Top Display Advertising Trends to Know in 2018

  • 3 July 2017
  • Dane Cobain

Display advertising is one of the oldest forms of advertising on the internet, and the industry has been increasingly under threat from ad-blocking technology and newer advertising formats.

But despite that, display ads are still a popular choice, especially because of the ability to target people by interest, to reach them on the websites that they’re already visiting and to launch remarketing campaigns.

The truth is that display advertising is no longer an efficient strategy in its own right. But it does still have a huge amount of value when coupled with other technologies – such as remarketing and programmatic – or when deployed as part of a larger, more integrated campaign.

Here are five of the main trends that are dominating the industry in 2018.

Trend #1: Display Becomes the New Search

In the United States in 2016, digital display advertising spend surpassed search spend for the first time in history. This signals a change in the way that marketers are allocating their budgets and a new era in which display advertising becomes just as important as search advertising for digital marketers.

Part of the reason for this can be attributed to the increased saturation of other marketing outlets. As most forms of online advertising rely on PPC or CPM approaches, the cost of advertisements increases in line with the number of advertisers.

Display advertising was traditionally seen as a tool for increasing brand awareness, rather than for generating sales and a direct ROI, but more and more marketers are turning to display advertisements to offer an additional edge to their marketing campaigns. This is particularly the case for ee-commerce stores, who find that remarketing through display ads can help them to close more sales without breaking the bank.

Trend #2: Context Rules

In the past, display advertisers have largely rotated through the same sets of ads. They aimed for context where possibly by honing in on users’ interests and browsing history, but they failed to take full advantage of what display ads have to offer.

In 2017, it’s likely that marketers will continue to focus on the context of their ads, as well as their actual content. For example, if a large sporting event is happening then the ads can be updated in real-time to reflect the score. The same thing could happen during a fashion show or on the night of a major awards ceremony.

Gary Vaynerchuk once said that while content is king, context is god. Boosting display ads by making them contextual and relevant will help to improve overall metrics while cutting through the noise and making an impact on the minds of consumers.

Trend #3: Data Wins

Data has always been important, but thanks to the development of big data solutions and the high-powered tools we now have available to us, marketers are going to need data more than ever before.

The big challenge for marketers is to unify all of this data within a single system, which is why more and more people are opting for CRM solutions and marketing automation. When it comes to display advertising, marketers will be able to cross-promote products and interact with customers in new and exciting ways.

This all comes back to the recurring theme in this article – display advertising works best when it’s coupled with other types of communication. Data is what will make this possible, and it’s also what will help you to monitor overall performance. Never underestimate the power of data.

Trend #4: More Creativity

As digital advertising evolves, so do the possibilities. In 2017 and beyond, we’re likely to see developers and creatives finding newer ways to make display ads stand out, especially thanks to promising new ad formats and the diversification of devices.

Banner ads are no longer about stopping a consumer in their tracks and trying to brainwash them into buying something. This older approach harks back to the early days of advertising when people would create billboards and try to sell their product with a clever line of copy.

But display advertising has the potential to be something different, and we’re already witnessing a shift towards this in the way that advertisements are displayed. The best display ads aren’t intrusive at all – thanks to their creativity, they actually add something to the overall user experience.

Trend #5: Better Metrics and Measurement

Measurement has always been important for banner advertising. After all, advertisers typically pay per click or per thousand impressions, and something needs to be used to determine whether it’s successful or not.

But these older style measurements are vanity metrics at best, and even click-through rate will only tell you so much. That’s why more and more advertisers are using integrated tracking codes so that they can see exactly what people do after clicking one of their banners.

This allows them to reprioritize their banner advertisements and to stop treating them as a generic ‘branding’ tool that swallows money with no indication of its actual performance. Instead, the prevailing trend for 2017 and beyond is to focus instead on conversion metrics – such as user signups or purchases made. Only then can the budget be increased or decreased with any degree of certainty.

What’s Next?

Display advertising often has a bad rep amongst digital marketers, but the data doesn’t lie and many companies are still seeing high returns from their display campaigns. And, while it’s rare to see a company succeed through display advertising alone, it’s clear that it’s an important piece in the jigsaw when it comes to creating a true omnichannel experience.

Don’t dismiss display too quickly. Instead, test ads on a case by case basis and let the metrics decide for you. Display is just like any other advertising channel – if you use it well, the results will speak for themselves. And if it doesn’t work out…well, you can always shift your budget elsewhere.

About Dane Cobain