Tag Archives: display ads

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Sam Yadegar on Mar 16 , 2021

Still neglecting the Microsoft Advertising platform and Bing? Here’s why you may want to rethink that.

Here you’ll find:

  • Unique benefits of Bing display ads on the Bing search engine
  • Benefits of Microsoft Advertising campaigns  
  • Display ad campaign creation steps 
  • Best practices for helping your ads succeed on this platform

It may not be as heated a debate as Android vs. iPhone, but plenty of people are shocked to discover that Bing users exist.

Similarly, most businesses don’t take Microsoft Advertising (formally Bing Ads) seriously because Google dominates the market. However, leveraging Microsoft ads could be far more beneficial than they might think. 

Despite some sources reporting their market share as low as 6%, once you add up their network’s combined reach, it becomes clear that Microsoft Advertising is woefully underrated. People are often unaware that Microsoft extends their reach dramatically by leveraging its wide range of products. They also work with a massive network of prominent partners, including Amazon, Skype, Verizon, and more. 

Bing & Microsoft Advertising facts and statistics

Without fully understanding what Microsoft Advertising is and how it works, people are quick to dismiss it. If only they knew that:

The value of display ad campaigns

Microsoft ads can be surprisingly powerful. That’s one thing Microsoft Advertising and display ads have in common. Since display ads have a lower conversion rate, people often assume they’re worthless. But immediate conversion isn’t the only metric of success.  

Display ads vs. search ads

Google or Bing ads on the search network convert better because they’re shown to people actively shopping or seeking information. Conversely, display ads are often shown to more passive consumers. 

However, that doesn’t mean they’re less useful — they just serve a different purpose.

Use search ads when:

  • Your goal is immediate conversion
  • Your business is location-specific (storefront)
  • You provide an emergency service (plumber, dentist, handyman)

Use display ads when:

  • Your goal is brand awareness or lead generation
  • Your offer isn’t geographically constrained (digital products, e-commerce, accessible worldwide)
  • Your offer has an extended sales cycle (automotive, software)

When used correctly, they can work together quite well. Bing display ads familiarize people with your brand, which will likely increase search ad conversion and can lead to more organic traffic later.  

bing display ads

When picking an audience, pay attention to the estimated reach displayed so you don’t make your audience too small. (Image via Unsplash)

How to create display ads for Microsoft Advertising

Once you sign up for a Microsoft Advertising account, creating ads is pretty straightforward. There are two ways to get started: you can import ads from Google or create ads from scratch.

How to import your ads from Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising

  1. Click on the “Import Campaigns” menu option. Then click “Import from Google Ads.”
  2. Sign in to Google Ads and select the campaigns you want to import. Then specify which settings you want to bring over in the “Choose Import Options” section. ​​Below that, Microsoft Advertising lets you schedule automatic imports, so you don’t have to redo it every time you create new ads and campaigns or make changes. 
  3. Click import. Your imported Google Ads will be set to the closest Microsoft equivalent settings. 

Pro Tip: Always check thoroughly to make sure there were no problems with your campaigns and everything imported properly, as some settings don’t have a direct match.

How to create a Microsoft Advertising display campaign

  1. ​​Go to the “Campaigns” tab, click create campaign, and set the campaign goal.
  2. There will be a window that says “What kind of ads do you want to run for this campaign?” You’ll want to select Audience Ads, as Microsoft’s Audience Network is their Google Display Network equivalent. Then, fill in your basic settings options and set a daily budget.
  3. Create an ad group, choose your audience settings, and add text, links, images, and details. The ads will be responsive, so the preview won’t be what the audience always sees exactly, but more or less the same.
  4. Set your budget and add a payment method under “Accounts and Billing” in your settings. Click “Done” to activate!

Microsoft Advertising best practices

When picking an audience, pay attention to the estimated reach displayed so you don’t make your audience too small. Try to stay above 10,000.

Microsoft’s AI will be observing and adapting to the data generated by your campaign to optimize it, but this takes time. That’s why it’s wise to let your campaign run for at least a week or two before making any changes.

Lastly, you want to track everything, analyze often, and adjust as needed. Use the data from your Google Ads to help your Microsoft ads by importing it and adapt to what it says. Tinker with it until you find the sweet spot.

The takeaway

The name change from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising represents the brand’s shift from search ads to so much more. 

