What is display marketing?

BY Basia Zaraczyńska

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, display marketing stands out as a key strategy for companies aiming to increase their online visibility and engagement.

In this article, we will discuss the essence of display marketing, its types, effective strategies, the latest trends and the impact of technology on its future.

Definition of display marketing

Display advertising is a popular and effective marketing tool in the digital age. It relies on graphic elements to capture the attention of the audience and promote the brand online.

It is a profitable strategy for marketers who are looking for effective ways to reach and engage customers. Display ads use a variety of visual media, such as text, images and videos, to capture the attention of online users.

These adverts can usually be seen on designated areas of websites and social media platforms, usually in the form of banner ads (graphic or text). Display advertising campaigns can include a wide range of content, from simple text to compelling advertising videos.

Types of display marketing

Display marketing covers a variety of strategies and types of advertising that use graphics, sound and/or video to promote products, services, or a brand. Below are some common types of display marketing:

  • Banner ads: This is one of the most common forms of display marketing. Banners can contain static images, animations, or videos. They can be placed on various websites and social media platforms.

  • Headers and footers: Ads placed at the top of a website (headers) or at the bottom of a page (footers). They may contain links to the homepage, other pages or contact forms.

  • Text ads: Although not as visual as banners, text ads are also often used in display marketing. They can be placed on websites in the form of sponsored links or text descriptions.

  • Video ads: Video ads are increasingly popular in display marketing. They can be broadcast on various video platforms, such as YouTube, or they can be displayed as ads before videos or as video ads on websites.

  • Interactive ads: These ads allow users to actively participate, e.g. by dragging, clicking or scrolling. They can be more engaging and attention-grabbing than traditional banner ads.

  • Mobile ads: These are ads displayed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They can be in the form of banner ads, video ads, text ads or interactive ads.

  • Pop-up ads: which are banners that pop up when a page is opened, or pop under – when a page is closed. 

Effective display marketing strategies

  • Understand the audience and context – Before launching a display marketing campaign, it is extremely important to thoroughly understand the target audience and the context in which they will encounter the ads. This includes demographic information, interests, online behaviour and the types of sites or platforms they visit. Tailoring the message and design of display ads to the audience’s preferences and the context of the ad placement can significantly increase engagement.

  • 2) Creative ad design – The design of display ads plays a key role in capturing audience attention. Ads should be visually appealing, with a clear and compelling message. The use of high-quality images, attractive graphics and interactive elements can make ads stand out. The use of animation or video content can also be very effective, provided it is consistent with the overall message and brand identity.

  • Strategic placement and timing – The placement of display ads is as important as their design. Ads should be placed on websites or platforms where the target audience is most likely to see them. This could include popular news sites, niche blogs, social media platforms or mobile apps. Timing is also crucial, especially for campaigns linked to events, holidays or specific times of the year. Ensuring that ads are displayed at the right time can significantly improve their effectiveness.

  • Integration with other marketing channels – Display marketing should not work on its own. Combining display ads with other marketing channels, such as email marketing, social media, content marketing and search engine advertising, creates a coherent and comprehensive marketing strategy. This integration ensures that the brand’s message is consistent across platforms, which increases its visibility and the effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

  • Continuous testing and optimization – To maximize the effectiveness of a display marketing campaign, continuous testing and optimization is essential. This includes testing different ad designs, destinations, and messages to determine what works best. Analysing the data collected from these tests helps to refine strategies and make informed decisions about future campaigns.

  • Complying with display marketing practices and ethics – It is also important to remember to respect user privacy and comply with current advertising regulations. An ethical approach to display marketing not only builds a positive brand reputation, but also strengthens audience trust.

Future trends in display marketing

Technological developments

Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will revolutionize display marketing, allowing for more personalized and efficient advertising experiences. AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and preferences, enabling the creation of highly targeted and relevant ad content. Machine learning algorithms can optimize ad placements in real time, ensuring the most efficient use of advertising budgets.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
AR and VR technologies are setting new frontiers for immersive advertising. AR ads can overlay digital information on top of the real world, providing users with immersive and interactive experiences. VR ads can transport users into completely virtual environments, offering unique brand experiences that are memorable and impactful.

Changes in consumer behaviour and expectations

Growing demand for personalization
Consumers increasingly expect a personalized experience, including in the ads they watch. Display marketing will need to continue to evolve to offer more tailored and relevant ads based on individual user data, preferences, and behaviour.

Growing concern for privacy
With growing awareness and concerns about data privacy, display marketers will need to strike a balance between personalization and privacy. This may include more transparent data practices, reliance on proprietary data and compliance with evolving privacy laws.

