Display advertising. It’s a powerful form of digital marketing because it is integrates marketing and creative–a whole lot of creative. But let’s first talk about what the competition is like in display.

It’s slightly different than paid search because while it requires fierce optimization tactics, it’s all about the latest and greatest thing and not necessarily which ad has the better product or deal. In other words, the competition is any display ad that is “cooler” than yours. In fact, getting a user to interact with anything other than a click is downright impressive; that means that they not only saw the ad but they are likely to remember the brand. So let’s talk tactics:


You want to make sure your strategy aligns with remarketing. For e-commerce brands, it may make sense for them to remarket a customer who abandoned their cart (ie: didn’t go through with the purchase) with banner ads displaying the items that were in their cart. With data that is less revealing about consumer intent (non e-Commerce), it’s still important to remarket based on actions taken and not taken on the site, but creative has to be more generic. The only issue with remarketing is the brand runs the risk of the user feeling a little “exposed” when the site is able to recall what he or she almost purchased. Many users are savvy to this tactic, too, which may lessen the feelings of exposure.

Search remarketing can also be used to target users through display networks who have searched for your product or competitor brand terms. By doing this, you can not only target a relevant audience but also your competitor’s audience/customers with your message and product–which has its obvious benefits. Most importantly, it can help push prospects down the funnel and consider your product over competitor’s product. The diagram further explains how display targeting corresponds to the sales funnel and consumer journey.


Like I write in practically every series post on beating the competition, it’s imperative to remember that measurement is at the root of all data-driven decisions. Measuring success beyond the click-through rate seems like a no-brainer these days, but a lot of advertisers still deem this to be the main performance indicator of a display campaign because it’s all about creative. Going past that, you reach on-site conversions, return on ad spend, return on investment and attribute each to a piece of creative. A successful display campaign can report on all four things.


Content is king is not just true of SEO, social or paid search. It also applies in display marketing. As video becomes more important, it is paramount that the content is compelling. In fact, MediaMind reports that the click-through rate of online video is 27.4 times that of a standard banner ad. If you want to capitalize on this, your video must not only be informative, but entertaining.

These are just a few high-level tactics to help you beat the competition in display advertising. Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments!