Recent changes to the way in which display advertising campaigns are costed now means that marketers only pay for ads that are actually seen by individuals.

In the past, an impression was accounted for even if an ad was out-of-sight to a user on a webpage. Research suggests that over 56% of all display ads aren’t viewable because they’re either below the fold or out-of-view which means that, until now, wasted spend would have been incurred.

Following this upgrade, we’ve examined why display should be considered much more cost-effective than more traditional forms of advertising like TV, radio and print.

What makes display advertising so cost-effective?

Display advertising has always been cost-effective; the cost per thousand impressions format means you only pay for an ad when it is presented to an individual on a webpage. As you can probably tell from the name, you purchase ad impressions in the thousands - don’t be put off by this though, the costs for this can be minimal.

Up until recently, an impression was accounted for even if users couldn’t see an ad on a page. This may have been because the ad was placed below the fold, or simply located in an area out-of-sight for a user.

Upgrades to the Google Display Network (GDN) - a huge network of websites that partner with Google to show their ads - now mean that you don’t pay for an impression unless an ad is actually viewable by a user.

So it’s a great way of maximising budget spend?

Absolutely! You only pay each time your ad is seen by an individual, which means that you can keep track of how effectively budget is being used.

In our experience, you can achieve around 1,000 ad impressions at a cost of less than £5. That not only makes it more cost-effective than TV, radio and print but ensures your ads are only seen by people genuinely interested in your products or services.

How does it work?

Display ads are presented in the form of ‘banners’, which can come in a range of sizes and formats. They designed to showcase your business and entice users into clicking your ad – on doing so, they’ll be taken to a relevant area of your website.

Campaigns are setup to target individuals in a variety of methods, which can include keyword, demographic and location-based targeting. Further to this, you can actually select which websites from the GDN you want your ads to appear as on.

These sites may be relevant to your business activities or attract similar audiences that you’re looking to target, which makes them ideal locations for showing your ads.

So should I switch my advertising budget online?

There’s no getting away from the fact that TV, radio and print advertising have, and will continue to be, highly effective advertising channels.

But the ‘blanket-bomb’ approach that is applied means that you may be wasting budget on uninterested individuals that hold little value to your business.

Display advertising, in contrast, allows you to more closely target individuals that may have a genuine interest in your business or service.

Optimisation of your campaigns, based on the results of how users are engaging with your ads, allows for your strategy to be tweaked in real-time should areas of improvement be identified.

Finally, display advertising campaigns incur far less spend compared to TV and radio. This allows you to maximise budget in a much more cost-effective manner, while also maintaining full control of who sees your ads and where this happens.