Between the often lower cost per click (CPC) and the purchasing power of this demographic, the Bing display audience is an opportunity that’s worth exploring for nearly all businesses. 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

Related Posts

woman in front of a wall with a colorful data projection

What is First-Party Data?

Between new privacy and data changes, there's a lot of talk about first-party data. Let's break down what it means, why it matters, and how to use it....

Read More
holiday ads

5 Marketing Tips & Tools for 2021 Holiday Ads

This is no ordinary holiday season, so why stick to ordinary ads? These marketing tools and expert tips can help you craft your best-ever holiday ads....

Read More
"mental health" spelled out in block letters next to a green stem with leaves

How Remote Work Can Boost Mental Health

It’s important for companies to be mindful of their employees’ mental health. Here's how remote work fosters happier people and more productive teams....

Read More
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 23 , 2020

If your Google Display ads aren’t bringing you the ROI you want, one of these reasons could be to blame.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Facts about the Google Display Network
  • Guidelines to follow when it comes to your ad creative
  • How to be mindful of your audience targeting
  • Success tips for setting up campaigns

Google Display campaigns are featured on more than 3 million websites and 650-plus mobile apps. But that doesn’t mean they’re a first-class ticket to high ROI.

There are multiple factors you may not be aware of that could be causing ads to underperform. We tapped our lead strategist Justine Rabideau to help break them down below, from hidden settings that affect targeting parameters to creative that misses the mark.

Problems with Google Display campaigns

One of the major reasons your Google Display ads are underperforming could be that your targeting isn’t right. (Image via Rawpixel)

1. Your targeting is off

Google offers multiple options for display targeting:

  • Affinity audience targeting – potential customers you can make aware of your business’s products or services
  • In-market audience targeting – qualified people who are actively researching or considering buying offerings similar to your own
  • Demographic targeting – a type of Display Network targeting based on ranges for categories like age and gender
  • Customer Match targeting – a great way to advertise additional or new offerings to current customers for upsell opportunities via an email list

One of the major reasons your Google Display ads are underperforming could be that your targeting isn’t right or the audiences you’re targeting don’t make sense for the campaign. Review what you have set up and make sure you’re targeting the right groups.

2. Your creative isn’t optimized

Launching Display campaigns without going through the steps to ensure your creative is optimized may lead to a low-quality ad with underperforming results. Luckily, there are a few best practices to keep in mind or use as a checklist before you go live.

You want to make sure any images you use are high-resolution, not heavily filtered, and in focus. You also want to avoid overlaid text or logos on top of your images, since it can be difficult to read in smaller sizes like on mobile. Google also advises against adding button graphics on top of images, as this violates their ad policy.

3. You’re not speaking to your audience’s pain points 

Once you’ve got the creative nailed down, you can focus on the copy. Along with keeping your written content short and to the point, it’s key to speak to your audience’s pain points rather than simply touting how great or award-winning your company is.

Think about your target audience and what might inspire them to click or want to learn more. A/B testing your copy can help illuminate what pain points or value propositions appeal most to your ideal client persona. Remember: It’s about them, not you.

google display campaign issues

Got a small audience but a high budget? You may be targeting the same people over and over, which can lead to “banner blindness.” (Image via Rawpixel)

4. Audiences are set to “observation” rather than “targeting” 

According to Google, if your audiences are set as “observation,” that means you’re able to “monitor how ads are performing for your selected placements, topics, or audiences while your campaign is running.” 

But this setting doesn’t affect your reach, who sees your ads, or where they’re shown. 

And because it doesn’t restrict your targeting, your Display ads will be shown to anyone in the geographic area you selected as a result.

When you’re setting up a campaign, you’ll notice an option for “Targeting Expansion.” This is turned on by default and basically allows Google to go outside the targeting parameters you set if they think the person will convert (which, as we’ve often found, is unlikely). 

Pro tip: Google has removed the option to exclude all mobile apps. Now, if you don’t want ads to show in mobile apps, you have to exclude placements manually (or through Google Ads Editor).

5. Your frequency is too high

Got a small audience but a high budget? You may be targeting the same people over and over, which can result in “banner blindness.” As HubSpot explains, this basically means that site visitors consciously or unconsciously don’t pay attention to the messaging in banner ads.

While this could be due to a low-quality ad or a site’s design layout, banner blindness can happen when the same person sees the same ad repeatedly and either never looks at it or feels it doesn’t apply to them. And either one can be the kiss of death for your campaign. 

Got more questions about Google Display Network ads? We can help.

