Do It Yourself Display Ads – DIY on the Fly

I was doing some research last week on online adspend… the gap between paid and display has grown increasingly over the last few months. The Wall Street Journal  issued a release just after Q2 stating that US spend on internet advertising grew 20% during that quarter, and that the gap between flashy display ads and PPC grew to 12% vs 42% of all digital advertising.


I therefore find Google’s new release (last Wednesday) interesting to say the least.



A Bit About Display Ad Builder


Google has now integrated a do-it-yourself display (banner) ad creation tool for all AdWords users (i.e. you must have an account).


1. You can target your audience via:

  • contextual (ads displayed on contextually/keyword relevance basis on sites that are part of Google’s content network); or
  • placement targeting (choosing specific websites on which you want your shiny new display ad to appear; again these sites must be part of Google’s content network).

2. Then you choose your design template and customize it. There are fully customizable direct response and interactive ad templates; and there are pre-designed by industry templates – currently entertainment, financial, retail, travel. (If you log in to your Google Adwords account and click on a campaign, you will get a little ‘invitation’ asking you to try it out – there you will see a whole bunch more information on available templates – here is one screen grab)


DIY Ads - Google


3. You then set your daily budget and your CPC and off you go.


4. They have also included another little acronym for us all to get used to – introducing the PPR (Placement Performance Report).



Despite banner blindness, I would be very interested to see the results between the CTR and conversion rates on a specifically selected set of sites on the content network for a traditional text PPC ad and a ‘DIY’ display ad. Traditionally display ads are far less targeted in distribution than PPC ads, Google has made that annoying state of affairs disappear ‘poof’.


Admittedly the designs are by no means all stunning creatives, but they are display ads, and some are interactive, and some are dynamic – and they are free to create. I really like the idea; I think it is a great opportunity for small businesses to really test the waters far more effectively by trying both display and text ads via both contextual and placement targeting to determine what really works for them, without the prohibitive cost of creating display ads, requiring ad houses to produce reports no-one can understand, and with the ability to a/b test creatives themselves. It opens up a whole new area of online advertising streamlining and tactical refinement, and is very well times with the economic downturn.


(I wonder though if these DIY ads will count as search marketing or display advertising for adspend determination purposes?)


Anyhoo…  what I do think is that it would have been a bigger feather in Google’s hat if they had come out with the idea first, not apparently  rushed into it on MySpace’s heels. And, not to be outdone by any manner of means… Meet My Ads by Yahoo! AND Yahoo! now allows you to target your ads to a ZIP code level… That’s right – beats the socks off Google.


I think it’s great that these big online companies are being so proactive. I think it bodes well for our industry, and for the small business advertiser who can very easily manage his ad spend. And I think it bodes well for their investors.

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