Why SME's should not dismiss the power of display Advertising

- September 19, 2012 3 MIN READ


Online advertising in Australia exceeded $3billion for the first time this year . With the social media revolution and the rise of Pay Per Click (PPC) dominating the minds of many CEOs in Australian businesses, the humble display ad is often discarded as irrelevant. But should this really be the case? Leading online marketing services company, ReachLocal explains why small businesses in Australia shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss display advertising.

Steven Prestidge, general manager, ReachLocal Australia said: “Every small business should have a digital strategy, but many misguidedly spend their online advertising budget in ways that aren’t going to help their business get ahead. PPC can be right for some smaller businesses, but they shouldn’t be swept up in the PPC whirlwind without thinking about which type of advertising will get them the best results.”

Small fish, big pond

Many businesses think that PPC will offer them the best return on investment. For larger companies, this can certainly be the case, but with big corporations competing in the same space, it can be very hard for small to medium businesses to be noticed. This is especially true in an industry such as finance, which spends millions every year on PPC. Coupled with the rising cost of PPC, it is almost impossible for smaller businesses to compete. Returning to display advertising in these circumstances can actually offer Australian business a better cut through rate, and offer an improved cost per customer view.

Cost clarity

PPC costs vary hugely and even closely related search terms can see significant cost differences. For example the words ‘home loan’ would cost significantly less than the words ‘cheap home loan’. In this way PPC needs a great deal of planning and analysis to ensure the best return on investment.  Small businesses often have tight budgets, so the drawback of having a successful PPC campaign can be unexpectedly high costs. With display advertising there is one fixed upfront price so many businesses may find they are better able to manage their budgets in this way. 


Display advertising is still experiencing strong growth. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau general display advertising increased by 15 per cent over the 12 months ending June 2012 and accounted for 27 per cent of advertising in Australia .  This growth shows that display advertising is still relevant and flourishing, but also offers a less crowded market in which to place your ads.

Measuring display is possible

It is now possible to measure the success of your display advertising, just as you would PPC. By putting a unique email/phone number on ads you can keep track of any leads generated by the ad.
Steven Prestidge, general manager, ReachLocal Australia said:  “Although online advertising is not a new phenomenon, many businesses still struggle to understand how to implement a successful online ad campaign. Google is to the last decade what Yellow Pages was to the 90s. Everybody uses it, but only a few really know how to maximise its potential. For many small and medium Australian businesses display advertising still offers a real opportunity to generate leads and customers. Despite the many benefits PPC can offer some companies, it’s important to consider which type of advertising will work best for your specific needs”.

In order to get the best from their advertising campaigns Australian businesses should plan them ahead of time and continuously monitor the results. ReachLocal suggests the top three things to remember to maximise your return on advertising investment.

1. Consider competitors’ strength and presence. Small businesses are unlikely to be able to compete in the PPC market against large national or international businesses. Look at who is already using key words suitable for your business.

2. Set your budget and stick to it. If you decide to commit to PPC, make sure you monitor how much of your budget is being used and adjust accordingly.

3. Track your leads. Whichever advertising medium you choose, make sure you track your leads and outcomes to help streamline future campaigns. Set up unique email addresses and phone numbers where possible to do this.