Local Online Display: Ready for Prime Time…
Online Display Advertising. It’s all about building brand and creating awareness. Your “digital billboard” across the internet.
Until recently, online display advertising was not a consideration for local businesses – less than 5% of U.S. SMB’s purchased geo-targeted display in 2010.
There were targeting issues, it was expensive, you had to “self-serve” the insertion order and create your own artwork. To a certain extent, I believe a fair amount of product confusion and incorrect campaign expectations added to the challenges.
That’s all changed – so here is the first post in our new “display” category.
Local display is ready for “prime time”
The latest market research confirms that 80% of consumers prefer viewing local vs. national ads, which makes sense as the majority local dollars are spent within a 20 mile radius.
According to eMarketer, online display ad spending (banners, rich media, sponsorships & video, inc. mobile) grew by 25.2% in 2011. BIA/Kelsey believes SMB’s account for the majority of this growth, and by 2013 will represent 30% of the geo-targeted local display advertising market. Other estimates position display to surpass search spending by 2015.
Several factors are driving this growth and the reality that display is now a valuable, effective option for local businesses:
- Increased inventory (especially through Social Media) and enhanced ad networks have created additional, locally-targeted options.
- A more competitive rates structure (lower CPM’s) have made the opportunity more cost-effective.
- Numerous third-party agencies and local marketing organizations like hibu now offer full-service options, which includes ad creation and local targeting.
Traditionally, online display was not thought of as a media to drive active conversions like PPC or IYP; it’s been about building brand and creating awareness (keeping your business “top of mind” is a critical piece of long-term growth). More recently however, advanced geo and contextual targeting technologies have made display more “directional” in nature. According to Microsoft:
“…when coupled with display marketing efforts, marketers can achieve enhanced brand awareness, improved search engagement, and higher online and offline sales conversions. Search and display perform better together as they target consumers at key touch-points during the purchase decision process. It creates a pull and push mechanism, which guides a consumer without media disruption, and ultimately can lead to higher conversion rates”.
Earlier this year, Criteo released similar findings that support the value of display advertising:
“ The study unequivocally underscores a strong connection between those who click and those who buy, proving for the first time that the click is a genuine expression of purchase intent, and not mainly accidental, as previously suggested by other research”.
And this past May, a local $1,000 display promotion for a small restaurant chain proved effective in driving strong conversions – see that case study here, courtesy of Screenwerk.
Simply put, these pieces of research all point to display campaigns being effective in increasing overall online conversions and R.O.I.
Some final tips before you move forward:
- Evaluate your CPM – different networks offer different price-points.
- Install analytics on your website - ultimately you’ll need this data to analyze click-thur rates and conversions.
- Get impression reports from your display network – impressions are just as important to this story as clicks and conversions (remember, branding is a key aspect of display).
- Keep it local, and then some. In other words – you’ll want to target a geography slightly larger than your local 20 mile radius. This will enable you to reach those at work, or online via mobile devises. Think “metro area” or “DMA” – not hyper-local.