Display Advertising Myth #2 – It doesn’t work

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Custom training

Who doesn’t like debunking myths? Here’s one myth I like to debunk when I teach and I always get a bunch of Ahhhs and Ohhhs when I do so. I thought I’d share another common display advertising myth with you here and now (I debunked how search isn’t better than display last time)

Display doesn’t work

This one gets thrown around a lot, but not as a myth – many people actually believe display is dead or simply doesn’t work. Many factors work in favor of display not performing well or its demise is imminent. Some of these include ad-blockers being on the rise, display viewability becoming a rising concern among advertisers, display ad fraud, but first and foremost is the reason this is a myth: lack of proper alignment of campaign objective, pricing model, ad format, ad environment and platform, targeting and messaging.

Proper marketing alignment

If you don’t perfectly line up all the pieces in your digital marketing plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. Of course display doesn’t work for you if you don’t align, or know how to align.

The table below shows the 5 dimensions of digital advertising – this is not limited to display.

5 dimensions paid media

What this chart is missing is aspects about the ad creative itself, whether it attracts attention, offers a message consumers are in a mindset to pay attention to on the environment they’re on and platform they are using.

Frequency matters

For display ads to work, and they do work, you further need to apply proper frequency capping which also depends on your campaign’s objective. For awareness campaigns that are broadly targeted, you want to achieve a frequency of 15 times per person against your audience at the most. Less than 6 and you cannot be certain your audience saw it enough times to actually pay attention to it and “get” your message. Over 17 times you can rest assured that you’ve gone too far. Your audience has had the time to get everything they can out of your message. All your brand is obtaining beyond this very high frequency is top of mind, which you can also obtain while running another ad creative another X times against your audience, while teaching them something new about your brand.

Display works!

Have you been doing display wrong? Have you not applied proper campaign frequency? Have you not aligned all possible variables to ensure success?

When you do cross all the Ts and dot all the Is, you will find display advertising actually does work – but again, this really all depends on your initial campaign objective.

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