Where Does Online Display Fit Into The User Journey?

Online Advertising Video
4 mins


Online display advertising (often called display advertising) is a form of digital advertising that places visual adverts across websites, social media channels and apps.

Display advertising can come in multiple formats, including images, GIFs, video and interactive ads and can use various pricing models and targeting techniques.

In today’s ‘So’ video, we break down online advertising’s role in the user journey, defying the assumption it only fits into one place by exploring how it can be used lower down the marketing funnel and even in loyalty stage.

If you have any questions you would like answered as part of our 'So' series, please get in touch and let us know.

Our podcast, 'The Digital Marketing Podcast' is in video format on our YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe for a brand new video podcast every week!




So, how does online display fit into the user journey?

So first of all, online display, we're talking online ads, banner ads, video ads, those sorts of things. The reality is that it can fit anywhere into the journey. There's this kind of assumption that it only goes into one place, but actually it can go into any stage of the journey if we get it right and do it in the right way.


So, let's start with the top of funnel.

So top of funnel is when I'm not aware of something already, so I'm just browsing. I'm on websites that are of interest to me, I'm reading content, whatever it might be. That's an obvious place for display to fit in. So I can go in and say, I want people that are interested in X to see my ad, or I want my ad on websites that talk about a particular topic.

So that's the obvious place for it. The problem is we're all bombarded with ads on those top of funnel websites and you're kind of shouting. So the better targeting you can use there, getting in front of the right type of person, the better.


So, how about lower down the funnel?

This is when it starts getting more interesting, because then I can start to use things like retargeting. I know that you've carried out certain behavior, maybe on my website, and then I'm going to try and show you ads. You’ve shown an interest in this, I think you're going to be interested in this.

And actually there's a lot of new tools that allow you to start doing that and using the first party data that you collect on your website to build audiences that you're going to show ads to on social media or ads on the display networks to.


So, what about the advocacy stage that we see in most user journeys?

So, you've got this loyalty stage and that's the stage where display is not really being used a lot now for existing customers or previous customers. But there's a really big argument that say I subscribe to something and I've not been back, you should show me an ad saying you haven't been back in ages. Come through and use it.

Years ago I started an agency and I had to buy everyone in the team a copy of Microsoft Office, and I started getting retargeted with adverts from Microsoft and rather than doing what everybody else does, i.e. going “buy Microsoft office” when well, I've already bought all of this, what these adverts did was they targeted different features of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and showed me little videos of power moves and power features so that I could get more out of my purchase. That's brilliant. Microsoft knows they can get me more embedded in the product. Then I'm going to value my purchase more and I'm going to like become more of an advocate. Very, very clever. I've seen it before as well, where we were looking at a particular retail brand and they were selling a lot of Christmas party dresses, and what they were concerned about was that after the dress was worn once, they weren't really being used for a long period of time.

So they were showing ads saying “you bought this, you could re imagine it using these accessories for a different kind of situation”. They're showing you the product you bought being used in a different way. So again, a really good way of using that kind of targeting. So as you can kind of see, you can use display at any stage of the user journey, but we've just got to make sure we're using the technology effectively to do that.

Build a ü free personalised ¥ learning plan to see our course recommendations î for you

Free for 30 days

Build a å free personalised ¥ learning plan to see our course recommendations î for you

Free for 30 days