Display Advertising Q&A With A Digital Media Expert Part I

By August 13, 2013PPC

The digital media landscape is rapidly evolving. We sat down with an independent digital media consultant, and asked her a series of questions on the state of display advertising.  With over 17 years of experience in digital, traditional and data marketing and sales, here are her answers

Question 1:

How many times have you heard from a client, “I’ve never clicked on a banner ad”? Does anyone still click on banner ads?   


Only 8% of the Internet audience clicks on banners and this portion of the audience tends to not spend much money online.  We don’t want to target “clickers,” we want customers. Clicks are rarely a major consideration when setting up and running an online display campaign.  The focus is on getting the right ad in front the right market.  Using ad serving technology, we are able to track which consumers see a client’s ad and then visit the client’s site within 1 to 30 days.  Folks will see an ad and then run a search on the product if it peaks their interest.  So, we track which consumers see a client’s ad, visit the client’s site and then purchase something from the client’s site.   

Question 2:

Does display advertising work?  


Absolutely.  Display advertising done well generates a positive, healthy return on ad spend (ROAS).  If you aren’t earning at least $2 for every $1 you spend on display advertising, you should get a new agency.  Good display advertising pays for itself.  

Question 3: 

Is it best to go direct for digital media buys to get the best deal?


If you don’t have experience negotiating placements on digital sites, I would encourage you to have an expert to consult.  Digital ad sales representatives typically mark up their placements. Even a 10x increase is not usual.  Reps may also try to include placements that may not make sense for your product because they are trying to move undesirable inventory.  A good digital media buyer will be able to select the exact advertising placements in that package that will generate desired results. They’ll negotiate for those placements enabling you to achieve a positive ROI.   

Please keep in mind there is a ton of research on digital advertising.  Some of it is high quality and some of it is just small sample online surveys with that don’t accurately represent the larger audience.  Also, ad sales organizations nitpick the data that support their efforts.  Be sure you’re getting the whole picture.  A good digital media buyer will use his/her own research and cull through the advertising sales marketing materials to decide if a website is right for your campaign.   

Lastly, digital ads sales folks typically prefer to sell directly to a client than their agency because they know that the client doesn’t have the experience to negotiate effectively.  Clients are seen as an “easy mark”.   

Question 4:

What about mobile display? Is it here to stay and should marketers start including it in their digital mix?   


Advertising and technology news both suffer from the same issue; over-hyping an early trend and delivering it as regular news.  People can use data points in way that serves them to generate hype (aka traffic to their advertising and technology news website) and they do it all the time.  The idea of mobile advertising ads is attractive to folks so it gets a lot of press.   

So, I would encourage small brands try not to get caught up in every new fad that’s published in advertising and technology news.  Some of it will work, some of it won’t.   The big brands will always jump in first because they have sizeable budgets for testing.  So, if you see Samsung, Nike or Walmart trying something, it doesn’t mean it’s working for them.  They just have the budgets to give it a shot.  If you have some room in your budget, I recommend using 10% of your budget on new ideas.   

Back to mobile.  Does it work?  Well, that depends on what you are selling.  If you are selling a game app or trying to get folks to download your free app, mobile is a no brainer.  If you have video ads, making sure your ads run on sites optimized for mobile or apps is a good idea.  Sometimes mobile coupons work.  PC users buy more online than tablet users.  Tablet users buy more online than mobile users.  Like any display campaign, it depends on your goals and your target market.   There are millions of ways to spend a display budget.  It’s important to select the right media, technology and ad format.  A good digital partner will help you hone in on a plan that will keep you in budget and hit your marketing goals.   A poor digital partner will come up with sexy sounding ideas that do nothing for your bottom line.   

Question 5:

What about Facebook?  


Facebook is the largest social media site and has the largest supply of display advertising of any website.  Facebook advertising is getting better.  With a huge reach and some really unique targeting capabilities, Facebook is a more interesting proposition.    The founders of Facebook have dragged their heels on creating compelling ad products and are just now catching up.  Advertisers have long complained about how those little ads on Facebook just don’t drive sales like regular banner ads on websites.  Now that Facebook is allowing agencies to use sophisticated ad server technologies, we are able to measure how many folks see a client’s ad and then go to a client’s site and make a purchase.  The preliminary reviews so far are good.  If you are using an agency that tracks view based conversions in this way, I recommend testing Facebook.

Come back next week for Part II of this Q&A with digital media consultant Kora Minton!

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Eric Layland

Author Eric Layland

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