.
Isn’t display advertising just banner advertising
It’s a little more sophisticated than that. Display advertising uses “exchanges” where buyers of advertising meet publishers. So in essence it’s a market place, however for smaller publishers they will go via a media network as they are too small to deal with. In the 1.0 version of exchanges i.e. Right Media (owned by Yahoo!), a display advertising agency would have to contract individually with publishers that had a seat on the exchange which was and still is highly inefficient. Nowadays, one can simply access all the publishers by joining an exchange like Google Content Network. This is not only just for advertising on desktops and laptops, but also on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.
Real Time Bidding (RTB)
Advertisers bid for space on the publisher websites by specifying the effective cost per click and daily budgets. But they also have to look at other considerations like the time of day, day of week, how often they show the ad to the same user (frequency cap) as well as language, geography and of course the cost per action. Whether the inventory is a good fit or not will usually be determined by the performance over 100,000 impressions before a decision is made on wether to turn it off or not. The real time bidding is an auction where the highest paying bidder (with budget) wins and gets their ad shown on the publisher website all within a matter of microseconds as the page loads in the browser.
Creative dark arts
The creative aspect of the display ad is heavily important and is often the dark art aspect which heavily influences the success of the campaign via conversions. Some of the things to get right are:
Keeping the ad short – i.e. don’t create a long movie
Visible branding – the eyeballs may not hang around long enough to see the call to action at the end but at least they remember the brand
Let’s not forget that you can now buy data from people like Experian so you can credit check your visitors before deciding which ad to show. For example Tesco Mobile can use this to decide whether to show a contract phone or a Pay-As-You-go lightbox advert as the visitor unwittingly visits the website. The overly of audience data makes display advertising far more than just banner advertising.
There are number smart agencies operating in the space having the vision to see where display advertising was going as advertising inventory remained unsold or sold at ridiculously low prices by the Publisher sales teams. Most of it started in 2008 and now most agencies are getting in on the act by utilising or building their own machine learning algorithms in their attempt to create demand side platforms (DSPs) that learns in real-time. The idea being the DSPs use the data intelligence to power decisions on bid price, optimal ad position, and creative message at the most granular level. This facilitates the optimisation of display media campaigns helping to yield increased returns on investment for advertisers.
Brand safety is paramount
As with all forms of professional marketing communications content classification filters must be used to ensure advertising does not appear on inappropriate websites. This rule is not only true for display advertising but also search engine optimisation (SEO) otherwise you can kiss that retainer contract goodbye.
So where does search come in?
We can use the rich data available from tagging the advertiser website to tease out their conversion rates and the subsequent sites visited. This tells us something (subject to hard stats) about the types of content and sites they’re interested in if they convert. This could be useful for online PR strategy as well as link placement. We also get some data on the consumer profile which could also feedback into the copywriting and massaging requirements for audience targeting.
SEO can work hand in hand with display to ensure the right search phrases are being targeted. Not only is SEO one dimensional via keyword targeting, it becomes multidimensional via audience, content and conversion insights.