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February 11, 2024
5 min read

Why Display Ads Make Sense for a Small Business?

Businesses are constantly trying to find the best performing channel for their local ads, hoping to achieve the highest possible return on investment. SEO, PPC, Meta ads or even influencer marketing come to mind when trying to achieve this goal. Today we will take a closer look at display advertising, its various types and cover why it is a solution every SMB owner can benefit from.

Christian Scherbel
LInkedIn Logo

What is Display Advertising?

It is a form of online advertising that uses visuals, such as images, graphics, video or interactive media to promote a particular brand and to reach its target audience. The ads are typically displayed on websites, social media platforms or apps in the form of banner ads, pop-ups or video ads. Their goal is to capture the attention of users while they are browsing and to invite them to make a purchase, submit a form or call the business. Display ads come in different formats and placement options, so they can be used for brand awareness, product launches, lead generation or remarketing.

Search Ads vs Display Ads: What are the Differences?

The key difference between the two types of ads is that the search ads appear when users are actively looking for something – they need to type in some keywords in the search bar for an ad to show up. For example, best Italian restaurant, affordable hotels in New York, handyman services near me, etc. This means such ads are triggered when people are actively searching for information before they are ready to make a buying decision.

In addition, search ads are text based in nature – marketers create a text headline, description and an ad copy. They typically operate on a pay per click model, meaning that the business is charged when the ad is clicked.

On the other hand, display ads are triggered when users are not actively searching for a particular product or service, but they rather read an article online or scroll down their social media feed. That’s why their content is graphical and visual in nature, so that they grab the attention of the user and distract them from what they are currently doing online. In terms of targeting, display ads take into account factors like demographics, interests, behavior or previous browsing history. Their payment model is based on cost per a thousand impressions (CPM) or cost-per-click.

Benefits of Display Advertising

Now that you have a solid idea of what display ads are, let’s take a look at some of their benefits for small and medium-sized business.

Increased Visibility and Brand Awareness

Local advertisers should choose where to place their display ads carefully in order to achieve a positive impact on their target audience. By partnering up with regional publishers, they secure access to readers who are very likely to need their product or service. This strategic placement of ads improves the visibility of a small business’s brand and helps its owners create a sequence of touchpoints with their customers, showcasing their offers. Such exposure is vital for building brand awareness, recognition and recall, which is a must have in today’s digital environment. Additionally, if display ads carry some SEO benefits, then these ads can also contribute to improved search engine rankings.

Targeted Advertising

Display advertising helps SMBs be very specific regarding who they want to see their ads. Segmenting customers based on demographics, such as age, gender, income or interest targeting like hobbies or activities offers unparalleled flexibility. The geographic targeting aspect refines this approach, allowing businesses to concentrate their advertising efforts on certain locations. They can choose whether to go for broad areas or to pinpoint specific locations, probably within а walking distance from their physical store.

On top of that, online user behavior such as browsing history, website interactions or purchasing frequency can be taken into account as well. This advanced targeting functionality lets advertisers reach their customers at the right moment in time, increasing the odds of a conversion.

The advanced targeting options help businesses reach the customers most likely to make a purchase.


Display advertising is a cost-effective alternative to traditional mediums of advertising, such as TV, radio or print. National or even regional advertising can cost thousands of dollars for a 30-second ad, not to mention the high production costs associated with its creation. Besides, there is no guarantee that your message will get to your ideal customer. Display advertising offers more budget-friendly options, while bringing relevant traffic to your website or a landing page. Small businesses pay only when their ads are viewed or clicked, ensuring that every dollar spent is directly linked to actual interest from potential customers.

Measurable Results

With display adverting, SMBs can not only choose the website or platform where their ads are shown, but they can also track metrics that indicate their performance. For example, the number of impressions, click-through-rates, conversions or landing page views. This data is crucial in evaluating the Return on Investment (ROI) of their advertising campaigns.

By having access to such detailed analytics, small businesses gain the power to make data-driven decisions, allowing them to fine-tune their marketing strategies for optimal effectiveness. They can identify which ads resonate best with their target audience and which platforms yield the highest engagement, enabling them to manage existing resources more efficiently. Furthermore, these insights can highlight trends and customer preferences, guiding businesses in adapting their advertising content, design, and placement to align better with audience interests.

Variety of Ad Formats

Businesses have the flexibility to choose from a range of formats, including eye-catching banner ads, engaging video ads, and interactive ads that invite user participation. This diversity in ad formats not only caters to different audience preferences but also aligns with varying content strategies, enabling businesses to effectively capture the attention of their target market.

The ease of updating and modifying these ads is another significant advantage. Small businesses can swiftly adapt their messaging, design, or overall strategy in response to market trends, audience feedback, or performance metrics. This adaptability is crucial in the fast-paced digital world where consumer interests and behaviors evolve rapidly.

By experimenting with different types of display ads, businesses can discover the most effective ways to communicate with their audience, whether it's through visually rich banner ads, storytelling through video, or engaging users with interactive content.


People need to know about your brand and trust it before they make a purchase. Not every customer who lands on your website will become a buyer right away. Users need to be reminded about your brand and they need to re-engage with it on multiple occasions. That’s where a concept known as “retargeting” comes in handy – it lets advertisers show display ads to people who have already interacted with the website and they saw the products listed on it.

This approach is a gentle and non-intrusive reminder of the business and its offerings and stimulates repeated website visits. It nurtures long lasting customer relationships and reinforces brand presence and loyalty.

It takes seven interactions on average before customers purchase from any brand, so the power of retargeting cannot be overstated.

Integrating with Other Marketing Channels

When combined with other marketing channels display ads can significantly extend the reach and resonance of a small business's message, creating a multi-channel impact. For example, incorporating display ads into email marketing campaigns can add a visual and engaging element that complements the direct and personalized nature of email communications. This combination can lead to higher engagement rates and a more compelling narrative for the brand.

Moreover, the integration of display advertising with SEO efforts can be particularly powerful. While SEO drives organic traffic to a website through improved search rankings, display ads can capture and redirect this traffic, leading to increased website visits and more potential conversions.

Final Thoughts

Display advertising emerges as an invaluable tool for small and medium-sized businesses aiming to enhance their online presence and engage with their target audience effectively. Its inherent strengths lie in its visual appeal, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, and measurable outcomes. The versatility of ad formats — from banner to video and interactive ads — provides businesses with the opportunity to appeal to diverse audience segments.

At Smartico it is our mission to create scalable display ads – regional publishers get an additional revenue stream and local advertisers get a better ROI on their marketing campaigns. Take a look at our product here.

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