If you’ve been led to believe display ads are only effective for branding and can not directly generate leads and sales, then this article is for you. 

In my experience, many businesses do not launch Google AdWords Display advertising campaigns because they think display ads are only for big businesses running large scale branding campaigns (think Coca Cola).

But that’s simply not true!

When set up and managed correctly, display advertising can be just as effective as Search ads in driving direct leads and sales for your business.

Let’s take a closer look at this misconception…


Branding vs. Direct Response Advertising

First things first, let’s define the two types of advertising: Branding and direct response.  The misconception surrounding display advertising stems from a lack of understanding about these two very different types of advertising.

With a branding ad campaign, the goal is exposure for your brand.  In other words, you want the most eyeballs on your ads as possible.  A classic example of a longstanding branding ad is the David Yurman billboard that you see as you enter NYC from the Tri-Borough bridge.  If you’re not familiar, then picture a giant billboard with a model wearing jewelry and the name, “David Yurman” in large font.

That’s all the billboard says.  There’s no mention of what the company sells, where they are located, how to contact them, or what to do if you’re interested in buying whatever it is that they sell. In other words, the goal of the ad is simply to drive more awareness for the brand.  That’s why the key metric measured is ad impressions, or how many times the ad was displayed on a webpage.

Direct response ads are starkly different.  The #1 goal of direct response ads is not awareness, it’s action, or a response.  Therefore the key metric to measure is conversions after a prospect clicks on the ad.  Again, let’s use a David Yurman display ad as a branding example


Very few people are going to click on that ad because it’s not even obvious that you can or should click on it.  Compare that to these two ads from a competitor, Tiffany & Co.:




See the difference?  To be clear, Tiffany’s ads are not great direct response ads, but they at least have a direct call to action so prospects know what to do.  More prospects are going to click on the Tiffany ads to learn more simply because it’s explicitly explained in the ad that you’re supposed to take an action.

Now that you know the difference between branding and direct response, we can discuss one of the key takeaways in this article…


Display Ads Are Not Just For Branding

Again, the big misconception about display ads is that they are just for branding, but that’s simply not true.  Yes, some businesses invest in display ads exclusively for branding purposes like David Yurman.  But, many other businesses focus on direct response display advertising to drive direct leads and sales.

The difference as I highlighted above is in the ad copy.

If you want to create a profitable display ad campaign, then you must use direct response advertising best practices…


How to Drive Direct Sales From Display Ads

In my previous article, 5 reasons to love the Google AdWords Display Network, I explained all the advanced targeting options that allow you to pinpoint your prospects surfing around online.  By using the proper targeting, you’ll ensure your ads are showing for your ideal prospects.

That’s step 1 – get your ads in front of the right people.  Then step 2 is to get your prospects from your ad to your website where you’ll be able to convert them into a lead or sale.

We already discussed how a branding ad is not your best option.  Instead, you need to create a direct response ad.  Here’s what that means in practice:

  1. Compelling offer – your ad must have a compelling offer that matches what your prospects are looking for.
  2. Call to action – your ad must explicitly explain the next step to take action.  Don’t assume your prospects know what to do.
  3. Landing page that matches the ad – your ad must lead prospects to a landing page that reiterates the offer promised in the ad and further explains the next steps.  Hint: Your homepage should not be your ad landing page!

When you use all 3 direct response elements above, then you’ll be able to leverage the vast Google AdWords Display network, which reaches over 90% of all internet users, to generate more leads and sales.


Get Step-By-Step Instructions to Set Up Direct Response Display Ads

On Thursday, November 19th at noon Eastern time, I’m presenting a NEW Google AdWords training called “Introduction to Google AdWords Display Advertising.”

When you attend, you’ll discover how to profitably advertise your business on the Display Network. And I’ll stay on the line to answer all of your questions.

Click here to learn more and register