We live in a time when advertising is everywhere and we consume it constantly whether we are aware of it or not. In fact, it’s reported that as of 2021 we encounter a staggering 6,000 to 10,000 ads on average every single day.

So what is it that makes you actually click through on a display advertisement?

Well, the beauty is in the design. Good display ad campaigns require both art and science. They need to show flair and creativity, whilst also communicate narratives through carefully selected text and imagery.

Unsurprisingly, digital marketers that create displays advertisements spend a lot of time in creative ideation. This is where the magic happens.

So if you’re in need of some creative inspiration then we’ve got you covered. We’re diving into some of the most effective display advertising campaigns around, and breaking down what has worked so well for them.

What is display advertising?

Display advertising is a type of digital marketing in which carefully curated adverts are displayed on various web pages with the aim to attract users to click through. There are five main types of display advertising – Native ads, banner ads, video ads, interstitial ads, and GIF ads.

The purpose of display advertising is usually to either raise brand awareness, encourage conversions or make people think. It is typically distinct from a host website’s content (with the exception of Native ads) and will take the user to a landing page, web page, call to action (CTA), or something similar.

Tips for creating inspirational display advertisement

Before you throw yourself into creating your very own display ads, there are few things to consider. Thinking through these steps is just as important as creating eye-catching and effective ad design.

Understanding the who, what, where, and when of your display advertising marketing strategy can make all the difference to its success.

Who

Who is your target audience? You need to get really familiar with your target audience in order to solve their pain points, attract their attention, and fuel their engagement.

Consider creating an ideal customer persona that epitomises your ideal customer or client. With every decision you make about your display ad, ask yourself whether it speaks directly to your ideal customer.

What

What is the purpose of your display ad campaign?

As we identified above, typically there are three main purposes to choose from. Firstly, to build brand awareness or to showcase promotional offers, product features, and so on.

Secondly, encouraging conversions. This could look slightly different depending on your objectives. For example, obtaining email addresses to build an email list might be considered a conversion.

Or thirdly to make people think. Display ads are an opportunity to align a brand with particular values or social movements. They are a way to be humorous or even educational, either way, they are a great way to leave a lasting impression.

Where

Where does your target audience spend their time?

Having a better understanding of where your target audience already is will only enhance the effectiveness of your display advertising campaign strategy.

Are they on social? If so, which social media channels are they most likely to be on? What type of content do they consume online? Is it via a blog post, news platforms?

If you know where they are, you can ensure your display ads will be there too.

There are a variety of different platforms to use to get your display ads out there, such as the Google display network, Facebook ads or Bing ads.

When

When is the best time to publish your display ads?

Beyond the time of day itself, what other factors could contribute to the success of your campaign?

Consider buying behaviours over holidays or global events that might affect people.

To learn more about display advertising and how best to design and run your own display advertising campaign, check out our article here.

15 inspirational display advertising examples

To get you started we have put together these top 15 display advertising examples to help get the creative juices flowing for your next display advertising campaign.

Whilst we never recommend copying an ad design, we certainly think there is value in each and every one of these examples and you never know what might spark your next great idea.

So let’s dive in.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s advertisement incorporates different mediums to engage the audience and offer a rich media experience.

This is a great way to attract the audience’s attention as it offers something new and interesting by sparking the element of ‘play’. The audience is engaged and can click through to ‘link up the road’.

Naturally, anyone, even someone who isn’t interested in buying a new car, could still be inclined to engage in this display ad and are called to re-connect the disjointed road segments.

The user is satisfied after reconnecting the road, and simultaneously, Volkswagen is presenting the image of their new Golf.

Mail Chimp

This display ad provides ultimate shareable content. Their play on words, although slightly misleading, is humorous and was a favourite to share through social channels.

MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp are all a play on words of Mail Chimp, the email marketing company.

The purpose of this ad was to entertain, the campaign was considered hugely successful because of the high engagement the ads received.

Skype

Skype has carefully created display advertisements that are able to tap into the emotions of the audience.

The text ‘Never missing story time together’ shows what is possible with Skype, the use of imagery of the child talking to the adult through the iPad builds a story that is widely recognised and understood.

Skype also uses the brand colour for the text of the CTA, which is a simple but effective way to portray consistency in brand identity.

Audible

Audible have used display ads to showcase offers and entice their audience into a subscription service by benefitting from a significant discount.

The CTA ‘Get this deal’ implies that it is a short-term deal that is likely to end soon, so you need to get it now.

This banner ad example displays a popular sample audiobook that is likely to get the attention of the audience.

Adobe

Adobe showcase what their programs can do in the very design of their banner ads. The ad epitomises creativity, beauty, and design expertise throughout.

They are strategic with the placement of their company logo, always placed either on the top right or top left of the ad to show consistency.

They also always use powerful copy that encourages the audience to take action right now.

Amazon

Amazon has tapped into the importance of personal value here. This banner ad example is speaking to those that may choose to avoid Amazon in order to support small businesses instead.

Here they are declaring that they too are a platform for small businesses and by choosing to buy through them, you are actually supporting these businesses.

This display advertisement is both clever and savvy. They are aligning the Amazon brand identity with this principle of supporting small businesses. Similarly, this can be done by aligning brands with particular social movements as well.

Disney Plus

Disney Plus offers exclusivity. In this one display ad, there are five different reasons to subscribe to Disney Plus.

This ad shows how Disney Plus has something for everyone and that they offer so much more than the traditional animated fairy tales.

They’ve included major characters that are easily recognised and fan favourites to represent each segment of Disney, showing that they are the perfect all-round subscription service.

The CTA “Start Your Free Trial” is extra enticing as it is very tempting to get all of this for free.

Google

Everyone could learn a thing or two from Google. They know what works and what converts.

Google always leans into simplicity. They showcase their offers to raise awareness of all the different features that they provide. They constantly rotate their campaigns in order to do this.

In this example, they engage the audience with the text ‘Put the places you love on the map’. It is personal, it encourages the audience to be involved in Google and to have their say. This is a great example of how a display ad can speak directly to its audience.

Slack

Is there anyone in the world that wouldn’t want to reduce their emails by 48.6%?

This ad goes straight to the point and specifically highlights exactly how their product solves your problem.

The CTA ‘Get started’ encourages the audience to reduce their own email inbox right now by downloading Slack.

This is clear, straight to the point and the stats provide that little bit extra to encourage someone to click through.

Monday.com

This is a great example of how a display ad can not only showcase what the product does but do so in a humorous and relatable way.

Whilst fundamentally Monday.com may target business owners, or those that manage a team, here Monday.com have managed to show how their product can be used by anyone for anything as a means of getting organised.

There is an element of humour with the ‘really stuck’ status and the ‘Manage anything. Even New York’ title.

Uber

This speaks directly to the audience. We’ve all been there and the text “You can’t miss an Uber” speaks true to many.

This simple ad grabs the audience’s attention by directly addressing their pain point and challenges. They solve it with the CTA ‘Download & Ride’, which encourages the audience to download the Uber app immediately in order to get to their destination.

One a day

This is a great banner ad example that dispels the concept that taking care of your health is complicated, time-consuming, and overwhelming.

Instead, with just “One A Day and done” you can be on top of your health with absolute ease.

The CTA ‘Save Now’ is also a lot more attractive than ‘Buy Now’ and is able to add further value to the audience.

PayPal

The purpose of this display ad is not necessarily to sell, but instead to raise awareness of the new feature that PayPal offers – Venmo.

Depending on the reason for the display ad, the content will vary. Even though the focus here isn’t on conversions, it is on educating the audience so that they are aware of PayPal’s new feature that they can use in the future.

HP

When you think of a printer you might not automatically think of paying taxes. But the beauty of this display ad is the ability to make the audience think.

It is clearly targeted to small or medium-sized businesses that need to get organised during tax season. It speaks to an issue that businesses are dealing with and was run during the lead-up to tax season.

Even if you aren’t concerned about taxes, it still gets people thinking about what they might need to get printed to get organised in their own lives.

Apple Music

As one of the most popular brands in the world, Apple doesn’t need to do much to be recognised. Apple epitomises simplicity in their display advertisements, they keep the text to the absolute minimum and only present their brand logo.

Not all companies would be able to pull this off, however, for Apple, this sophisticated look does everything that it needs to. There is no CTA, no bright colours, nor lots of text. Instead the ‘Available now’ text says it all and the black and white images are neutral but sophisticated.