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It’s been almost 26 years since the first display ad flashed across a screen. If the topic seems overdone to you, then you’re mistaken. Display advertising is an old kin of online marketing, but it’s  not at all like it used to be. 

In a post-cookie world, display advertising must be fast changing to keep up with  innovations and creative resurgence. Ask marketers who know their game, and they will tell you that display advertising is here to stay and flourish. 

Display Ads vs Native Ads

This has been an ongoing  debate for a long time. Many marketers believe that native ads are an end to display advertising. Others believe that the old banner ad is a better way to garner attention. 

Native ads — as the name suggests — are native to a publisher’s environment. Unlike, display advertising which stands out, the ad content for native ads tends to blend in with its  surrounding content.

Native ads are non-intrusive and therefore effective when you want to educate your customers. But, when the objective is to build brand awareness or to retarget customers display ads win the game hands-down 

Display Advertising: Then & Now

The first display ad appeared on the internet on October 24, 1994. This is what the ad looked like:

Display Ad

This ad was a promotion for  AT&T internet. One  look at this display ad and it’s clear that  things have progressed for this channel of online marketing in the last 26 years. 

Time and again, you’ve probably witnessed many people write off display ads as part of their  marketing strategy. Especially since the online marketers best friend – third party cookies — bid us a goodbye. The AdTech world thought that was the final nail in the coffin for display and native advertising.

But statistics, talk otherwise. A user in the US sees an average of 63 display ads in a day and the digital ad spends are only rising year-over-year. So why are so many people questioning the future of display advertising? Let’s find out!

The Future of Display Advertising

What is the future of this channel of advertising? Is it dead? Google’s Display Network is the largest in the world, with 90% reach across all internet users. In fact, if you target well, your ads could appear across 2 million+ websites and 650,000+ mobile apps. That’s a lot of exposure! 

Of course, this comes with its own challenges or should we call them opportunities?

Ad Blockers: Are They the Real Enemies?

Not according to Hubspot! A report by Hubspot claims  that most people block display ads because they are annoying or intrusive. So it’s actually not the ad blockers, but bad ads that  are the real enemies.

Do Low Click Through Rates Mean an End to  Display Advertising?

The question has changed in recent times. Once upon a time, display advertising boosted  CTR as high as 44%. But in recent years, the objective of this mode has changed. Now, it’s considered  a brand tool, which is why a better measure of effectiveness would be impressions and reach. So if generating brand awareness — communicating your brand messaging — is your objective then use the right metrics to measure it. 

Why Should You Include Display Advertising In Your Marketing Mix?

Many would vouch for the effectiveness of display ads for creating brand awareness and, subsequently, getting clicks and conversions from people who might not be aware of your brand. The secret sauce is knowing the right users and targeting them at the right time and on the right website.

In the post-third party cookie world, many marketers are proving their metal by experimenting with contextual advertising and people-based targeting. Moreover, with the rise in consumption of mobile and video based content, display advertising helps make the most of newly evolving programmatic environments.

Learn How Display Advertising Works

If you want to know more about this powerful marketing tool works, how it is bought and sold (including in a programmatic environment), and how to set up a display advertising campaign using Google Ads, then check out our Digital Marketing Nanodegree program

The program comes with an in-depth module on display ads and a hands-on project in which you will evaluate a display advertising campaign on the basis of the targeting strategy, creative used, and the results of the campaign. Plus, you’ll provide recommendations on how to improve the campaign. 

Ritika Pradhan
Ritika Pradhan
Ritika is the Content Manager at Udacity and is passionate about bringing inspirational student stories to light. When not talking to the amazing Udacity students, she can be found reading an article or watching a video on the internet.