What Is a Display Ad? (With Definition, Types, and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Brand recognition often relies on the advertising medium. Businesses may increase their consumer base through several promotional methods, including display advertisements. Knowing what these ads are and the benefits they can provide may help you develop strategic advertising campaigns. In this article, we explain what a display ad is, list the various types, discuss the benefits and challenges of using these ads, offer tips for creating them, and discuss essential skills for digital marketers.

What is a display ad?

A display ad is a type of online advertisement that uses text, photos, and website links to bring visitors to a landing page where they can learn more about a product. Many marketing professionals place digital advertisements on third-party websites or on social media platforms to connect with consumers. When implemented strategically, these advertisements can assist companies in accomplishing the following:

  • Greater brand awareness and visibility

  • Increased sales and revenue

  • More leads

  • An increased return on marketing investment

Related: What Does a Digital Marketer Do? Everything You Need to Know

Types of ads

While display ads refer to any visual advertisement on a website, you can classify them according to their target audience and how they function. The following are some types of advertisements:

Retargeting ads

Retargeting advertisements are ads that businesses and organizations customize to their customer's interests and requirements. These kinds of ads typically rely on data about a customer's prior purchases, clicks, and preferences. An effective remarketing strategy aids in ensuring particular brands retain their current customers.

Personalized ads

Personalized advertisements match a customer's demographics and online interests. The following are the four types of personalized advertisements:

  • Affinity targeting: Affinity targeting helps you connect with clients who are actively interested in your market. Due to the wide nature of these consumer affinity groups, this method of advertising allows you to reach a broad demographic.

  • Customer affinity groups: Marketers direct these advertisements at smaller affinity groups with more specialized interests. Despite their smaller reach, they enable you to reach out to individuals with a specific interest, which can improve the likelihood of converting purchases within the group.

  • Custom intent and in-market ads: Companies often place these ads in front of people who are actively seeking a product or service comparable to theirs. While custom intent and in-market advertisements can have a smaller audience than affinity group and customer affinity group ads, they often enable you to target audiences who are close to making a purchase.

  • Similar audience ads: Similar audience advertising targets online individuals who share your existing visitors' interests. These advertisements simply help you identify more clients interested in making a purchase based on their similarity to your present customers.

Contextually targeted ads

A contextually targeted ad appears on a website that contains material relevant to the ad's nature. A contextually targeted ad often appears on a website based on the following criteria:

  • The visitors' profile

  • Keywords and ad topic

  • Location

  • Language preferences

  • The major theme of the host website

  • Recent visitors' browsing history

Site-placed ads

Marketers can use site-placed ads on websites that they select. Brands often choose whether they place these ads on entire sites or on a few pages of the site. Marketers can also combine site-placed ads with contextual targeting.

Benefits of these ads

Display ads offer businesses a range of benefits. Understanding their advantages can assist you in deciding whether to include them in your advertising process. The following are the primary benefits of display advertising:

Create brand awareness

Brand awareness is when consumers develop an emotional attachment to a product or business. Placing advertisements often allows consumers interested in your goods or services to become more familiar with the brand. Increased brand recognition may increase sales, depending on how persuasive the advertisement is.

Offer effective visual messages

These advertisements often use more images than text. Images can increase the effectiveness of the advertisement by conveying brand messaging to potential buyers who are too busy to read lengthy material. Additionally, these advertisements can make an impression on online visitors even if they look at them without interacting.

Are simple to create and install

These advertisements are generally inexpensive to create and display. Unlike other forms of digital advertising, these advertisements can work without a strong connection to host sites. They might also appear without much knowledge of websites that are part of the publisher's network. As a result, small organizations with a limited advertising budget or a shortage of technical knowledge can still use these advertisements.

Attract consumers at all stages

These advertisements can reach clients at various phases of the decision-making process. They can follow consumers from the awareness stage to the moment of purchase via improved targeting and customization. For instance, if a buyer expresses an interest in a product, these advertisements may target them as if they expressed limited interest.

Provide excellent value

Because display aids can reach a large audience, businesses often earn a high return on their investment. These advertisements can go beyond conventional advertising by targeting a global audience while remaining unobtrusive. By customizing these advertisements, companies can increase consumer interest in their items and, as a result, improve sales as more consumers make purchases.

Related: Top 5 Marketing Fields to Explore For a Successful Career

Challenges of these ads

While these kinds of advertisements provide several benefits for organizations, they also have some challenges. Recognizing these factors may assist you in determining if they're right for your situation. The following are some complications that may arise from this advertising:


These ads may be intrusive when it comes to a web visitor's activity. Intrusive ads can interfere with the user experience, which may cause visitors to leave the site or use ad-blocking features. Brands can avoid these scenarios by crafting more appealing ads or through personalized targeting. Both factors may give the user a reason to stay on the site and see the ad's message.


Effective ads are usually concise. As a result, companies often try to balance brief language with highlighting the positives of the brand. To prevent any limitations to the brand, a company may want to lead viewers to more detailed content where they can learn more about their products and services.

Low conversion rates

These ads typically have lower click-through rates compared to other forms of online advertising. A lower click-through rate can result in lower conversion rates. To avoid this, brands often use these ads as a component of a long-term marketing strategy by obtaining customer interest early on and engaging them at a deeper level later.

Tips for an effective ad

Here are some tips to make your ads more effective when promoting a brand and increasing conversions:

  • Choose the best platform: Consider which platform can help your ad stand out. When the ad stands out, it often increases the likelihood of gaining a prospective customer's attention.

  • Use contrasting colours: You can choose an ad colour scheme that contrasts with the publisher's website background. This helps ensure your ad remains visible on the site.

  • Segment your audience: It may help to use audience segmentation to design ads that resonate with every member of your audience.

  • Leverage emotional triggers: You can use emotional triggers such as happiness, surprise, sadness, and anger to reach your audience and help them connect with your ad.

General digital marketing skills

Here are some digital skills that can help you design an ad:

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a technique for optimizing digital material so that it appears higher in search results based on the use of certain subjects or keywords. This expertise is beneficial in the digital media sector since companies and organizations often use SEO strategies to attract visitors to their websites and sell goods or services. Approaches to SEO often include performing market research, reviewing website content, and conducting keyword research to create strategies for optimizing online content for search engines.

Related: How to Become an SEO Expert (With Salary and Job Outlook)


Digital marketing professionals often use copywriting skills to develop accurate, compelling, and error-free content for various media platforms. In this role, you may compose site material, create captions for social media posts, or generate SEO-friendly copy. Skills in digital media may assist you in developing consistent copywriting that represents brand language to market items and establishing consumer trust via brand association.

Research and data analysis

Marketing specialists examine data to determine the efficacy of digital initiatives and to optimize their marketing strategies. Data analysis and research abilities are often advantageous for a variety of operations, including the collection and evaluation of customer satisfaction data. These abilities may help you develop proper interpretations and conclusions concerning data outcomes.

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