Display Advertising (My Day with Google)

I am honoured to be 1 of about 50 people invited to go to infrequent Google Engage /Adwords Seminars in Sydney, Australia. There are about 2 seminars per year.
Here we get to spend the whole day with Google, get educated on new tools and how to make the most out of them. They also bring in International Speakers to tell us about their experiences with Google and give us tips on how we can improve our campaigns for our clients. Oh... and the food and gifts are amazing :-)
Display Advertising
The reason I bring this up is because one of these gifts was a book called " Winning the Zero Moment of Truth". Just to summarize it for you in one sentence:
The book points out the fact that your customers will now search Online for you after they've heard about your product (whether it be from a TV Ad or a Billboard). They will type your keywords into Google, they will look at your website, your reviews, your competitor's website, and they will check out your Social Media Page, they will read Blogs and Forums where previous customers have commented on their experience with your product or service. And only then.....they will decide to visit your store (or purchase Online). So if you don't have a significant Online presence, then you are losing the Zero Moment of Truth and therefore a lot of potential customers.
Google your Brand-name or your main keyword right now and tell me are you happy with what you see? If you were a customer would you choose your product?
An Interesting quote from the book by  Richard Tobaccowala, Chief Officer of Vivaki:
“When consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search online for it’.
And so they go on a journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity.
Today you are not behind your competition. You are not behind the technology. You are behind your customer.”
So Get Online! Via Adwords, Yahoo Search, SEO, Display Ads, Social Media, Blogs, etc.! Just Do It! This is the most cost-effective advertising you will ever do for your business. And if done properly, it works!
In my past blogs I have gone over Google Adwords (common mistakes & how to increase conversions), I have written about the Website Optimizer and why you should use it. Today, I want to write about Display Advertising.
Now most advertisers I come across say that it hasn't worked well for them in the past and that they haven't received too many leads out of Display Ads. After questioning them further, I realize that:
1. They are paying $30+ CPM
2. The Sites they appear on DO have relevant content, DO get visited by their target audience, but are not attracting a high Click-Through-Rate (Keep reading and I will tell you why)
3. There is no logical strategy behind the Banner Creative
I've read many articles on Display & Banner Ads and from what I gather most people appear to be receiving an average CTR of 0.04%. When I first started with Display Advertising - I was receiving the same number. Since then, I have managed to TRIPLE IT! Here is how:
1. When creating the Banner Ads, I get the client to fill out an extensive Brief; I then give this to an experienced Creative Director who comes up with 3 different ideas/executions. This then goes to a Graphic Designer who puts it all together & it looks beautiful! Very click-worthy! ...and if you're thinking that this whole process might be too expensive - it's not! It costs around $400-$600 and it's a great investment.
2. My job is to then test all 3 executions and find out quickly which one works best! I run all ads evenly across all sites and monitor which ones are receiving the highest CTR. I then run only these.
3. Size Matters :-) (I have noticed that the Medium Rectangle Banner receives the most amount of clicks compared to the Leaderboard, Banner or Skyscraper) so I run this type of banner mainly.
4. I book via the Google Display Network because this means I only spend about $5-$10 CPM as opposed to $30+ which is what most Networks want to charge these days. You can also use Yahoo Network Plus, AOL Advertising and Yahoo Sites.
5. Most Importantly....choose your sites wisely! The average person is exposed to 5,000 Advertising messages per day (Charles Pappas, Yahoo! Internet Life columnist) So it’s fair to say that they have developed an immunity to Ads! This is the main reason why I think that News Sites don't work! If people are there to catch up on News and Current Events then the last thing they want to do is see another Banner Ad! What works well are Shopping Sites! People are already there to shop so if they see a banner with a product on it that is accompanied by a great deal - then it’s not considered annoying! In fact - it's welcomed and clicked on.
YouTube & Facebook also work extremely well! But you have to target your Ads properly! There are targeting options within the Google Display Network & Facebook Network that allow you to do this.
  .....you should also use the Double Click Ad Planner to research where your target audience is. Test out a few different sites and see what else can work for you. Some sites with relevant content also work quite well. For example, if you are selling Kid's Toys then 'Kids Gaming Sites' also work very well!
....and that's pretty much all there is to it. Follow the above 5 steps and you should also be able to Triple your Click-Through-Rate! I'd be interested to find out how you go so test this out & send me a comment,