Everything you need to know about display marketing
Every time you open your browser you see them – adverts promoting the latest gadget, holiday or job. Often they are targeted specifically to you, based on what you’ve searched for previously, your age, the kinds of sites you visit and even your location.

There is a good reason why you’re seeing them – put simply, display ads work really well.

Digital ads can be targeted very precisely, which differentiates them from traditional media; in comparison, mediums such as print and broadcast by their nature address a much broader audience.

“Display advertising plays an important role in building our brand,” says Alan Chapman, Senior Director at recruitment company Robert Half.

“It lets us reach new audiences and re-engage with existing ones, making it a key part of our marketing toolkit alongside email, social media and SEO marketing.”

Anshu Arora, Head of Digital Marketing at SEEK explains how display advertising can be cost effective. “The beauty with digital marketing is that you can measure everything, from the number of people who see the ad, how many click on it, to finding out what they were looking at when they saw it, and what they did next – whether it was respond, find out more information or move on.

“That information lets you fine-tune your advertising to get exactly the result you want. Not only before you start advertising, but while the campaign is underway.”

Companies such as Expedia and TripAdvisor have turned this into a fine art. Like others, they collect information from searches and clicks to serve up relevant advertising. But they go further – they use the information to tailor offers, and can stop advertising to an individual if they haven’t responded to an advert after it has been served up a couple of times. That allows them to spend their marketing dollars on people who are more likely to convert.

Chapman notes that display advertising isn’t just fire-and-forget. “Preparation is vital. Think about what it is that you're trying to achieve – whether it is creating brand awareness, or sales.

“You must be clear about who you want to target with your advertising. A good place to start is taking a close look at existing customers. What elements or behaviours can you use to target people that are similar to them?

“Then, when you’ve got all that in place you need to test your creative and media channels regularly.

“You do that by tagging your channels and assets. For example, if you’re using Google AdWords, SEO, display advertising and email, tagging will let you measure each separately, and see how they perform together. That lets you tailor your current and future campaigns by adjusting the kind of adverts you use in a particular channel, and spend more on the ones that works best to reach the audience you want.”

One concern advertisers have is where their adverts are appearing. Rhys Williams, Head of Media Technology Solutions, Google AU/NZ says it is something that advertising networks and technology companies are focused on. “The number of ads served is measured in impressions however, not all ads served are viewed and the number of viewed impressions is usually expressed as a viewability rate.”

“Viewability is a hot topic at the moment, with publishers, advertising networks and technology companies, all working toward better measurement and improving viewability rates.”

Williams has a set of simple steps for you to follow if you’re ready to increase your brand and win new customers:

Organisation. Ensure you have clear campaign goals (driving conversions, reach, awareness), and that you have a clearly defined audience and a clearly defined budget. For example, in the context of display advertising on SEEK, conversions would equal applications and also work on raising awareness of your employer brand.

Execution. Use unified platforms (such as AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager) to plan, target and measure. Using programmatic buying is efficient as it lets you evaluate each impression in real time, making it powerful for reach and remarketing.

Creative. Create engaging, compelling ads that have a clear message. Use dynamic creative to match the creative messaging to the sites and target audiences. Design for the best user experience across devices including mobile.

Measurement. Measure everything you buy, and only buy what you can measure. Ensure your site or mobile app is properly set up with tagging and site analytics.

Optimisation. Once your campaign is live, you must be prepared to optimise. Watch the results in real time and be ready to move spend from one channel to another, adjusting creative if needed.

Most importantly, be prepared to launch, iterate and launch again. Every campaign is a learning experience, and there is often room for improvement each time.

Each time you do it awareness will grow, and potentially your customer base, employer brand and candidate pool with it.