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Alion | The rise & fall & rise of display advertising

The rise & fall & rise of display advertising

Alion blog author

Niels Bovendeur

07 September 2018

min read

So the banner ad is not dead?

Absolutely not. Let us start with the facts: Research from IAB (in Dutch) shows that online advertising is bigger than all other traditional media types combined. Within display advertising there was a growth of 7% spend on advertisements in 2017. More research shows that the use of digital advertising on mobile and desktop devices, in addition to traditional media, has a positive influence on Brand Opinion and Purchase Intent.

How can this increase be reconciled with the opinion of the browsing end user? They do not want to be bothered with banners?

That is correct. And the success of display advertising has everything to do with maturity and quality of communication. Let me clarify the difference between 'banner ads in the past' and 'banner ads now' with an example.

You walk around the city. It rains and it is windy, and while you try to control your umbrella, you walk past a café. The manager yells at you from behind the bar: "Hey there! Come on in! We have ice cold drinks! Take a look at this menu with 50 cocktails". He says this not only to you, but also to the family with young children who walk behind you, the older couple who are a day out in town and the group of thirsty youngsters. You can guess the effect. Most "target groups" hide under their umbrella and run away.

Why? The café owner’s 'offer' is not specific and not relevant. It was especially... irritating. However exaggerated the example may be, it shows how banner ads in recent years have developed their bad name among the general public.

The modern, experienced café owner does it differently.

He sees you struggling with your umbrella, welcomes you in his café and points you to the warm spot next to the heater. He already noticed that you stopped for a moment in front of the chalkboard which recommended fresh apple pie, and he mentions that it is even more of a good deal in combination with coffee or tea. The older couple gets a well-accessible and quieter place - the experienced café owner knows that aged people do not want to sit near the speakers. The father with children is pointed to the children's breakfast that is on offer every Sunday morning, and the young people get a flyer with information about the 'happy hour' at his other establishment, across the street.

This café owner combines his target group knowledge with the Unique Selling Points of his business and thus gives out advice that is tailored to the needs of his target group. His offer is specific and relevant. Not surprising that this business runs smoothly.

The human making of display advertising

At Alion we make many display ads, or banner ads. The term 'banner ads' actually does not cover the load of our playing field anymore. Display advertising is all about customized communication. By means of a ‘banner ad‘ (the piece of communication at a fixed location within a website or app), but also as video, social media post, game, email or article - to name but a few appearances. And this also on a huge variety of places and devices. From your mobile and laptop to the 'out of home' screens in shops, train stations and other public places.

Communication can be made intelligent and relevant in each of these places. We now talk about 'humanizing' communication in advertisement. And, contradicting it might be, we do it by making small technical delights. Responsive, personalized, data-driven, and continuously optimizable.

How we at Alion do this

We use our Full Funnel approach. The principle is simple. We distinguish the target group segments, look at the customer journey for each group and identify the touch points. All these moments are communication opportunities, for which we optimize the message. This is how we lay the foundation for specifically targeted, relevant communication.

Think again about the tailored advice of the café owner. We tailor the content of the communication to the context of the user, using all information that is available. Because the more relevant the message, the greater your CTR, conversion, ROI or other metric. The effect of your campaign is simply better.

A practical example. Think of a campaign for a kitchen seller with a conversion goal. A young family will have other buying arguments for a new kitchen than an older target group. Even if you sell both customers exactly the same kitchen! With one target group you emphasize safety and appearance, with the other target group the ease of use and the adaptability in the future.

Good 'humanization' goes further than just focusing on the message. The moment is also very important. For example, it is often overlooked that the newly acquired customers still need attention after a campaign. You do well to reduce 'buyers remorse': reassure your customers they made the right decision. If all is correct, you should know your customer by now. Use that information to thank your new customer in an appropriate way. Give tips for the newly purchased product, or ask for feedback. The café owner will probably also do this ("Did you enjoy it?", "Thank you for your visit, until next time!")

Shouldn't my advertising or media agency be kept busy with this topic?

When dealing with display advertising in the manner described above, it is important to involve strategy, creation and digital know-how in the process as early as possible. We therefore often work closely together with the customer, the media- and/or advertising agency from the very first moment. Each has its own specialty, whether it be strategy, creation, production or media, each party comes into its own in this approach. This collaboration not only creates more creative opportunities, but can result in up to 150% higher performance of your campaign (according to Google Media Lab Research in 2016).

Those are clear numbers. My most important advice to advertisers is therefore: avoid at all times the creation of the ads gets started at the last opprutunity. Anyone thinking in advance (or thinking about) about the 'full funnel' approach comes to effective digital campaigns. You invest a little more in the creation in advance, but increase the leverage (your CTR). So you can achieve múch more with the same mediabudget.

Did you find this article interesting and do you think that within your organization improvement is possible regarding advertising campaigns? Maybe our Full Fnnel Kickstart might be something for you. And please do not hesitate contact us!

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