Home » Search Engine Marketing » Why Every Small Business Needs To Utilize Display Advertising

Of all of the digital marketing channels available to small businesses, display advertisements are one of the least understood by the average small business owner. In this article, we will explore what display ads are, and what advantages they offer for small businesses.

What Are Display Ads?

Display ads (sometimes referred to as “banner ads”) are image, video, text or rich media ads that display on websites across the internet. The largest display ad network, the Google Display Network (“GDN”), displays ads on a network of over 2 million websites and mobile applications. This allows you to reach over 90% of internet users!

Display ad networks like the GDN allow you to reach consumers in a variety of ways. Consumers can see your ads while they:

  • Browse their favourite websites.
  • View a YouTube video.
  • Use various mobile apps.
  • Check their Gmail account.

How Does Display Advertising Work?

Essentially, website owners “rent” spaces on their website to large advertising networks like the Google Display Network. These advertising networks then auction off that space to advertisers. The advertiser that wins the auction has its chosen ad placed on the website.

Display advertisements can be targeted to show on specific websites or to specific people (more on this later) and when clicked on, take consumers to a webpage of the advertisers choosing.

Why Every Small Business Should Be Using Display Ads

Display advertising offers many benefits to small businesses. These include:

Bidding Options To Match Your Goals

Display ad networks like the Google Display Network allow you to bid on ad space in different ways. The two most common are:

  • Viewable impressions (vCPM). This bidding method allows you to set how much you are willing to spend to have 1000 people view your ad. An ad becomes “viewable” when more than 50% of it is viewable on a consumer’s computer screen. When selected, Google will try to show your ads to as many people as possible, making this option great for branding campaigns.
  • Clicks. This bidding method allows you to set how much you are willing to spend to have someone click on your ad. When selected, Google will try to show your ads to consumers that are more likely to click through to your website, making this option great for lead generation campaigns and e-commerce sales.

By offering different bidding options, display ad networks allow you to maximize your ROI based on the goals of your display campaign.


Display ads offer by far the largest reach of any digital advertising channel. As we previously mentioned, the Google Display Network alone boasts over 2 million websites.

Such incredible reach makes display ads ideal for branding campaigns. They allow you to reach customers in the early stages of the buying cycle before they even start searching for what you offer!

Flexible Targeting Options

While the reach of display ad networks is impressive, the real strength of display advertising is its various targeting options. These include:

  • Keyword Targeting. Target your ads to display on websites with keyword phrases that are related to your business.
  • Demographic Targeting. Target consumers that are within your target demographic.
  • Managed Placements. Pick specific websites to show your ads on.
  • Topic Targeting. Display your ads on websites that are built around a specific topic (Business sites, travel sites, sports sites, etc.)
  • In-Market Audiences. Show ads to consumers that are actively searching for your product or service.

These targeting options allow you to maximize your ROI by only showing your ad to people who are more likely to be interested in your products and services. They also allow you to target different ads to people in different stages of the buying cycle.

It’s Easy To Create Ads

Not a graphic designer? No problem! Display ad networks offer easy to use ad builders like Google’s responsive ad builder. These tools allow you to easily build display ads that automatically change size to fit the available ad space. All you have to do is type in a headline, description, URL and an image; the rest is taken care of!

Google’s responsive ad builder allows you to easily build ads that will work in every available display ad size and format.

Display Advertising Can Also Drive Sales

While display advertisements are generally used for branding campaigns, they can also be effectively used to collect leads and generate sales.

To set your display campaign up for generating leads and sales, simply select cost per click (CPC) bidding to prioritize ad clicks over views. To make sure that your ads are only seen by consumers that are likely to convert, you should then target your ads to a relevant In-Market Audience. You can then send consumers to a specially designed landing page to maximize your conversions.


Remarketing is a powerful display advertising feature that allows you to target ads to people that have already been on your website. If you really want to drive conversions on your website, there really is no substitute for remarketing campaigns. This is because people that are have already been on your website are 70% more likely to convert than first-time visitors.  Remarketing ads give you an easy way to reach this highly valuable group of people.

You Can Easily Measure Your Results

Unlike traditional offline advertising campaigns, the results of display ad campaigns are easily measurable. Not only are you able to see basic statistics like how many views and clicks your campaigns generated, you can also see more meaningful metrics like:


Essential for lead generating campaigns, this metric shows you how many people completed your desired action (filling out a form, calling your business, redeeming a promo code, etc).

View Through Conversions

Ads designed for branding will rarely get many clicks. The awareness built with these ads can lead to a lot of conversions down the road, however. To see this you can check the “view through conversions” of your branding campaign. This shows you how many people that saw one of your display ads (and didn’t click on it) eventually converted on your website.

Revenue Generated

By assigning a dollar value to your conversions, you are also able to easily see how much actual revenue your display campaigns generated. No more guessing as to whether or not your ads are working, with display ads you’ll know for sure!

Wrapping Up

While display advertising is looked down by some marketers, the truth is that with the right targeting, and the right ads, display ads can be a very effective way for small businesses to both increase brand awareness and drive conversions.

Will display advertising help you achieve your business goals? Find out with this free quiz.

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Lure Marketing is a digital marketing and website design agency with offices in both Kingston and Belleville, Ontario. We help small businesses navigate and thrive in the online world.

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