How to set your Google Display campaigns up for success

Now that you know a few of the main red flags to look out for when it comes to your Google Display Ads, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure they’re on the right track:

  • Consider using responsive display ads in conjunction with uploaded image ads
  • Test HTML5 (animated) ads
  • Double-check to make sure your audience targeting is on point
  • Try excluding mobile app placements (unless you’re certain they’ll perform or you’re just interested in impressions)
  • Monitor placement performance, then exclude what isn’t working
  • Consider brand safety (Google allows you to opt out of certain content types, such as “Tragedy and Conflict” and “Sexually Suggestive,” to avoid your brand showing near unseemly content)

Pro tip: We often suggest companies also look into remarketing, one of the most common and effective targeting methods on the Google Display Network

The takeaway

When leveraged properly, Google Display campaigns can be great for increasing conversions and building brand awareness. But if you rely too heavily on Google’s machine learning and what their algorithm thinks is best, you may not be getting the most bang for your buck.

If something seems off, it probably is, so take the time to double-check your campaign settings and watch performance closely. Once you pull the data, you’ll be glad you did. 

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

Related Posts

woman in front of a wall with a colorful data projection

What is First-Party Data?

Between new privacy and data changes, there's a lot of talk about first-party data. Let's break down what it means, why it matters, and how to use it....

Read More
holiday ads

5 Marketing Tips & Tools for 2021 Holiday Ads

This is no ordinary holiday season, so why stick to ordinary ads? These marketing tools and expert tips can help you craft your best-ever holiday ads....

Read More
"mental health" spelled out in block letters next to a green stem with leaves

How Remote Work Can Boost Mental Health

It’s important for companies to be mindful of their employees’ mental health. Here's how remote work fosters happier people and more productive teams....

Read More
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 16 , 2020

Before you launch your next display ads campaign, here’s what you need to know. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What display ads are
  • Why display advertising is important
  • Types of display ads
  • Best practices for display ads

More than ever before, we’re living our lives online. With millions of people still working from home across the globe, everything from shopping to connecting with loved ones has become fully digitized. And digital marketers have noticed.

Digital ad spending is expected to hit $225 million by 2022 as more businesses turn to digital advertising as an effective medium to reach prospects, grow awareness, and boost their bottom line.  

What’s more, Google display ad click-through rates rose to 0.6% in 2019 compared to 0.41% in 2018. This highlights the growing efficiency of display ads as a bonafide marketing strategy. Curious how to make it work for your company? Read on.

hawksem blog - peacock

A display ad for streaming service Peacock on Vox’s website.

What are display ads?

A display ad, also known as a banner ad, is a visual-based form of online paid advertising. You usually see these ads on websites, apps, and social media platforms. 

These ads typically feature a photo or designed graphic along with copy. The ideal result is an interactive display that encourages users to engage with the ad. To reach customers through display ads, you’ll need to work with a display ad network. (Google has one, of course, but there are dozens more.)

The benefits of display marketing

Display marketing can offer numerous business benefits. The visual nature of these ads helps capture the attention of your audience and convey your message in an eye-catching, direct manner. 

With PPC ads, you can persuade users to click through to a landing page, effectively creating brand awareness and, ideally, inspiring them to take the next action. When placed on the right platforms, these ads help target people who are most relevant to your business and increase your online visibility. Lastly, these ads provide crucial data and support retargeting.

Common types of display ads

When creating and running a display ad campaign, you’ll have to choose the ad type and format that will have the greatest impact. There are several types of ads that you can access. These include:

  • static ads
  • animated ads
  • interactive ads
  • video ads
  • expanding ads 

Regardless of the type you choose, there are a number of sizes and formats to pick from as well. The key here is to understand your target audience so you can opt for the ad type that’s most likely to encourage engagement.

Tips for successful display advertising

To make the most of display advertising and grow your business, following best practices is crucial — no surprise there. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating display ads and executing your marketing strategy.

1. Get your targeting right

Successful targeting involves identifying your ideal client persona and doing research to understand your customers better. With keyword targeting, your ads will be displayed on websites whose contents match the chosen keywords. 

Placement targeting lets you choose the specific websites on which the ads will appear, while demographic targeting focuses on your audience’s demographic profile. Display targeting allows you to serve ads based on what users enter in search engines, and topic targeting involves selecting websites that fit within a certain topic.

hawksem - vrbo

A video display ad from Vrbo seen on The New Yorker’s website.

