The 4 Best Ways to Approach Display Advertising

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Display advertising has had a bad rap in the past. And there’s a very good reason… it USED to suck.

Display advertising (or ‘banner advertising’ as it was called back then) was hit and miss, even at the best of times. Often the ad would be aimed at the wrong people or be placed in the wrong spot and would struggle to bring a decent return on your investment.

However… that was then…

So rejoice! Display advertising has come a long way, and it’s now a really targeted way of getting in front of your ideal customer (FINALLY)!

Indeed… it seems that the humble banner advert has made a bit of a renaissance in the last few years. Mainly because, whereas banner and display adverts had significant drawbacks in the past, they have now been overcome thanks to a lot of the modern systems that have now been put in place.

In other words, there are ways of getting banners in front of the right people, at the right time and in the right place. I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite ways to advertise now!

So if you want to give display advertising a crack… now is the time to do it. And below are the four key ways to go about it:

1) Reverse marketing research

Reverse marketing is a very simple process. Basically, go to Google and pretend to be YOUR ideal customer. What would your customer search for? What is it that they are looking at?

By searching for certain keywords, you will find the search results that your customer will also find. Go to these results and see if that page offers any banner advertising.

E.g. Let’s say you run a website that sells birthday gifts to 18 year olds. Go to Google and search “18th birthday gift ideas”. The results you will see are what YOUR customers will likely also see, and in turn show you exactly where to place your advertisements.

Why does it rock?!

It’s a really useful way to start out if your display advertising if you’re low on funds or if you want to target people who are in the early stages of the buying decision process.  On the flip side though, doing this research and setting up individual arrangements for your banner adverts can be VERY time consuming.

Where should I go?
Where else? Google of course! And once you find the pages you want to advertise on simplylook for their “advertise” link on their site. If all else fails, simply send the site owner an email.

2) Google Adword Display

Well this is definitely one of the main reasons why display advertising has gotten so much better in the last few years. Google has made banner advertising more affordable and more targeted than ever before, by running a network of banners across thousands of websites.

Google’s Adword Display Network works on the premise of showing your adverts on pages where a specific keywords appear.

E.g. So let’s say you are a selling artist supplies, you could have your display adverts appear on sites where the word “Picasso”, “paint brushes” or “modern art” appear. Good huh?

Why does it rock?!
It rocks because it is very targeted, and Google Adword Display gives you an unprecedented amount of control over your budget. It’s comes with a banner builder, so you don’t even need any graphic design skills to get your adverts up and running.

However it does have one major drawback. Because the adverts will appear on pages with certain keywords, you lose a degree of control as to where they go.

So, if you are someone who sells art supplies and you targeted the word “paint”, your advert may also appear on a random blog which uses the word “paint” in the wrong content. E.g. “… this show is so boring it’s like watching paint dry.” So be VERY selective with your keywords!

Where should I go?
Google have put together a awesome little video which gives you a good introduction to Google Display Advertising right here.


If you go down the ‘reverse marketing route’ you will probably notice that the majority of the websites you stumble across manage their advertising space with a network called

So if you don’t have the time to do full on research, you can use as a shortcut to find  sites relevant to your website’s field of interest. Simply go to, use the search field to find your industry, and see who’s offering ad space.

E.g. So let’s say you have a blog aimed at joggers, and want to get display ads onto various health and fitness sites. Search for “health” in buysellad’s and see what’s available.

Why does it rock?!
Because it’s a MASSIVE time saver, and you can also get prices right there and then instead of having to contact the site owner and await an answer. And if a ad isn’t available, you can place yourself on a waiting list.

But be careful! Make sure you check EVERY website you want to advertise on to see if (a) the content is appropriate for your customers and (b) to make sure you get strong visible advert that will actually convert. There is nothing worse than spending $500 on an advert only to see it wedged at the very bottom right hand corner of the site where no one is looking.

4) Retargeter banner ads

Retargeter Banner Ads are some of the best converting display ads you can get, and with good reason. They only appear to people who have already visited your site. That’s right… now there are display ads that actively hunt you down and pop up in the most unlikely of places!

Basically, when you visit a website, the retargeter software will make a note of where you have been, and then ‘remind you’ of that website by showing a banner adverts on other sites. So if your customer forgot to buy something from you, or is still on the fence, Retargeter Banner Ads are a great way to tempt them back and finish the job.

E.g. Let’s say a customer comes to your site, but decides at the last second not to buy your product. They leave your site. A few days later, they go to an unrelated website, see a banner from you with a discount code, and BANG, they come back to finish the purchase.

Why does it rock?!
Because it gives YOU a second chance. If a customer leaves your site, now you have the means to remind them of what makes you so great, or even to get a unique offer in front of their nose.

It’s not for everyone though, because it will ONLY attract people who have already been to your site before. So if you’re looking for truly new and fresh customers, this isn’t for you.

Where should I go?
There are a couple of companies that can help you setup your retargeter ads. Currently we’re looking into Adroll and and both have a lot to offer.

A few final tips to get the most out of your display adverts.

Of course, there’s no point in slaving away on your banner ads and pouring money into it if ultimately you don’t see the increase in business you deserve.

  • Make sure you have an awesome landing page!
    Don’t just send your new customer to any old page. Remember… they are your new best friend. Instead craft a landing page that is relevant and in line with your banner. That way they’re more likely to stay and buy from you.
  • Watch out for small and badly placed ads.
    Before you commit to a display advert, make sure you know EXACTLY where it is going. Getting your banner on a website with billions of visitors is great, but if they place your ad somewhere hidden, those billions arn’t going to see it anyway.
  • Finally… always test your adverts.
    Come up with several different ideas for your banners and try them one by one. Don’t go spending tens of thousands of dollars, on hundreds of websites, if you don’t know how well that banner is going to work. Launch your banner in a few select places, see if it brings in the new business. Then if it does… GO NUTS!

So remember… display ads have come a long way, with solutions popping up for a variety of budgets and purposes. But if you have any further questions on banner advertising…drop me a question below in the comments section, and I’ll be sure to help!

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