It’s Time to Wave Your Banner–The Pros and Cons of Display Advertisements

First of all, what is a display advertisement? Marketing Land describes display ads as “a type of online advertising that comes in several forms, including banner ads, rich media and more“. They are usually comprised of text, images, flash, or video. Traditionally, you can find them at the top or down the side margins of a webpage though they can anywhere on the page (unless, of course, you have an ad blocker because then you might not see them at all).


Now that we known what a display advertisement is, how can you know if it’s right for your company? Northern Ireland Business Info, a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland and the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland, posted an article on their website entitled “Advantages and Disadvantages of Display Advertising“. In this article, they give 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages to display advertising. Check out the pros and cons and decide if display advertising is right for your company.



  • Visually Appealing
  • As I stated in a previous blog post, we need to be careful to show more than we tell. We live in a society that is constantly being bombarded with images and sound which make us sensual people (the “of the senses” definition). Our banner ads should appeal to those senses.

    For example, I could tell you that I think you should visit Scotland when the Northern Lights are at their brightest.

    Or, I could tell you to visit Scotland and share this picture with you from Visit Scotland’s website:


    I close my case.

  • Brand Awareness
  • So far, we’ve only dealt with audiences who have the intent to purchase; however, display advertising reaches an audience who doesn’t (yet) know that they want your product. This new target market is known as an “initial interest” audience. Northern Ireland Business Info states “Display ads have a high reach and can be seen by large numbers of people“. This high reach includes that initial interest group.

  • Targeted Audience
  • Display ads can reach a target audience in ways that aren’t available in search marketing. One such way is something called “remarketing“. Remarketing is the process in which your target audience has visited your website, but hasn’t made a purchase. You then can place targeted ads on other pages they might visit to remind them of your website.


    I’m bet some of you have seen this in action before. You search for something on Amazon, say a balance ball chair. You decide not to purchase it and browse Facebook instead. Low and behold suddenly there’s an ad for the very thing that you were searching for.


    Hm. Maybe it’s a sign? Or maybe it’s remarketing at work.



  • Lower CTR (click-through-rate)
  • Again, a CTR is when someone clicks on your advertisment which will bring them to your homepage or a specific landing page. Display ads have a low CTR. Think about it: How often have you clicked on an advertisment banner? Yeah, I tend to avoid those, too.

  • Lower Conversions
  • A conversion rate is a certain percentage of users who actually do what you want them to do on your website (whether it be fill out a form or purchase a hatchimal). So, even if you’ve reached your target audience and have convinced them to click on your banner ad, they are still less likely to take the desired action.

  • Ad Avoidance
  • So, I’m completely guilty in this area. Ad avoidance is whether or not your audience actually sees the ad. Now, this could simply be due to the fact that we tend to look at the content on the webpage that we are interested in. Our brains automatically filter out the unncessary content, and we may not even pay attention to the banner at the top of the website.

    More than likely, though, the ad avoidance comes from your audience’s use of an ad blocker. This keeps the ad from even appearing on the page. Some websites choose to block access to their website if you have an ad blocker (Forbes does this).


    Keep in mind if you refuse your target audience access to your webpage based on their ad blocker preferences then you run an even greater risk at losing a potential customer.

Website Example: Redbox


Redbox is a great example of a company who uses digital advertising well. Not only can you click on their banner ads to get to their website, but they often advertise a free or discounted rental on them.


With their bright red color, engaging text, and images of current media, their ads are hard to miss. Redboxes are outside several businesses here in our city and since the cost is extremely low ($1-2 depending on format), impulse purchases are high which makes a banner ad a smart choice for Redbox.

Questions, thoughts, concerns? Let me hear them below!

(original header image link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

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