What is Display Advertising? Definition, Formats, Advantages, Disadvantages

With the world going all-digital, display advertising is becoming more and more essential. Advertising that you earlier found on newspapers and streets now appears online, on the websites, you visit, and the content you consume.

Display Advertising
Image Credit: Searchenginejournal.com

For companies, it is now critical to use digital advertising to increase the visibility of their brand and products.

But how does display advertising work? What types of display advertising exists? What are their advantages and disadvantages? And what does the future of display advertising look like? This article answers all these questions.

How Does Display Advertising Work?

Display advertising is a form of web marketing, which consists of broadcasting visual advertisements on different media: websites, blogs, Youtube videos, etc. Internet users can see these advertisements on mobile, computers and even tablets.

These online advertisements can display text, banners, buttons, animations, videos, images, and a whole host of other elements. These elements are interactive.

That is to say that if users click on it, they will be redirected to the website that has created and distributed the advertisement. In general, the advertisement is broadcast on as many channels as possible to maximize its reach and visibility.

What Are The Different Forms Of Display Advertising?

Ad networks

We are talking about big advertising networks, such as Google AdSense. These networks allow website owners to display advertisements on their sites, which have been created by advertisers. We will also mention Double Click, another platform for coordinating display ads.

Real-Time Bidding

In this case, an auction for advertising space for sale takes place in real-time. Advertisers define in advance the price they are willing to pay for a particular advertising space. Those with the highest bids get their favored spot to display their ads.

Affiliate Networks

Companies provide banner or image ads and affiliates post them on their sites. There is a link in the advertising material, which points to the product the company wants to promote.

Each time a user clicks on the ad, the affiliate earns a commission. It is also possible that the affiliate gets some amount for each conversion resulting from the advertising running on his site. With technology, one can track and measure the clicks from the affiliate’s site to the advertiser’s landing page and the conversions.

Behavioral Targeting

In this case, the advertising banners are displayed according to the behavior of Internet users. For example, if a prospect has searched the web to buy a printer, he will see advertisements for printers and related products on the next sites he visits.

Performance Marketing

In performance marketing, billing is based on the performance of the advertising space. Similar to affiliate, the performance of each banner ad is evaluated to see if it helps increase sales and traffic or not.

Contextual targeting

Display ads are adjusted according to the context of the site that publishes them. For example, advertisements related to health will be displayed on a blog website dedicated to health.

Multi-Display Marketing

This refers to the different media on which it is possible to broadcast advertising: desktop, PC, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Native Advertising

Here, the content and links are present in such a way that it becomes difficult to recognize them as advertisements.


This practice consists of distributing ads that promote products to Internet users who have consulted these products in the past but haven’t made the purchase.

The Objectives Of Display Advertising

Objectives Of Display Advertising

There can be several objectives that advertisers wish to achieve by using display advertising.

On the one hand, display advertising helps to improve sales and orders. The more a product is visible to a target audience, and the better the advertising promoting it, the more are the product sales.

On the other hand, display advertising can also fulfill branding objectives. The more effectively the display ad conveys a brand’s message, and the more the ads target the right group, the more it strengthens the brand’s image.

Of course, measuring the success of a display campaign with a branding objective is more complex than simply measuring the number of sales from an ad campaign.

An agency specializing in digital advertising can help you. Both to define your objectives and to evaluate the results of your campaigns.

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Billing For Display Advertising

The display advertising model works quite similarly to magazine and newspaper advertising. The advertiser reserves a space and provides the content, which the publisher shows on his space/website.

That said, billing for display advertising is much more accurate than for similar ads. This is because, in display advertising, you pay according to the number of views, clicks, or visitors. Analytics and cookies provide all the information needed to measure these numbers.

Moreover, with display advertising, the measurements are much more precise, and therefore the invoicing. You can use several metrics to calculate the price of advertising. The most common is CPM, which is the price per 1000 impressions.

Another metric you can use is CPC – Cost Per Click. This means that you pay a publisher/website owner every time someone clicks on an ad on their site. Also, there is CPL (Cost Per Lead), and the CPS (Cost Per Sale). Here, it is checked whether a customer clicks on an ad and makes a purchase on the target site or not. Then you can adjust the billings.

The cost per sale is higher than the cost per click. This is because the cost per sale gives more guarantees to the advertiser. Combine these different metrics to define the exact price of display advertisements.

Benefits Of Display Advertising

Benefits Of Display Advertising

Display advertising has many advantages.

  • The reach of display campaigns is much higher than magazines or newspapers. This is because you can target audiences much more precisely.
  • You can show your ads to people of a certain age, of a certain gender, and with specific search history.
  • The type of advertising can be adapted to each target group. For example, you can create different ads for the same product, but for different audiences.
  • If the ad isn’t delivering the expected results, it’s possible to make adjustments fairly quickly.
  • You can change the design, location, and even your target group.

Another compelling advantage of display advertising is that customers can take action directly. By clicking on a display advertisement, they can directly access the merchant’s site and place an order. This is far from the case with a magazine, where you have to remember to go to the merchant when you have the opportunity.

In addition, the display is more efficient and costs less since it is possible to monitor its performance with much more precision. Finally, thanks to its reach, display advertising is more effective in increasing brand awareness.

Disadvantages Of Display Advertising

Of course, the display also has some disadvantages.

Disadvantages Of Display Advertising

  • More and more Internet users are using ad blockers to protect themselves from advertising. Unfortunately, this means that an increasing number of individuals no longer see online advertising at all.
  • Moreover, they may also become indifferent to advertising. This is because there are so many ads on websites that more and more people end up ignoring them.
  • Finally, sites that display ads too often can create a bad opinion in the audience’s minds.

Tip: The solution is to place your display ads in the right places without spamming your audience.

What Future For Display Advertising?

It is more than likely that online marketing will continue to grow in the future. Social networks in particular, especially with the rise of influencers.
With the growth of online marketing, display advertising is also likely to grow, both on desktop and mobile.

Having that said, many experts claim that mobile advertising will take on more importance in the years to come. Also, it is quite possible that virtual reality and augmented reality may lead. We are already seeing it with more and more brands that use AI on social networks to promote themselves.

However, the elimination of cookies is a challenge yet to resolve.

Wrapping up

To conclude, display advertising should be part of any marketing strategy. However, it’s crucial to go about it the right way:

  • Have good quality display ads
  • Distribute them in the right places
  • Do not spam your target audience

If you want to take advantage of this type of advertising and create display advertising campaigns to promote your brand, work with a specialized agency.

An agency can help you target a specific group and optimize your results. One can do display advertising on a very wide variety of channels. Moreover, there are several uses of online advertising, and it is not always easy to know exactly how to use it to achieve one or another objective.

We hope this article has helped you better understand display advertising its advantages and disadvantages. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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Rahul Vij

Co-founded WebSpero solutions about a decade ago. Having worked in web development- I realized the dream of transforming ideas sketched out on paper into fully functioning websites. Seeing how that affected the customers’ generation of leads and conversions, I wanted to delve deeper into the sphere of digital marketing. At Webspero Solutions, handling operations and heading the entire Digital Marketing Field – SEO, PPC, and Content are my core domains. And although we as a team have faced many challenges, we have come far learning along and excelling in this field and making a remarkable online reputation for our work. Having worked in building websites and understanding that sites are bare structures without quality content, the main focus was to branch into optimizing each website for search engines. Investing in original, quality content creation is essential to SEO success in the current search climate. Succeeding in this arena ensures the benefits of producing visitor-friendly content. Directing all our teams to zoom in on these factors has been a role that I have thoroughly enjoyed playing throughout these years. linkedin