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How to Drive Purchases with Online Display Ads

November 06, 2015
How to Drive Purchases with Online Display Ads

The popularity of online display advertising has grown since the first ad was served on HotWired.com in 1994. In keeping with technology, the format of these ads has evolved to include many other sizes, formats, and content options, such as rich media and video. However, user behavior has changed with the times and, whereas web surfers were once intrigued by these ads, they more often than not find them to be less of a useful resource and more of a distraction.

Click-through-rates have always been the goal and measurement of success of an online display ad but advertisers are beginning to realize that the performance of an online display ad is more important than just clicks. Advertisers now realize that a display ad needs to reach the right person with the right mindset.

Industry studies have found that display ads are more likely to influence people when they are searching online for more information about a product as opposed to when they are exposed to something they have not yet considered. In addition, online display ads are better able to influence people as they come closer to making a purchase decision and taking action with regard to an ad because it was relevant to a want or need.

What this means for advertisers is that online display ads need to reach people who have not yet thought about your product or service. Data gathered on those who have already made purchases from your company can determine other target audiences with similar characteristics and interests. Trust and recognition are built with multiple exposures to your brand and can eventually lead to actions further along in the buying cycle.

This requires that you know and understand as much as possible about your target audience. The more you know about who you are trying to reach, the more likely you will be able to reach them at the times when they will be most responsive to your advertising messages. In addition, your messages need to be creative and different that will speak to their needs depending on their stage in the buying cycle.

Online display ads will have the most influence over people when they are researching information about something they want to buy or are ready to buy. Consequently, ads need to be relevant to the need of the purchaser at that given time and personalized to their want or will have little to no influence, regardless of their location on a web page.

Finally, in today’s advertising climate, click-through-rates are no longer the primary indication of the impact of an ad on the attitude of consumers or whether a sale will be made. In order to track the full value of display advertising, conversion results must include both post-click and post-view conversions.

View-ability is a metric that may now be more meaningful for advertisers. Although this is a challenging metric to measure accurately, quite often ads can be seen and noticed by consumers and not capture a click. Just being able to see an ad can help to build brand awareness among consumers.

With display advertising campaigns running on many channels, in order to be successful with them, advertisers need to have as much information on potential customers as possible as well as all the touchpoints they have with their company and brand along the way in their purchasing process.

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