9-Step Guide to Getting Started with Display

5 min

A successful display ad campaign is about more than the nuts and bolts setting the campaign’s parameters in Google Ads or any other advertising platform. All of these steps are important, of course, but they’re by and large an outcome of the effort your business makes to develop and implement a successful campaign strategy.

Even with a simple display advertising campaign, there are a lot of tough questions that need to be asked—especially if you want to meet or surpass your campaign goals. When you invest time and energy into the campaign planning process, you’re able to save yourself more work and stress in the future—and you can also avoid some of the simple mistakes that could cost your campaign valuable ROI.

Read on for our guidance on how to navigate this planning process.

1. Define the Top Goals for Your Display Ad Campaign

Every advertising campaign is motivated by a goal. Sometimes, the goal is simple: you’re a new business that needs to spread the word that you’re open. Other times, the goal is more complicated: you’re looking for a way to grow your customer base or your business revenue, and you’re hoping digital advertising can do the trick.

Whatever these reasons are, it’s important to articulate them at the start of planning any ad campaign. Write them down and make sure all decision-makers and stakeholders are aligned with these goals. This will make it easier to plan an ad campaign that delivers against those outcomes.

2. Identify the Audience or Audiences You Want to Target

As with your advertising goals, audience also matters for every campaign you create. But the makeup of this audience—including its location—may dictate where and how your display ads are delivered.

If your business is hoping to drive walk-in traffic to a store, for example, you’ll likely need display ads that can be delivered to mobile devices. If you’re trying to retarget existing customers and warm prospects with multiple ad touches, you’ll need an advertising platform that can help you reach that audience across a wide range of internet properties.

Take time to develop a clear understanding of this audience, including demographics, behavioral information, and location. You may even want to create buyer personas to make it easier to craft messaging that resonates with this target audience.

3. Talk to Your Media Partner to Determine How Display Fits Into Your Overall Strategy

Already invested in a digital ad strategy? Before you plan and launch a display ad campaign, you should figure out how this new campaign will integrate with—and hopefully elevate—your existing ad campaigns.

Your digital advertising partner can help you plan a display ad campaign that is accounted for in your advertising budget, coordinated with the messaging of your other campaigns, and optimized within your larger spending mix.

4. Understand Your Display Campaign In the Context of Your Customer Journey

Display ads are designed to drive referrals to another destination—your business website, a dedicated landing page, a click-to-call referral, etc. For this reason, your business needs to understand how display ads are serving your customer journey.

Your audience and advertising goals are relevant here. Who are you wanting to reach, and how are you wanting them to respond to your ads? Even if top-of-funnel brand-building is an objective of your display campaigns, think about where users will be sent when they click—and how your business can leverage that action to increase engagement and move the customer further down the pipeline.

5. Decide If You Can Repurpose Existing Creative for Your Campaign

If your business wants to maximize the ROI of its advertising, repurposed content is essential. As you plan out a brand-new campaign, audit your existing ads and content for anything already created that could be plugged into your campaign.

This can range from your display ad messaging to graphics to other visual elements. The less you have to create, the lower your production costs will be. Your business can save money and expedite the campaign creation process.

6. Align Ad Messaging With Creative Across Multiple Platforms and Channels

Another benefit of repurposed creative is that, if the content is repurposed from existing campaigns, it creates a natural alignment between your other advertising and your new digital ad campaign.

If you’re creating content from scratch, you’ll need to check your display ad messaging with the messaging of your other campaigns to make sure they align. As consumers move across different ad engagements, display and other campaigns need to tell a consistent story about your brand.

It’s okay to use diverse messaging that speaks to different pain points. In fact, that’s an important element of successful digital advertising. But this messaging should never contradict itself.

7. Ensure Consistency Between Display Ad Messaging and Landing Page Content

Just as you align the messaging of your display ads with other ad campaigns, you’ll need to do the same with the landing page content consumers will see when they click on their ad. In this case, though, the alignment needs to be more specific to the messaging of each ad. If the display ad CTA is “Call us now,” for example, the referral link needs to offer click-to-call functionality.

Similarly, if your display ads are promoting a digital coupon for certain products or services, the landing page needs to offer more information about that promotion. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying for clicks from users who become frustrated and abandon your customer journey.

8. Select the Display Ad Network You Will Use

The process of actually creating a display ad campaign requires you to choose a display ad network. While Google Ads stands as the largest and most popular display ad network—as well as powerful analytics to help you evaluate those campaigns—other networks may offer value to your campaign, depending on your goals, your audience, and other factors.

A digital media partner can help you review those options to identify the best fit for your display ad campaign.

9. Don’t Set Your Display Ad Strategy in Stone

After the hard work of planning out a digital ad campaign and launching it through an ad network, it makes sense that business leaders would be partial to the strategy they’ve created. In this case, it’s important to remember that the launch of your digital ad campaign is not the finish line for your display advertising efforts. Instead, it’s the first step of an ongoing process where your business can evaluate campaign performance, test out changes to improve results, and gradually optimize performance and ROI over time.

The more open you are to refining your display ads based on ad performance, the more valuable this campaign will become to your business over time.

When creating digital ad campaigns, small details can make all the difference. A digital marketing strategy consultant can be your partner through every step of this process, providing expertise and experience that will position your display ad campaign for better, faster success.

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