2. Create ads that stand out

You not only want to attract the perfect leads, but you also want them to click your ad and take action. That’s why content and design are such important elements of a successful display ad. Using high-quality images that convey a strong message can help elicit an emotional response from your ideal audience. 

Research suggests ads with 80 characters or less deliver 66 percent more engagement. You can also take advantage of programmatic advertising to serve various iterations of the same copy to differently segmented audiences. Lastly, short-and-sweet ad copy can establish urgency and serve as a teaser to make users curious.

3. Explore rich media

Unlike traditional static display ads, rich media features an element of interaction. This could be in the form of an audio, video, Flash, or the ability to expand when a mouse cursor hovers over the ad. 

Taking advantage of the popularity of video content and the effectiveness of this form of multimedia advertising can capture the attention of your audience and keep them interested in what you’re offering. Although being more interactive comes at a (literal) price, investing in rich media can be worthwhile for your ROI if leveraged well.  

4. Create effective landing pages

The main goal of any digital marketing campaign is usually to generate leads and sales. In addition to an attention-grabbing display that gets users to take action, make sure the landing pages you’re linking to are equally as thought-out and optimized. 

The most effective landing pages often follow a few guidelines, including:

  • An impossible-to-ignore call to action (CTA)
  • A design that’s consistent with the ad
  • An easy-to-complete form
  • A mobile-friendly experience 
hawksem blog - display ads

An example of a remarketing display ad from Target on Apartment Therapy’s website.

5. Ensure ads are mobile-friendly

Speaking of mobile-friendliness: Making your ads mobile-friendly will enable you to reach a wider online audience. After all, roughly one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users, according to Pew Research

Designing your ads with smaller screens in mind will provide a great user experience for people who access the internet through hand-held devices. 

Your landing pages may also need to be optimized so that they adjust to different screen sizes. This process will go a long way in improving the customer journey and increasing conversion rates.

6. Take advantage of remarketing

We talk a lot about remarketing around here, but that’s because we know it can be a highly effective tool to have in your marketing arsenal. Remarketing (aka retargeting) serves ads to users who have clicked on an ad, been to your website, or shown an interest in your products in the past. It’s a great way to remind them about your company (and their previous interest) without being too intrusive.

Often, people who stumble upon your site for the first time aren’t necessarily in the place to make a decision. With remarketing, you’ll have a higher chance of converting these potential customers when you serve ads that can suggest they pick up with you where they left off. 

hawksem - smitten kitchen

A display ad from CallRail on the Smitten Kitchen recipe website.

7. Stay true to your brand

To make your ads feel seamless and professional, it’s important to prioritize brand consistency. Ads that mirror the look and feel of your website and landing pages will make it easy for users to connect them with your brand. 

When both your brand and products are easily recognizable every time a user encounters your ads, you can create trust, promote brand recognition, and foster loyalty. 

8. Test and measure your ads

The importance of measuring ads cannot be denied. A/B testing different ad formats will help you identify, optimize, and serve the most effective ads to your target audience. You can A/B test things like CTAs, images, and ad copy — just make sure to only test one element per A/B test. 

As you run your campaign, it’s key to carve out time to evaluate whether your efforts are bearing fruit. Make sure you set up proper tracking at the beginning of your campaigns, and have established KPIs to measure against. These include impressions, reach, clickthrough rate, and conversion rate. 

You can then use the data you collect to regularly optimize your targeting and ads to improve overall performance. Experts suggest spending about an hour every week looking at the performance of your ads. 

The takeaway

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it provides a few tips that you can use to ensure you’re running successful display ads for your brand. 

With the numerous opportunities this form of digital marketing presents, you can try out different techniques during your campaigns and see which ones resonate most. 

Want to tap into the expertise and experience of digital marketing professionals to fine-tune the campaign and maximize your efforts? Let’s talk.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

Related Posts

woman in front of a wall with a colorful data projection

What is First-Party Data?

Between new privacy and data changes, there's a lot of talk about first-party data. Let's break down what it means, why it matters, and how to use it....

Read More
holiday ads

5 Marketing Tips & Tools for 2021 Holiday Ads

This is no ordinary holiday season, so why stick to ordinary ads? These marketing tools and expert tips can help you craft your best-ever holiday ads....

Read More
"mental health" spelled out in block letters next to a green stem with leaves

How Remote Work Can Boost Mental Health

It’s important for companies to be mindful of their employees’ mental health. Here's how remote work fosters happier people and more productive teams....

Read More