GTM Dictionary

The Go-to-Market Dictionary: Display Advertising

Looking to master display advertising? Look no further than our comprehensive Go-to-Market Dictionary! Our expert guide covers everything from ad formats to targeting options, ensuring you have all the knowledge you need to launch successful display campaigns.

Display advertising is a popular form of online advertising that involves the use of visual ads on the web to promote a product, service or brand. It can be overwhelming for businesses new to digital marketing to understand and navigate. To help with that, this article will serve as a go-to-market dictionary on the topic of display advertising, exploring the definition, types, evolution, components, platforms, and tools to facilitate more informed decision-making and successful campaigns.

Understanding Display Advertising

Display advertising has become a popular way for businesses to reach out to potential customers and increase their online presence. By using banner or image ads on websites, businesses can engage and persuade potential customers to click through to a landing page and make a purchase.

While display advertising is a form of push marketing, where ads are shown to potential customers who may not have been actively searching for the product or service, it is still an effective way to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to a website. This differs from search advertising, where ads are displayed to users actively looking for specific keywords and phrases.

Types of Display Ads

There are various formats and sizes of display ads, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Banner ads are the most common type of display ad and are rectangular images that usually appear at the top or bottom of a webpage. They are a great way to grab the attention of potential customers without being too intrusive. Skyscraper ads are taller, thinner ads that run vertically on the side of a webpage. They are ideal for displaying more information and can be eye-catching due to their size. Interstitial ads appear before or after the content, while in-stream ads appear during video content. These types of ads can be more engaging and interactive, but can also be seen as more intrusive.

Key Metrics and Terminology

When it comes to display advertising, businesses need to be aware of key metrics and terms to measure the success of their campaigns. Impressions refer to the number of times an ad is displayed on a web page. Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who click on an ad after seeing it. Conversion rate measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase after clicking through from the ad. Other important terms include cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-impression (CPM), and ad targeting.

Ad targeting is an important aspect of display advertising as it ensures that ads are shown to the right audience. This can be based on various factors such as demographics, interests, and behaviors. By targeting the right audience, businesses can increase the chances of their ads being seen by potential customers who are more likely to make a purchase.

Overall, display advertising is a powerful tool for businesses to increase their online presence and reach out to potential customers. By understanding the different types of display ads and key metrics and terminology, businesses can create effective campaigns that drive traffic to their website and increase their revenue.

The Evolution of Display Advertising

Early Days of Online Advertising

Display advertising has come a long way since its early days. In the early days of online advertising, static banner ads were the norm. These ads were simple and lacked the interactivity and engagement that we see in today's display ads. However, they were a significant step forward from traditional print advertising, as they allowed advertisers to track clicks and impressions and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

As the internet evolved, so did display advertising. Rich media ads that used video, animation, and interactivity were introduced, providing a more engaging and immersive experience for users. However, these ads were often seen as intrusive and annoying to users who wanted to focus on the content they were viewing. As a result, ad-blockers were developed, and online advertisers had to find a more effective way of targeting users.

The Rise of Programmatic Advertising

The rise of programmatic advertising brought a more sophisticated approach to display advertising. Programmatic advertising uses data and algorithms to automate the buying, selling, and placement of display ads. This made it easier for advertisers to target their ads to specific audiences and improve ROI. Programmatic advertising also allowed for real-time bidding, where advertisers could bid on ad inventory in real-time based on the value of the user and the website. This led to more efficient and effective advertising campaigns.

Programmatic advertising has also made it possible for advertisers to track the performance of their ads in real-time. This means that they can quickly adjust their campaigns to optimize performance and improve ROI. As a result, programmatic advertising has become the preferred method of display advertising for many advertisers.

Current Trends and Future Outlook

Currently, there is a shift towards more contextual and native advertising, which aims to blend the ads into the content and make them less disruptive. Contextual advertising uses keywords and other contextual information to target ads to users based on their interests and behaviors. Native advertising uses sponsored content that mimics the look and feel of the website it appears on, making it more engaging and less intrusive.

Another current trend is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize ad performance and targeting. These technologies allow advertisers to analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that can be used to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Looking to the future, display advertising is expected to continue to evolve and become more personalized and engaging. Interactive ads, augmented reality, and virtual reality are all technologies that are expected to play a significant role in the future of display advertising. These technologies will allow advertisers to create more immersive and engaging experiences for users, leading to more effective and impactful advertising campaigns.

Components of a Successful Display Ad Campaign

Display advertising is a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience and increase brand awareness. However, a successful display ad campaign requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we will explore the key components of a successful display ad campaign.

