Display Advertising

Display advertising is advertising on web sites. It includes many different formats and contains items such as text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.

According to eMarketer, Facebook and Twitter will take 33% of display ad spending marketshare by 2017. Also, desktop display advertising has eclipsed search ad buying in 2014, with mobile ad spending to overtake display in 2015.

Since the early ’90s the advent of the Internet has completely changed the way people relate to advertisements. As computers prices decreased, online content became accessible to a large portion of the world’s population. This change has modified the way people are exposed to media and advertising and has led to the creation of online channels through which advertisements can reach users.

The first type of relationship between a website and an advertiser was a straightforward, direct partnership. This partnership model implies that the advertiser promoting a product or service pays the website (also known as a publisher) directly for a certain amount of ad impressions. As time went on, publishers began creating thousands of websites, leading to millions of pages with unsold ad space. This gave rise to a new set of companies called Ad Networks. The ad network acted as a broker, buying unsold ad space from multiple publishers and packaged them into audiences to be sold to advertisers. This second wave of advertiser-publisher relationships rapidly gained popularity as it was convenient and useful for buyers who often found themselves paying a lower price yet receiving enhanced targeting capabilities through ad networks.

The third and most recent major development that shaped the advertiser-publisher ecosystem started occurring in the late 2000s when widespread adoption of RTB (real time bidding) technology took place. Also referred to as programmatic bidding, RTB allowed companies representing buyers and sellers to bid on the price to show an ad to a user every time a banner ad is loading. When a page loads during a user visit, there are thousands of bids occurring from advertisers to serve an ad to that user, based on each company’s individual algorithms. With this most recent change in the industry, more and more ads are being sold on a single-impression basis, as opposed to in-bulk purchases.

ads size

First online advertisement.

The birthday of the first banner display is on the 27th October 1994. It appeared on HotWired, the first commercial web magazine.

Importance of formats of display ads.

Two students of the “Amsterdam school of Communication Research ASCor” have run studies about the audience reactions to different display advertising formats. In particular, they took into consideration two different types of format (sponsored content and banner advertising) to demonstrate that people react and perceive formats in different ways, positive and negative. For this reason it is important to choose the right format because it will help to make the most of the medium. It is also possible to add:

  • Video;

  • Rich Media Ads (Expandables): flash files that may expand when the user interacts on mouseover (polite), or auto- initiated (non-polite);

  • Overlays: ads that appear above content and that are possible to remove by clicking on a close button;

  • Intertitials: Ads that are displayed on webpages before expected content (before the target page is displayed on the user’s screen);

  • Sponsorship: including a logo or adding a brand to the design of a web site. This can also can fall under Native advertising, which is an ad that can seem like Editorial, or “In-Feed”, but has really been paid for by the advertiser

To help to better selecting the right format for type of ad, Interactive Advertising Bureau has realized a Display Standard Ad Unit Portfolio that works as guideline that can be followed by the creatives.

Standard size

IAB has also created a universal standard for display ad sizes Page text. There are four dimensions that have been decided as universal and are respectively:

  • Banner 728 x 90

  • Big box 300 x 250

  • Skyscraper 160 x 600

  • Square 250 x 250