The Basics Part One: Targeted Display and Retargeting

The Basics Part One: Targeted Display and Retargeting

Year after year, digital remains the fastest-growing category in U.S. advertising spending. eMarketer predicts that in 2017, digital advertising will surpass television advertising for the first time in history.

In Part One of our Digital Advertising basics series, we break down the banner ad. Learn what your options are and how to get started reaching your potential customers online.

Digital Advertising Gold Standard: Targeted Display

Targeted display advertising, also known as programmatic advertising, refers to what you may know as “banner ads.”

A CMG-designed display ad: A 728x90, one of the most common sizes.
A CMG-designed display ad: A 728×90, one of the most common sizes.

Think of targeted display as your Internet billboard. But, instead of paying for views of every driver on a highway, your digital “billboard” will only be shown to a specified audience who meet highly granular demographic and geographic criteria.

For example: if your primary customers are wealthy women who live in Columbia and have children between the ages of 13-18, then you can run a targeted display campaign that will:

  • Show ads only to people in Columbia, MO
  • Run on websites where wealthy women with teenage children frequent (an Ad Network)
  • Show ads to wealthy women who have recently visited relevant websites (Behavioral Targeting)
  • Show ads to wealthy women who have recently searched online for relevant terms (Keyword Targeting)

Display ads can be a variety of sizes, and they typically appear at the top, bottom, or sides of a website. Small sizes also appear on mobile apps. You’ve seen them – check out,,, and thousands of others to see examples of display advertising.

A 300x250 display ad on
A 300×250 display ad on

How to Get Started

Targeted display campaigns are typically run by agencies, so you’ll need to find a partner you trust. You’ll pay by impressions, which are views of your ads.



Expect a minimum campaign length – usually three months. Digital campaigns are cumulative; once people begin responding to your display ads, then your campaign will grow. Depending on your product and the customer’s purchase journey, longer campaigns may make sense.  Make sure you have a digital expert planning your strategy.

Roark Aluminum display ad
A CMG-designed skyscraper display ad (160×600)

Concept and Creative

Will the agency you hire to launch you targeted display campaign also create your display ads?  Will there be an extra fee?  Do they have a proven track record of success? Ask to see samples of effective display ads they’ve designed.

How often can creative be changed?

If you have a new promotion, how nimble can the agency be in revising your display ads? Will there be a fee every time? Your ads are a very important factor in the success of your campaign, so know your options before committing.

Where is traffic being driven?

If your website is up-to-date, fantastic (see note below about the critical importance of your website). But you also may want to create a landing page on your website designed specifically to convince people who clicked on your ad to take another action (usually, filling out a form). A digital expert can help you optimize a landing page and maximize return on investment.

How do I know if the campaign is successful?

Your agency should provide you a regular report. The beauty of your digital billboard, as opposed to a real billboard, is that you’ll know exactly how many people saw it, clicked on it, and then took another action when they arrived at your website.

The “Click Through Rate,” or the rate of people clicking on the ad who saw it, is a metric you can measure against industry benchmarks. The national average CTR is 0.07%, so if you achieve higher than that, you’re doing well.

Impressions build your brand. Clicks are a measure of interest; conversions are a measure of strong interest/intent to buy. You should also track your sales and any other metric you set at the beginning of the campaign as an indicator of success.

Animated Ads: The Latest in Catching Attention

Ask your ad designers about animating your ads with HTML5. Motion and multiple frames are all options – but expect an additional fee. It can be worth it to catch attention and drive up clicks.

Digital Advertising MUST HAVE for 2017: Retargeting

Smart phone ownership is skyrocketing. Consumers have an unlimited amount of resources available for product research in the palm of their hand – and they’re doing their homework.

Over 95% of people who visit a landing page do not fill out a form or take an action on the first visit. So how do you get them back? Retargeting.

Also known as remarketing – retargeting is showing display (banner) ads to people who visited your website but then left.

It may seem a little “big brother,” but retargeting is highly effective at returning people to your website, driving action, and nurturing them toward a sale.

Note: Facebook Retargeting Is Different

If you look at a book on Amazon and then see that same book in an ad on a Washington Post article you’re reading – that is traditional, display retargeting.

I viewed this fireplace insert two days ago. Amazon is retargeting me.
I viewed this fireplace insert two days ago. Amazon is retargeting me.

You may also see that book from Amazon in your Facebook feed. That is also retargeting, but it would not be included in your display retargeting budget. Facebook retargeting will need to be purchased as a separate campaign.

Recap: BARK

Ready to try display advertising? Remember BARK:

  • Behavioral Targeting
  • Ad Network
  • Retargeting
  • Keyword Targeting

With a combination of those digital targeting strategies, stellar creative, and the right digital media buying partner – you’ll join thousands of other advertisers finding ROI with targeted display.

First Thing’s First: Pretty Up Your Website

A CMG designed and developed website which has been highly effective in converting leads.
A CMG designed and developed website which has been highly effective in converting leads.

Internet ads drive traffic to your website (as do all other forms of advertising). If you’re spending money on digital advertising, make sure you’re driving traffic to a website that is top notch.

Your website needs:

  • Responsive design, meaning that it adapts to fit any screen size. In 2017, this will essentially mandatory for success
  • A modern design overall
  • Clear calls to action and easy ways that potential customers can request more information.
  • Clean, high resolution branding elements (your logo, photography)
  • Simple navigation
  • Content optimized for the digital experience (brief, visually spaced text, with headline usage, bullet points, etc).
  • If you sell products on your website, your e-commerce process needs to be streamlined and easy to navigate.

Although other more minute factors affect website success, those seven items are the basic web elements we recommend addressing before beginning a digital ad campaign.