Updated January 11, 2023Reading Time: 3 minutes
Ads to the Left of you, Ads to The Right
A few months ago Bing announced that they would no longer be running display ads on their PPC network. The reason behind them dropping visual ads was, according to Bing, that they’re not bringing as much ROI for their users as search ads. This has long been the case, with display ads on Bing and Google, often being treated as a side dish to the main course that is search advertising. So with Bing saying goodbye to display, what does that mean for the future?
What Are Display Ads?
Display ads are the small adverts that you will sometimes see on a website that you’re browsing. Typically these ads will be shown by Google, Bing or another advertising network. The idea is similar to search advertising. A company will pick certain genres of websites and then create ads that will show on those sites. For example, if I sell sneakers I might want to show my ads on sports news websites.
In theory, these ads should be just as effective as search ads. You can choose to be highly targeted, picking demographic information, website genres and much more. However, in practice, they aren’t.
Sweeping It Under the Carpet
In the Google AdWords interface if you want to see where your ads are being displayed (which seems like a pretty reasonable thing to want to see, right?) you have to navigate your way through numerous different tabs until you can find your placement list. But once you get there and look at the sites your ads are being shown on, you see why:
If you take the time to check any of the URLs listed above you’ll see the quality of the site that these ads are shown on. The majority of websites that are hosting display ads are terrible websites, link farms, or sites that have content that has clearly been written by bots. The same is also true of the majority of in-app advertising that you can go through the display network.
Cleaning The Placement’s List
To be fair to Google, they are aware of this problem and seem to be trying to solve it. They have put special effort into filtering out false clicks from in-app adverts, and continue to try to weed out bad sites that are hosting placements. But it seems it’s like trying to hold back the tide.
What’s Next For Display Ads?
As website design has changed, and online advertising has evolved various different parts of paid advertising have dropped by the wayside. With Bing canning their display ads perhaps that is a sign of where display is going in the future. For now, Google and Bing are both focusing their efforts on search advertising, although Google has not yet stopped display advertising. It might not be long until they do.
What do you think about display ads? Do they still have a place in online advertising?
Photo credit – Top: Mark Jensen
Photo credit – Bottom: Nogran SRO