Targeting and Segmentation

One of the most important components of a successful display ad campaign is targeting and segmentation. Advertisers should identify their target audience and segment them based on demographics, location, interests, and behaviors. This allows for more precise targeting and reduces wasted ad spend on audiences who are unlikely to convert.

For example, if a business is selling high-end sports equipment, they may want to target individuals who are interested in sports and have a high income. By targeting this specific audience, the business can increase the likelihood of conversions and reduce ad spend on individuals who are not interested in their products.

Ad Creatives and Formats

Another crucial component of a successful display ad campaign is the ad creatives and formats used. Ads should be visually appealing, easy to understand, and optimized for the device they are being viewed on. Advertisers should also consider using responsive ads that automatically adjust their size and format to fit the screen they are being displayed on.

It is important to note that different ad formats may perform better than others depending on the campaign goals and target audience. For example, video ads may be more effective for increasing brand awareness, while static image ads may be more effective for driving conversions.

Landing Pages and Conversion Optimization

Finally, landing pages and conversion optimization play a key role in the success of a display ad campaign. Ads should lead to a landing page that is relevant to the ad and optimized for conversion. This means having a clear call-to-action, minimal distractions, and a fast loading time. Advertisers should also track and analyze conversions to continuously optimize their landing pages.

For example, if a business is running a display ad campaign for a new product launch, they may want to create a dedicated landing page for the product with a clear call-to-action and product information. By optimizing the landing page for conversions, the business can increase the likelihood of conversions and maximize the return on investment of the ad campaign.

In conclusion, a successful display ad campaign requires careful planning and execution. By focusing on targeting and segmentation, ad creatives and formats, and landing pages and conversion optimization, businesses can increase the effectiveness of their display ad campaigns and achieve their marketing goals.

Display Advertising Platforms and Tools

Google Display Network

One of the most popular display advertising platforms is the Google Display Network (GDN). This platform allows advertisers to reach millions of users across multiple websites, apps, and video content with display ads. GDN also offers targeting options such as keywords, interests, demographics, and locations to reach the most relevant audiences.

In addition to these targeting options, GDN also offers a variety of ad formats, including responsive ads that automatically adjust to fit any ad space, image ads, and video ads. Advertisers can also use GDN to run retargeting campaigns, showing ads to users who have previously interacted with their website or other digital assets.

Another benefit of using GDN is the platform's extensive reporting and analytics capabilities. Advertisers can track the performance of their campaigns in real-time, and make adjustments to targeting and ad creative as needed to optimize their results.

Social Media Advertising Platforms

Social media advertising platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, also offer display advertising options. These platforms allow advertisers to target their ads based on user demographics, interests, behaviors, and location. Social media advertising offers the potential to reach highly engaged audiences, as users spend a significant amount of time on these platforms.

One advantage of social media advertising is the ability to use highly visual ad formats, such as image and video ads, to capture users' attention. Advertisers can also use social media platforms to run sponsored content campaigns, promoting their brand through organic-looking posts that appear in users' feeds.

Another benefit of social media advertising is the ability to use social proof to increase the effectiveness of ads. Advertisers can use social proof, such as user reviews or endorsements from influencers, to make their ads more compelling and trustworthy to users.

Third-Party Ad Exchanges and DSPs

Finally, third-party ad exchanges and demand-side platforms (DSPs) allow for real-time bidding and programmatic advertising. These platforms connect advertisers with a wide range of publishers, allowing for efficient and effective targeting of audiences. Advertisers can use these platforms to access large-scale, high-quality inventory and reach specific audiences based on their data and analytics.

One advantage of using third-party ad exchanges and DSPs is the ability to use data to optimize ad targeting and delivery. Advertisers can use data such as user behavior, location, and device type to deliver ads that are more relevant and effective. These platforms also allow for real-time bidding, meaning that advertisers can bid on ad space in real-time and adjust their bids based on performance data.

Overall, there are a variety of display advertising platforms and tools available to advertisers. By using a combination of these platforms and targeting options, advertisers can reach their desired audiences and drive results for their business.


Display advertising has come a long way since the early days of static banner ads. With the rise of programmatic advertising and the use of data and algorithms, display advertising has become more efficient and effective in reaching specific audiences. By targeting and segmenting audiences, using visually appealing ad creative and formats, and optimizing landing pages and conversions, businesses can run successful display ad campaigns. Using platforms such as the Google Display Network, social media advertising, and third-party ad exchanges and DSPs, businesses can access large-scale inventory and reach their target audiences more effectively than ever before.