Nowadays, when the average consumer sees over 5000 ads daily, advertisers should carefully test and consider every detail of their display creative. Each detail can play a defining role in getting a decent ROI on displaying ads.

In this article, we are going to explore some of the best advertising ideas and digital display ads examples. Let's see the best display ad examples to help you break through the noise.

Start using SmartyAds DSP

What is a display ad example?

It's time to describe some display ad examples. A display ad is usually any advertising unit that takes the form of an image, sound, video, text, or a combination of these forms.

This way, it can be a banner ad, social media ad, native, and even video in general. When someone says display ad, they usually refer to a static banner ad.

Display ad units can be targeted according to cookies, search queries, or other criteria. Before we see digital display ads examples, let's connect the dots using a picture.

display ad types

Contextual search ads

Contextual search ad is shown in search engines when the user enters a particular term in the search.

These are typically Google display ads that help advertisers find customers through the targeted keywords. Digital display advertising examples of such you can find below.

Advertisers use targeted options of Google display network to discover the most popular keywords that users use while searching for products or services and then incorporate them into targeted campaigns. Read more about programmatic ad network vs. Google display network.

If the user's search terms match those of the Google display ad, the unit appears at the top of the search result page. You can see the display ads example of Google ads (search) in the picture below.

search display ad

Apart from search, Google ads can also be served programmatically; they are targeted according to the myriads of targeting criteria, not only search terms. Such a Google display ad typically looks like a banner ad and is placed on the website dynamically.

Below you can see Google display ad examples that take into account user data and adjust to each user individually.

While Google display ad example on the left features the ad that corresponds to the website's thematics (tourism), the one on the right features automation solutions.

display ad google

Contextual display ads are those ads that are placed on the website dynamically and, in the majority of cases, programmatically. This means every new user who enters the website or app sees a unique ad unit generated specifically for them. Again, technology is somehow similar to Google ads.

How do these display ads work? Through the application of smart media-buying algorithms that ensure that this or that ad unit may be interesting or useful to a particular user.

If you want to dig deeper into how these algorithms work, read about programmatic advertising and the programmatic ecosystem.

If an advertiser wants to find nearby customers, the best way to entice users will be by employing geotargeting mobile technologies. Below you can see how to make it work for display ad examples that we will review today.

rich media ad tergeting

7 main purposes of display ads

Marketers and advertisers can use a single display ad for a variety of reasons, including campaign types, branding, and performance advertising. The digital marketing purposes that you can achieve with them will boil down to the following 7:

  1. increase brand awareness and recall;
  2. draw attention to current offers, events, promotions, and new products in stock;
  3. build a positive company image;
  4. increase the site exposure and increase traffic to the site;
  5. find and attract new audiences that will be interested in the company's products and services;
  6. create a demand for certain products or services;
  7. increase sales.

Best display ads come in different forms — text, image, video, and more. These effective display ads deliver a great value proposition to the users and amplify any marketing strategy.


Those are static or animated images, often containing text, sometimes sound. Banners are great display ads that hook users to click on the ad. A great example is a simple ad banner with a humorous image and short text.

  • Static banner with text — the banner that can appear at the top, middle, and bottom. It doesn't contain media or interactive elements, only text, and links. Here's an example of display ads of this kind:

static ads example

Find more static ad examples and dynamic examples of display advertising in our blog post.

  • Rich media banners — ads that unfold on top of the page's content, often accompanied by audio and video.

rich media

  • Expandable banner — a two-in-one banner that expands upon click or interaction. The user sees a static or moving info image of small size, which is expanded by 100%, typically when they hover the cursor over it. After this action, the rest of the content expands. Examples of display advertisements like this can be seen below.

banner video

  • Pop-under banner opens in a separate browser window, sometimes on top of the current page. The concept is to stay in contact with the user even after they close the webpage.

Display advertisement example for pop-under banner (below):

pop-up and pop-under banners

Banners are the most widespread type of display ads; what's also particular — they are universal because any ad platform supports them. Their characteristics, width, height, and types may vary depending on the ecosystem they are served in.

They are also considered the most affordable of all formats, especially when served in small sizes.

Find popular banner ad examples with popular banner sizes and resolutions on the banner ad formats page.

Video ads

Those ad units are posted on major video hosting services (YouTube, Vimeo), entertainment, or news portals. Typically it is a short commercial that lasts up to 15 seconds and features a CTA at the end with links that lead the user to the landing page.

By the way, recently, Disney introduced its new streaming service plans with pricing models based on AVOD. The new offering will allow advertisers to capture the audience's attention with ads (typically videos) while users get the chance to pay less for subscriptions.

Video ads are also super popular among brands that advertise on CTV.

your ad

Video ad works best for detailed product descriptions and effectively addresses such pain point as banner blindness.

There are:

  • Pre-rolls;
  • Mid-roll and post-roll;
  • Overlay videos.

