A variety of Google display ads will offer new experiences and keep your audience engaged.

google display ads

When display ads first appeared, they were a novelty. Nearly 30 years later, they are the foundation of digital advertising. While their purposes remain the same — to build brand awareness, drive web traffic and convert clicks to sales — they’ve come a long way.

That first static, 468-by-60-pixel deep display ad has paved the way for a diverse range of formats and styles, all designed to capture the attention of potential customers. This was a much easier task in 1994 when Wired magazine launched the first display ad. Back then the internet was new and there was far less noise online. Today, it’s necessary to incorporate a variety of ads in a display campaign to generate interest.

Here’s what you need to know about display ads to get the most out of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns:

  1. What are display ads
  2. What are the benefits of Google display ads
  3. Top performing display ads and how to use them in your Google campaign

What are display ads?

Display ads (also called banner ads) are the most popular form of display advertising. These ads share a few key characteristics:

  • They are image-based and feature embedded graphics as well as text.
  • Can be static or animated.
  • They appear in designated spots (across the top, bottom or sides) of a web page or social media platform.
  • They include a URL that leads to the advertiser’s website, landing or product page, where consumers can learn more and/or make a purchase.

What are the benefits of Google display ads?

Google display ads offer one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness. That’s because they appear across the Google Display Network, which is part of Google’s advertising platform. The network reaches 90 per cent of all internet users around the world, across millions of websites, blogs, forums and Google-owned properties, such as Gmail and YouTube.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of Google display ads:

  • Variety: You can choose the style and ad format that will most resonate with your target audience.
  • Reach: Google Display Network is made up of some 2 million sites, many of which are AdSense sites. These websites have agreed to receive and display relevant ads from Google as part of Google’s AdSense program and are paid when visitors click on them.
  • High-intent targeting: The Google Display Network allows you to target strategically and reach the right people at the right time. For example, you can use the audiences targeting option to place ads in front of people that are most likely to buy. Automated targeting uses your existing audiences and landing page to drive conversions.
  • Insights: Google Ads will show you which ads deliver the most clicks and which websites give you the best return on investment.

How to get noticed using Google display ads

With many options to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right mix. We’ve compiled a list of the top-performing display ads that will help you get the most out of your Google display ad campaign.

1. Traditional/standard

These are what got digital advertising started. They are static, image-based and come in half-page, small and large rectangular, and leaderboard sizes. They can also be optimized for mobile. There are no bells and whistles, such as audio and video.

2. Animated

Animation is used to create movement and increase the likelihood of capturing your target audience’s attention. These ads are often combined with audio and provide the ability to tell a story using your brand’s unique voice.

3. Interactive

Interactive display ads have embedded features that allow users to test your mobile app (e.g., playable ads), fill out a form, respond to a survey or somehow interact with your brand.

4. Video

The use of videos in advertising has never been more popular. For users, they are informative, fun and shareable on any device. For marketers, they are affordable and flexible, and drive better engagement. The latest research shows 85 per cent of businesses already use video as an advertising tool, and 92 per cent of marketers have made it an important part of their marketing strategy. Video display ads are distributed on YouTube, display ad networks, Netflix and social ad networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Fast facts: 75 per cent of U.S. consumers use social media to watch video regularly. On Facebook alone, there are 8 billion video views every day.

5. Rich media/expandable

Rich media display ads (also known as expandable display ads) start small on a page, but when users interact with them, they expand and can double or triple in size. Some expandable ads are programmed to grow when a page loads. They are not a go-to choice for marketers, but that seems to be changing. Their novelty makes them more interesting to users who tend to ignore standard banner ads — a behaviour known as banner blindness.

6. Native

Native display ads don’t look like ads. Instead, they appear in the same style as non-sponsored content on a website. They are typically presented as promoted or recommended content.

7. Interstitial Ads

Google describes these mobile display ads as full-screen advertisements that cover the interface of a host application. They are commonly used in mobile games and appear during transitions from one level of gameplay to the next. This type of ad is one of the top ways to monetize mobile games.

8. 360-Degree

These display ads are favoured by users and brands alike because they encourage engagement. The 360-degree video allows a mobile user to feel as though they are in a virtual reality environment as they rotate their phones. A desktop user can move through the video with their mouse.

During a time when online shoppers are being pulled in multiple directions, the variety of display ads now available helps capture attention. Designing your PPC campaign with different display ad formats is an important way to engage consumers and convert clicks into sales.