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The Dos and Don’ts of Display Advertising

Madison Logic Team
August 25, 2016 4 MIN Blog

Yes, B2B marketers, you should be using display ads. They’re always there, insistent, ever-present, keeping the companies they promote top-of-mind. But what about the pundits who for the last several years have declared that “display is dead”? Simply put, they’re wrong.
According to Ad Age Datacenter, in 2015 the top 100 B2B advertisers spent $685 million on display ads. At the same time, an Econsultancy report reveals that, when B2B marketers rank how they’re allocating their budgets, display ties lead generation for third place, right below content marketing and paid search.
Why? Display seems to be working. New IAB Rising Star units are driving 3x the interaction rate and producing 29.5% higher brand lift than legacy units, while being perceived as less intrusive by users. What’s more, according to MarketingLand, we’re in a display ad renaissance; display is“on the cusp of achieving its mature form.” We at Madison Logic couldn’t agree more. With smart creative, and intelligent targeting, display is more effective than its death would have it.
Next time you plan a B2B campaign, be sure make display a part of it. Just make sure you do it right. Here are my do’s and don’ts.
Do: Define the Goals of the Campaign – It may seem simple, but many B2B marketers ignore this simple rule. For any campaign, solely using display answer these questions: Who is your target audience? What are their pain points? Do you want to raise awareness with your audience, or is it lead generation that you really seek? If it’s the former, display will be your best friend. If it’s the latter, display is not going to get you there.
Don’t: Make CTR Your Definitive Metric – Once you understand your goals, you’re going to need to know how to measure for success. Know this: Click Through Rates are not a definitive measure of success. When gauging the impact of display, measure the exposure time in a given set of accounts and then see how the lift in site visits from that account. If increases, your display campaign is working.
Do: Design a Custom Landing Page – Create a landing page that jibes with the same branding as your display ads. Imagery and language reassure the user that they’ve landed on the right page making it more likely that they’ll engage with the content on that page. Put a contact form on your landing page, provide content, give whoever comes to it a reason to give you their information.
Don’t: Point Users to a Generic Page – Often marketers will use display ads to simply push people to the home page of their websites. But what’s the point of that? You know you’re not going to get a lot of clicks, but you will get some clicks. And you want those to count.
Do: Have a Clear CTA – A call to action is essential. Display ads should require a user to do something. If you want a click, say so, clearly. Tell a user what to do, and what they might get if they do it. Click to watch a video, to schedule a demo, to watch a video. If you don’t tell a user what to do, they’ll probably do nothing.
Don’t: Cram to Much in Small Space – Most display ads are restrained to fixed sizes (eg. 300×250, 728×90, 300×600). Make your message clean and simple. Use short, pithy messaging and a clear call to action.
Do: Use Data to Target Audiences – Advertising that is served to the wrong audience is by its nature intrusive. Misdirected advertising is solely responsible for banner blindness. And if no one looks at an ad, it doesn’t exist. When you use data to target, you can identify prospects that have self-identified as interested in products like yours. And while they may not necessarily click, we’ve seen that well targeted ads show a 5x higher gaze duration and 4x higher ad recall, all of which is a boost for your brand.
Don’t: Limit Your Reach – B2B marketers looking to target their ideal audience will turn to the trades, niche publishers that address solely the vertical with which they’re concerned. But buying enough inventory at all the publications your prospects visit is increasingly time consuming and expensive. It’s increasingly viable to work through a publisher cooperative (like Madison Logic’s) that has can bundle multiple publishers into one campaign, increasing your reach while saving time and money.

To learn more about how display and lead generation can work powerfully together, download our Field Guide to the B2B Marketer.