Specifics of pre-roll advertising as well as mid-roll and post-roll ads we've discussed in the previous article. In a nutshell, pre-rolls appear before the video content, mid-rolls in the middle, and post-rolls at the end.

native advertising in youtube

Overlay video ads consist of image or text blocks at the bottom of the playing video and remain on the screen until the video ends.

The easiest way to get these ads to work is to feature your product or service in detail. No other marketing strategies work like video ad format.

Display ads example (rewarded)

If you want to launch responsive ads, the best ads for you will be rewarded videos. This ad helps to grab the user's attention through in-game rewards.

rw toggler 1

If you want to see the video display ad examples and more excellent display ads, check how our video ad formats can work for you.

Native ads

Those ad units look organically on a website since they merge with the rest of the website content. While the screen displays ads, the users get valuable information along with an ad copy, which can be reposted afterward.

  • Example 1: Sponsored post or video. You can see the display ad example of a sponsored article or video below. These ad creatives look like the rest of the editorial content and are marked as "sponsored", which means they include commercial content.

These are the best display ads because they have a good value proposition — the posted content is often useful and valuable to the users, so it gets frequently reposted. Plus, it effectively fights the common pain point of advertisers — banner blindness.

mobile native advertising 4

  • Example 2: Recommendation widget. You can notice recommendation blocks at the bottom (or at the sidebar) when reading the article. As soon as you click on one of those recommendation blocks, you are redirected to another web source, the landing page containing promotional materials. Display ad example of this you can see below.

native ads samples 5

Native ads are believed to be the least intrusive formats since they are not distracting or flashy; they look like the rest of the page content. It can take the form of a sponsored post, a recommendation widget, or other ads.

Want to see what the rest of the native display ad examples look like? Check out how you can start with our native ad formats.

Benefits of display advertising

Why use display advertising? Display advertising has remained one of the most widely used forms of online advertising throughout the last decades. Why is it so, and what is one of the major benefits of display ads?

The reach provided by display advertising is clearly one of its biggest assets — you can show your display advertising creative to millions of people worldwide because the format is universal and is supported by almost all ad platforms.

The huge variety of display sizes and formats allows you to create a perfectly resonating message for your audience.

Plenty of targeting solutions bring in the major benefits of display ads. With their help, marketers can achieve a wide range of business goals, from brand awareness to increased conversions and revenue.

Join SmartyAds DSP

Display ads best practices

For 50% of companies, creative design is a crucial element of success. Here are some tips on how to create the best display ads:

Come up with a clear message

It is widespread among advertisers to use display campaigns during the stages of awareness and consideration.

Start with the precise intention — what do you want to communicate to your audience? What is your offer, and how is it different from competitors?

Make sure your message is consistent with the image

It should also match the webpage where users land after encountering your ad. Finally, ensure your call-to-action also underlines the unique benefits of your offers.

Avoid click-bait and generic messaging, as this can annoy users and harm the first impression your business makes. If you want to learn the formula of best display ads examples, see how the messaging can be crafted below.

How to hook people in with the right messaging?

There are several ways to create a positive attitude towards the advertised product or service and engage people with your offer:

  • Offer a discount for sharing information about your business on social media;
  • Underline the limited time when your product or service is available with a discount;
  • Offer additional bonuses for purchase;
  • For B2B products, offer a free trial (7 days-1 month);
  • Offer free gifts to the first 10-100 buyers of the advertised product or service;
  • Offer free delivery and underline it in your display ad creative.

Here's a display ad example that illustrates it:

display ad creative example

Create a functional display advertising unit

Display advertising comes in a variety of forms, sizes, formats, and advertisers are fighting to make a stance because of the tightening competition.

On top of effective hooks and messaging, you should also consider how to make your ad unit functional.

A highly functional ad unit not only covers the customer's acute needs but also recognizes the true motives and feelings of people who buy this product or service.

display ad messaging

Such an offer lets you communicate the needs of your target audience effectively as it appeals to their needs. Plus, it provides additional opportunities to draw app installs and advertise with push ads when users stay near your physical store.

Try to understand the pain points of your target audience, then think about how you can solve these problems without promoting your products or services directly.

Display ads example with a compelling message might also lead to the web page. In this case, it should include a vivid call-to-action like on display ad example below.

display native ad example

Maintain structure

Every display ad should have a structure and defined elements that could be rearranged to fit various display ad sizes and formats. The most fundamental elements of a display ad include the following:

Your company's name and logo should be clearly visible in order to make your brand recognizable and eye-catching.

A value proposition containing the main message should take up most space on your display ad creative.

Visual elements that would showcase your products and illustrate offers. These usually play a complementary role or serve as a background, depending on the product advertised.

Don't forget about the call-to-action. A call-to-action is usually a link or a button that should lead the customer to an optimized and well-matched landing page with the actual offer. In fact, a call-to-action works as a magic "kick" — it pushes the users to take action and explains what they should do after reading the message in your display ad — call, come, click, etc.

