If you aren’t very familiar with the nuances of content marketing and display ads, you may be confusing these two advertising strategies with each other. After all, how different can two online advertising strategies be? As it turns out, very different, and very similar! These two popular forms of Digital Advertising have their set of pros and cons each, with most marketers preferring one over the other.
Display Ads predominantly consist of images, banners, videos, etc. In other words, a large portion of the paid promotion you see online consists of Display Ads. The idea behind such ads is to introduce only tiny bits of information to users – enough to get them intrigued but not enough to burden them with more than they can absorb in a few seconds. These ads are focused on getting viewers’ attention and prompting them to engage so they can be redirected to the advertiser’s site.
However, off late, it seems as though display ads seem to be on the wane. This is especially surprising considering how effective they have been at bringing in customers for companies and boosting conversion rates both in the short and in the long run. Well then, if Display Ads are so effective, why are advertisers reducing the amount of money they spend on display ad campaigns?
The answer is simple: content marketing. For quite a few years display ads have reigned supreme, especially after the introduction of Google Adwords that allowed companies to target viewers based on their preferences and introduced concepts such as search engine optimization (SEO). However, content marketing is soon dethroning display ad strategies with its quality content-based approach.
Unlike display ads that are more in line with the kind of traditional advertising mediums such as old-fashioned banners and billboards, content marketing focuses on providing useful information to consumers. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that display ads aren’t effective and content marketing strategies are. It all depends on the kind of audience you’re targeting and the platform you’re advertising on.
Content marketing mostly entails reviews, articles, videos, and more. The definitive advantage that this form of marketing has over display ads is that it facilitates meaningful engagement. Moreover, those users who spend a considerable amount of time on the internet (note: all of us) are prone to suffering from serious ad-related conditions such as banner blindness. What is banner blindness, you ask? It’s the condition during which viewers slowly start to ignore the display ads they come across online, simply because they see too many of them!
With content marketing, this is rarely the problem. This is why content creators on platforms such as Instagram are rolling in $$$. Such creators focus their efforts on speaking to their audiences as directly as possible by making videos and blog posts that outline what are seemingly their personal experiences with the products they’re promoting. In doing so, such individuals are effectively able to let their followers know that they’re here to help them select only the best products available online.
This is just one example of a content marketing strategy, several other strategies entail reviews and articles created by talented experts to let users know how it truly feels to use the products and services being advertised. This is why content marketing is growing increasingly popular, it seeks to speak to audiences as meaningfully as possible without appearing invasive or intrusive.
While these strategies were initially used by small companies to promote their products, now some of the biggest brands in the world have content marketers on board to help them bring in more customers. Again, think of Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube on which you see celebrities talking about their experiences using XYZ products in a bid to promote it.
However, not all is rosy with content marketing. The biggest area in which content marketing fails is the one in which display advertising triumphs: time. Think about it, if you’re going to spend all day on the internet, would you rather watch a content creator speaking about a product for 10 mins or see a display ad for the same product? Depending on how much time you have on your hands and how badly you want the said product, you’re sure to have a preference.
Concerning time, no one likes sitting around watching or reading long reviews, unless they’re for a highly coveted product. Therefore, in most cases, we can assume that audiences don’t want to spend a whole lot of time online on ads for products they may not even end up purchasing. This is where display ads have the edge over content marketing – it takes a second or two to view a display ad and scroll past it.
Another advantage that display ads have here is that they’re very straightforward. When viewing a display ad, a user immediately knows what it’s for and is directed towards where they can purchase the product in question. This applies to both static and video ads. There’s a reason TV ads have been popular for decades! Sure, these ads may not be as meaningful as those created by content marketers, but they are known to propel conversion rates for companies (both big and small) to the top.
Besides, using keywords to reach out to users who may be interested in purchasing your products based on their past web activity has continually proved to be an effective strategy, so there’s no reason why it would be done away with anytime soon.
At the end of the day, both content marketing strategies and display ads have their fair share of pros and cons so the digital advertising approach you opt for should be tailored to your audiences and advertising platform.