Retargeter Blog

Display Spending Is Up: Why Your Display Budget Should Go Up Too



Earlier this month, the IAB released their 2012 annual report on online advertising revenues.

Unsurprisingly, the upward trend in online spending has neither slowed nor switched direction. Advertisers across industries are heading online in droves.

While search remains the largest sector of online ad spending, its rate of growth is slowing. Mobile, despite being the fastest-growing segment, is still responsible for less than 10% of online spending.

Display, however, remains the second-largest segment of online spending. Here are a few reasons why it continues to grow, and why you should (if you haven’t already) get on board:

Driven by Data 

Historically (as historically as you can get on the Internet) search has far outpaced display sending. There’s one very good reason for that: intent.

Search ads work because they are served based on user intent. If someone is searching for a keyword, it’s because they’re interested in that topic, whether they’re ready to buy or simply learning more. The display advertising of the past relied on a much less specific idea of the type of person who frequents certain websites. Those general demographic profiles, though better than nothing whatsoever, do not capture intent data.

The advent and improvement of online tailoring technologies like retargeting and audience targeting have allowed advertisers to tap into intent data for their display campaigns. As these technologies mature, their effectiveness increases, making display an even better bet for advertisers.

Who’s Afraid of Programmatic Buying?

Programmatic buying, in addition to making intent-based display possible, has made buying display ads faster and easier.

Instead of sending time-consuming RFPs and IOs back and forth, advertisers can leverage programmatic buying to secure ad space with the click of a button. And, contrary to what some will have you believe, all programmatic buying is not limited to remnant inventory.

An eMarketer survey from February 2013 found that 70% of advertisers were currently using programmatic buying. Of those, three-quarters planned to increase their spend on programmatic during the course of the year. For these advertisers, both ease and the more powerful targeting options were cited as the most important reasons for using programmatic.

The Power of Video

Online video ads are included in the IAB’s definition of display advertising—one more reason that display continues to thrive. Online video is rapidly becoming one of the most important tools in any marketer’s arsenal, and with the introduction of video ad networks like BrightRoll and YouTube, it’s becoming more powerful and tailored as well.

Video ads don’t have to be expensive or arduous to produce and can be an incredibly effective way to engage your audience.


Though sometimes underestimated, display might just be the most powerful form of outreach on the Internet. Spending continues to grow with no sign of changing. If it’s not part of your strategy now, it should be.


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