In some cases, a simple call-to-action button optimization with the web page increased leads by over 200%. Here is a "Bluehost" example of display ads with all these elements. Clearly state what specifically the user needs to do in order to take advantage of your special offer.

Best display ads examples teach us that the images shouldn't distract users from the text, so make sure that your value proposition and the CTA are the most visible elements.

Pay attention to image specifications

Once you've come up with the fundamental elements and structure, it is time to dive into visual details such as your display banner ad sizes, formats, and other specifications.

It is important to choose a suitable ad size. IAB offers a comprehensive classification of possible ad unit sizes, which includes medium rectangle (300x250), large rectangle (336x280), wide skyscraper (160x600), leaderboard (728x90), billboard (970x250), and many others.

Responsive display ads and ads on mobile devices also require adjusting the ad units to the right dimensions. Always optimize ads for multiple devices.

standard ad units

Which ad sizes work better?

As you can see, there are plenty of sizes and resolutions to choose from when you want to create the best display ads.

  • Big ad sizes and full-screen creatives are considered to be the most memorable. Creatives of such sizes are especially popular for creating immersive connected TV ad campaigns (display ad example below).

display ad CTV

  • Medium ad sizes can be universal because they are supported by the majority of online ad platforms and screens (mobile, in-app, desktop, CTV).
  • Small ad units are specifically popular in mobile, tablet, and in-app ecosystems. Since ad space in such environments is pretty much limited, smaller ad sizes are preferable to bigger or medium ones. Such display ad example for mobile you can see below.

display mobile example

Create a consistent color scheme

Ensure your ads are eye-catching enough with colors to grab users' attention and generate great click-through rates. Don't forget that your digital marketing campaign should match your overall brand image and deliver a solid value proposition.

display ad color scheme

Pick the right frequency

Finally, the rules of display ads state it is important to keep an eye on ad frequency (which can depend on many factors; see the picture below). If it is too low, the users will forget about you; if it is too high, they will be annoyed.

Normally, one user should see the ad from 3 to 5 times daily in order to memorize the message and yet stay engaged. However, it depends a lot on your business goals and the specifics of your niche. Thus, we recommend adhering to the best niche practices and professional opinions.

Generally, CPC campaigns work best with a 1/24 daily frequency cap, and for CPM, it can increase up to 3/24.

setting frequency cap

Targeting and retargeting with display ads

Best display ads examples can teach you several things: they include a compelling messaging/offer, they appear in the right format (that suits the digital environment), and they are always shown to the right users at the right time.

Programmatic equips you with tools that help reach your target audience easily.

For instance, on a demand-side platform like SmartyAds, you can select who will watch your ad (age, OS, browser, device type, geolocation of the user, etc.) This way, you will be spending ad budgets that will be served only to potential customers.

You can choose the precise timing of the day when the ad will appear in front of your target audiences. This way, you can show your best display ads to the users when they are most active.

ad trafficking dayparting

In case it's not your first display campaign, you can set up a retargeting display campaign.

For instance, if the initial campaign addressed your audience through a desktop channel, you need to capture their attention on mobile during the retargeting campaign.

Checklist: things you should do before airing a campaign

  • Landing page. Prepare the landing page where the users will flock after following the link in your creatives. Specify the link to the specific webpage of the service or product you offer in the creative.
  • Select the channels. Assess the interests of your target audience and analyze which sites and channels they visit most often. Define several most popular channels among your potential users, for instance, mobile web and in-app environments. Craft your display advertising formats according to the size/width/resolution requirements of these channels.
  • Prepare to optimize. If you plan your display ad campaign for several months, it is worth preparing several creative options with a call-to-action. You will also have to optimize brand awareness KPI every two weeks to boost your campaign performance. Machine learning on programmatic platforms also helps you to optimize campaigns automatically.

brand awareness kpi

How to analyze display ad campaign performance

Since display ad campaigns are used for interaction at the upper level of the funnel, it's important to take into account brand awareness performance indicators.

See display campaign examples below to find out how to measure them on advertising platforms like SmartyAds.

The reports that you can generate in real time contain aggregated information regarding the number of impressions, ad spend, bids, and clicks.

dsp19 reports 2graph

Seeing the dynamics of your display campaign over time, you can understand how it performs and whether you need to change the flow and optimize it more.

Aside from basic performance indicators, you can also use a 3-party tag to track how users interact with your display ad unit. See how to configure ad tags in the DSP guidelines.

dsp19 creative 3party-tag video

To wrap it up

There are so many successful display ad examples that you can incorporate into your media mix in order to increase brand awareness.

Display ads allow marketers to solve several tasks at once: sharing the brand's story, loyalty to the brand, and engagement.

Display advertising examples and the best display ads that we featured in this article prove that as long as ad units are individualized through targeting and have the right messaging delivery timing, your campaigns will always show great effectiveness.

Sign up today and build the best display advertising strategy with SmartyAds DSP!

Advertise on SmartyAds DSP