Paid Ads

Resources That Make You Better at Setting Display Ads

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Krista Neher

Oct 04 2022

Display Ads

Display ads are ads that appear around content online. For example, if you are reading a news site and see ads around the content, those would be display ads.

These are purchased through ad networks and Google is one of the most popular ad networks.

How they are purchased:

Typically, you purchase them per impression, per viewable impression, or click.

These ads are sold based on a bidding system, so the actual price you pay is based on the supply and demand for the target audience that you want to reach.

Business Objectives:

Display ads can work for a variety of business objectives. They are most effective at building awareness since they typically appear around content.

If you choose to pay per click, display ads can be effective at driving traffic or conversions to your website.

When They Don’t Work:

Display ads may not be effective at equity or nurture type of objectives that require a more complex message or a more impactful impression.

Most display ads are viewed passively – they are around the content that someone is looking at. This means that people are not typically spending a lot of time viewing them.

If your message is complex or you want to build a specific brand impact, videos usually produce better results.


Display ad targeting is based on information that the ad server (for example Google) has about the audience, as well as the content that the ad appears on or around.

  • Demographics – Ads can be targeted based on the demographics of the viewer.
  • Interests and affinity – Ads can be purchased based on interests that people have or areas that they show an affinity for.
  • In-market – Ads can be targeted at people who are in the market or actively shopping for something specific.
  • Content – Ads can be targeted based on the content that they appear on or around. You can target a specific website– for example, fitness sites – or the content of the article – for example, a fitness article in the New York Times.

Content targeting can make sure that your audience is interested in or receptive to your ad. For example, I may be interested in fitness but if I’m reading a finance post, it isn’t relevant then. 

An ad can use multiple sets of targeting choices at once – for example, women between 30-50 who are interested in fitness and visiting a fitness website.


Display ads can take on a wide variety of formats, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau or IAB has created standards to ensure that ad formats are consistent across publishers.

Generally, display ads are images, rotating images, or videos and they can be created to be interactive and clickable.

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