Changes in the digital world

Mobile approach
As the use of mobile devices continues to grow, a mobile-oriented approach in display marketing will become even more important. This includes optimizing adverts for mobile screens, taking into account the comfort of mobile users and using mobile-specific features such as geographical targeting.

Increased use of video content
Video content is becoming increasingly popular and effective in display marketing. Short videos, live broadcasts and interactive video ads are expected to become more popular due to high engagement and conversion rates.

Evolving advertising standards and regulations

Adaptation to ad blockers
The widespread use of ad blockers challenges display marketers to create ads that are less intrusive and more appealing to users. This may lead to the use of more native advertising and content-based marketing.

Compliance with the Regulations
Display marketers need to stay informed and comply with international advertising standards and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and similar regulations around the world. This will require more ethical data practices and respect for user consent. 

man and woman discussing display marketing

Advantages of display marketing

1) Increased brand visibility and recognition – Display marketing has the unique benefit of wide reach. Ads can be displayed across multiple websites, social media platforms and apps, increasing the chances that your brand will be seen by a diverse audience.

2) Targeting and personalisation – One of the most important benefits of display marketing is the ability to reach specific audiences. Advertisers can target users based on demographics, interests, online behaviour and even stage in the buying cycle, making ads more relevant to audiences.

3) Measurable results and analytics – Ad network marketing campaigns offer the advantage of real-time tracking and analytics. Advertisers can monitor the effectiveness of their ads in terms of impressions, clicks and conversions, making it easier to measure ROI and adjust strategies accordingly.

4) Cost-effectiveness and flexibility – Display marketing offers options for every budget, from small businesses to large corporations. With different pricing models, such as pay per click (PPC) or cost per display (CPI), businesses can choose the model that best fits their budget and goals.

5) Greater user engagement – Display ads, especially those with interactive or video elements, can engage users more effectively than traditional text advertising. Engaging ads can lead to better brand awareness and increased user interaction with the brand.

Disadvantages of display marketing

1) Ad blindness and low engagement rates – One of the significant challenges of display marketing is ‘ad blindness’, in that users tend to ignore banner-like information on websites. This phenomenon can lead to low engagement rates with display ads, as many users may not even notice them, let alone click on them.

2) User annoyance – Display ads, especially if they are not well targeted or designed, can be perceived by users as intrusive and annoying. This can result in a negative perception of the advertised brand.

3) High competition and ad saturation – The digital world is highly competitive, with many brands competing for attention through display ads. This saturation can make it difficult for individual ads to stand out, requiring more creativity and strategic planning to get noticed.

4) Privacy concerns and ad blocking – Increasing privacy and data protection concerns have led to increased use of ad blocking software, which can significantly reduce the visibility of display ads.

5) Dependence on internet connectivity and technology – Display marketing is inextricably linked to internet connectivity and technology. Issues such as long loading times due to poor internet connection or ad blocking can reduce the effectiveness of display ads.


Display marketing is a versatile and powerful tool in the digital marketing arsenal. Using creative design, strategic direction and new technologies, companies can create effective campaigns that appeal to their audience. As the digital world evolves, marketing strategies must also be implemented to stay ahead of the competition.


How does targeting work in display marketing?

Answer: Targeting in display marketing involves selecting audience segments based on demographics, interests, behaviours and other factors, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant customers.

What role does technology play in display marketing?

Answer: Technology, especially artificial intelligence and AR, plays a significant role in creating more engaging and personalised ads in display marketing.

How does privacy legislation affect display marketing?

Answer: Changing privacy laws require marketers to adapt their strategies to ensure compliance while maintaining effective targeting and personalisation.

What are the best practices in creating display ads?

Answer: The best practices include attractive design, clear messaging, high-quality graphics, strategic placement and timing of ads, and an ethical approach to user data.

What are the challenges associated with display marketing?

Answer: The challenges include the need to adapt ads to ad blockers, dealing with high competition, and maintaining a balance between personalization and privacy protection.

Basia Zaraczyńska
Marketing Specialist

Basia is a graduate of Image Communication at the University of Wrocław. At Neon Shake she is responsible for the agency’s marketing. She is interested in UX Design and branding.

Hi! Are you interested in this topic and would like to discuss similar activities in your company?

Fill out the form and schedule a free 30-minute strategy call!

    Dziękujemy za wypełnienie formularza!

    Wkrótce skontaktujemy się z Tobą, by umówić zakres i termin spotkania. Na tej podstawie dobierzemy eksperta, który poprowadzi konsultacje.

    Życzymy udanego dnia :) zespół Neon Shake