1. Display Advertising Overview

  2. Programmatic Ecosystem

  3. Display Advertising

  4. Standard Google Display Ad Sizes and Formats

  5. Types of Display Advertising

  6. How to Build a Retargeting List

  7. Dynamic Remarketing Display Ads

  8. Summary 

Display Advertising Overview 

Like video advertising, display is best used at the top of the funnel and in the middle consideration stage through retargeting efforts. Understanding the basics of online display advertising is easier than you think.

But getting your display ads to work for your business will be a tough challenge. If done right, a display campaign will bring you more benefits than you might think. Chances are, you’ve seen display ads before. You have probably seen 500 of them today alone. 

Before we jump in head first, let’s talk a bit about the modern day display ecosystem. To do that,  you need to understand the word programmatic. 


Marketing funnel related to display advertising

Programmatic Ecosystem

According to eMarketer, more than 88% of all display ad spend will be going through programmatic exchanges. 

Display Advertising Trend

What’s that? It’s just a fancy word for describing a real-time auction that connects buyers and sellers. The buyers are people like you who want to run a display campaign for your dealership. The sellers are generally publishers who have display inventory for sale on their website. Think of sites like,, They submit their inventory to the real-time ad exchange and buyers like you enter the real-time ad exchange and enter the bid in hopes of winning that inventory. That’s a very simplified explanation of it. The diagram below helps explain it: 


Programmatic Ecosystem

Display Advertising

Display advertising is defined by banner ads (graphic or text), that appear in specifically designated areas of a website or social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.). Digital display advertising comes in a variety of different forms, but at its core, it revolves around the same principle.

Although you can advertise with plain text-based ads and still call it a display campaign, you can get much more out of your campaigns if you use images, videos, HTML5 animations or any other rich media elements that can help you get your message to your targeted audience. It’s all about display marketing 

Banners used as display ads come in different shapes and sizes. Your only limitations are the requirements of the network you are running your campaign through. For example, Google Adwords allows a wide range of display ad sizes

Standard Google Display Ad Sizes and Formats: 

You don’t need to create a banner for every single size. This is entirely up to you and your specific needs. To make things easier check out this guide to ad sizes from Google in order to find out the top performing ad sizes and a more in-depth description.

Google Display Ad Formats

As for the accepted formats, most ad networks accept JPEG, JPG, PNG, and GIF. Not all networks accept HTML5, but all the major players do, including Google AdWords. Animated banners come with their own technical specifications, while image banners only need to be under 150 kb in size, and of course, be compliant.

Types of Display Advertising

Based on the role they fulfill there are 3 main types of display advertising campaigns:

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a type of campaign that focuses on the reach, rather than direct conversions. Main goal is to reach as many relevant people as possible and influence them to get interested in your brand, and not necessarily have them perform a particular action.

Although a brand awareness campaign usually has a wider reach, you still need a relevant audience.You can segment your audience as you would for any campaigns but the metrics you need to follow will be different.

Awareness campaigns need to be carefully planned out and will require running for a longer period of time in order to be effective. If you want to start a brand focused campaign, money shouldn’t be a problem. You need to make sure that you can afford to spend a lot of money on a campaign that won’t have any direct and immediate results on your sales.

You need to focus on metrics like impressions or reach, followed by engagement (if you are advertising on social platforms). Likes and shares further extend your reach, thus helping your campaign reach a greater audience.

The main goal of an awareness display campaign is to reach as many people as possible, so you always need to figure out ways to reach the most people while staying within budget limits


Regardless of the platform, you are running your display ads on, the 3 main campaign types of campaigns are the same.

Acquisition through display advertising is probably the biggest trap a small or new business can fall into. With no advertising experience or an unpolished product or service, you can end up spending huge amounts of money with no significant results.

Banner ads are more invisible than they ever were. Overlooking the problems generated by Ad Block, we’ve learned to ignore banners so well, that they are practically becoming invisible for most of us. They really need to be in your face in order to get noticed, but being too aggressive won’t necessarily help you either.

Leaving all the negativity behind, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel regarding this type of display advertising campaigns. So, the question is: do acquisition campaigns work? The answer is yes if done right, but not for everyone.

The easiest way to measure the performance of a display acquisition campaign is to look directly at how much money you spend and how much you get out of it. However, you will have a hard time breaking even on this type of campaigns, as the costs of running such campaigns can be really high.

You should know that your banner ads are competing for the same advertising space with highly targeted retargeting ads that have a much higher chance of converting, therefore raising the CPC to levels impossible to match by a broad acquisition campaign.

When looking at the profitability of your campaign, a good idea would be to look at your customer lifetime value and make sure that your cost per acquisition stays under the expected value.

Retargeting Display Advertising

As you probably guessed already, the retargeting campaign does exactly what the name says it does, it retargets your audience. The main goal of a retargeting campaign is to get your customers to re-engage with your product.

Retargeting is also known as behavioral remarketing and it relies on custom segmentations in order to deliver highly relevant ads to your audience. Your retargeting lists are build from your website’s user base, lists that build up in real time and grow with every user that fits your segment criteria.

You can create segments based on specific user behavior and interactions, for example, users that reach your pricing or checkout page but did not finish the order.

Let’s say you have an online store and you want to retarget users that have more than one session and are viewing a specific product or products from the same category. This would be an ideal case for your retargeting campaign, as you can follow them around with specific ads at the right time in an attempt to get them back on your site and buy the product or service that you’re selling.

How to Build a Retargeting List

The basis of a remarketing / retargeting list is the same on every digital display advertising platform. Basically, you can choose to include in a remarketing list all the visitors that land on a specific page. Here’s how you can set up a remarketing list in Google Ads, step by step:

Setting up Remarketing (Retargeting) in Google Ads


Google Ads Manager Steps for Remarketing


Google Ads Manager 2

You can target the following groups of people: 

Website Visitors: Users that have visited your website or any landing page
App Users: Users that downloaded your mobile app
YouTube Users: Users based on channel or video interactions
Customer List: This list is based on collected customer data
Custom Combination: Created from multiple retargeting lists

Once your list is created, you need to give it some time in order for it to be populated with users matching your exact rules. For Google Display Network, the remarketing lists must have a minimum of 100 active users within the last 30 days. Your ads will be displayed only after your list reaches 100 active users.

Google Analytics Audiences


Dynamic Remarketing Display Ads

Another feature worth mentioning is dynamic remarketing. A feature that automatically creates display ads that include images, price, and a text of your choice, all based on your users’ behavior. Dynamic ads are very common for e-commerce sites, giving them the possibility to re-target their audience based on the actual product or service viewed on the website. Basically, the banner ad layout is based on a template and all other information is added dynamically from a data feed. The data feed is a list of all the products or services which includes all the required attributes for a banner to be created.

A good in-depth guide regarding dynamic ads and remarketing, is here.


We hope that you found the Automotive Digital Marketing Display Guide to be helpful. 

Advertising is likely one of your biggest expenses at the dealership level and you have to figure out how best to allocate your monthly spend so that you can hit your advertising cost per vehicle. There’s an infinite number of choices out there and it’s your job to best allocate that advertising spend. Here are a few tactics or techniques that you can use.

Here’s a list of digital marketing tactics (or techniques) that is by no means exhaustive. Seems like there are new tactics entering the marketplace every day. But these are the individual tactics that should support your overall marketing strategy. If the tactic is linked then it will send you to our Guide for that linked tactic. Let us know if you would like to see a Guide written for one of the tactics that isn't linked. We'd be happy to write one for you. 

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