The Power of Display Advertising

July 21, 2022by Samantha Yee

The “first” display banner ad was credited to AT&T and served on October 27, 1994, appearing on Since then, the industry has worked to create banner ads in formats that are engaging and useful to users as they are scrolling the internet. Whether they be standard display banners seen on your desktop and mobile devices, or high impact, splashier formats, display ad units can help with the efficiency and efficacy of digital marketing campaigns.

Driving Brand Awareness

One of the great things about display advertising is the variety of formats that can be served. Gone are the days of just the medium rectangle (300×250) and skyscrapers (160×600) that appear next to articles. Creative companies and SSPs have developed formats that are more engaging and draw users to them, increasing time spent and overall sentiment with brands. Combined with low CPMs and audience targeting, display ads are helping brands grow relevance with users who they want to be interacting with, garnering new customers along the way.

Efficient CPMs 

Because of the wide variety of display formats available, the CPMs at which display ads are transacted stay low and efficient. Unlike other channels such as CTV and newly emerging Digital Out-of-Home, where inventory is limited, display ads can bring down a client’s effective CPM because of the wide breadth of inventory display ads can serve on. Display formats can be served across the open web, within private marketplace and in programmatic guaranteed deals, where inventory can be even more curated to your client’s needs. Adding further to efficiencies, you can use tools to bid most efficiently on inventory.  DSPs like The Trade Desk utilize their Koa AI, “[analyzing] historical clearing prices across-first price auction environments to choose the optimal bid for each impression, [reducing] wasted spend.” 

Additionally, because of these single-digit display CPMs, the volume of impressions greatly increases, thereby allowing more potential customers to see a brand’s ads.

Informing More Targeted Strategies

The beauty of display ads is how they can inform more targeted strategies lower in the funnel. Depending on how a user has interacted with a display ad, brands can create retargeting buckets to personalize the conversion process further down the funnel.  For example, click retargeting pools can be created from all impressions where clicks were recorded. DSPs can then retarget these hand raisers with more powerful brand messaging to drive those users back to the site to complete their intended action. Moreover, once a user clicks through and spends time on a brand’s site searching for a red pair of sneakers, but doesn’t complete the purchase, the brand can create a site retargeting pool. The marketer can re-engage those who have abandoned their shopping cart with a display banner with those exact red sneakers, with the goal to get them to complete said purchase.  These audiences are powerful and show prior engagement with a brand’s ad and/or website, which will ultimately help drive new business and ROI.

Display advertising should be a part of a brand’s overall marketing strategy, and, combined into a full-funnel marketing approach, will help to grow their customer base exponentially.