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Insights from the industry

Display: What’s it all about??

Display: What’s it all about??

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Cristina Rodriguez

Last week IAB released the latest UK digital advertising spend figures, revealing details of spends between January and June 2018. Here is a summary of the findings:

  • At mid-year, the total UK digital advertising market is worth £6.4bn, up 15% yoy
  • Search is worth £3.3bn, up 15%.
  • Display is worth £2.3bn, up 20%, largely driven by video growth.
  • The classified market has remained steady at £726m.

It’s not a surprise that search is the highest spender. However in this post we want to talk about display advertising and the way the market is going. We’ll discuss search in a future post…..

Video display is worth £967m, up 40% year on year

Display – non-Video, that includes banners, non-video native, sponsored content and display other is worth £1.33bn, up 9% yoy (Source – IAB’s H1 2018 Digital Ad spend Results)

We all know the growth and the importance of video. However, there is a lot of misconception about how display works and when to use it.

Display advertisement is often associated with re-targeting (re-marketing) and even though re-marketing is a clever way to use display in order to increase conversions, it is not the only use for display, as it can also be used for prospecting.

When thinking of the best display advertisement practises, there are different options:  Direct, Google Display Network (GDN), and Programmatic. Which option to use depends a lot on the objective of the campaign and whether you are running the campaign in house or you are using an agency

Direct sites are useful and important when you are talking to a specific audience within a specific industry, an example of this are newspapers and membership bodies. Having a direct contract with the publisher site will give you an advantage in terms of cost and even segmentation of the audience. A good proportion of publisher sites don’t sell their inventory programmatically and if they do these may have a higher cost than having a direct negotiation (as it would depend on the real time bidding cost)

There is only 1 mayor difference between Google Display Network (GDN) and programmatic: the inventory. Programmatic has a larger audience than GDN, as it connects different ad exchanges including Google. In programmatic the audiences are built due to the connection between the DSP (Demand Side Platform) software  and the different Data Management Platforms (DMP’s). With Programmatic we can create audiences based on interests and behaviours combining DPM’s, as well as using own audiences created at the back of re-targeting and conversion pixels, the most essential element of programmatic is the possibility to act in real time, optimising campaigns and rethinking the strategy to achieve objectives.

And in terms of results?

To measure the results of a display campaign it is important to understand that with the display network we are talking to the audience at a given point in the conversion funnel (buying cycle), or even before they enter that buying cycle. We are looking to reach our target audience where they are likely to spend time. Which is a different game to the search game which is to cover their demand at the time that they are searching.

Understanding this difference means that display generates a higher number of impressions than search, which also means that it generates lower CTR (it usually falls below 1%). It’s important however to look behind that CTR, as the essential part of a display campaign would be the reach generated.

To sum up display advertising generates brand awareness, increases the visibility of your brand (university) against competition, increases direct traffic, and with the right pixels in the right places, followed by relevant creative ads certainly also increases conversions.


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