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What is display advertising? Top Formats and Ad Sizes Explained

This term simply refers to web-based ad campaigns. Display ads are the advertisements that you see on almost every webpage you visit, most commonly in the form of 728×90 leaderboards or 300×250 rectangles.

Selling Display Ads

Display ads can be bought and sold in three primary ways:

  • Through a network or exchange (such as AdSense)
  • Through a marketplace (such as BuySellAds)
  • Directly through sales team

Most sites that monetize their traffic through display advertising will utilize the first method above. As of 2013, Google AdSense alone includes two million publishers who earned $7 billion annually in revenue. Larger sites, however, will often employ a direct sales team responsible for selling ads.

Forms of Display Ads

In recent years the number of display ad formats has increased significantly. While the standard units that make the Universal Ad Package still account for a large percentage of total impressions, there are many more high impact ad units now available. The links below to the IAB site as well as the rich media gallery have numerous examples of the ad units now available to both advertisers and publishers.

Examples of Display Ad FormatsPricing Display Ads

There are two primary ways that publishers are compensated for running display ads:

  1. Cost per Impression (CPM): Under this model, advertisers pay for every impression of theirs that is served.
  2. Cost per Click (CPC): Under this model, publishers get paid whenever a visitor to their site clicks on an ad. Most ad networks and exchanges operate under CPC pricing arrangements.

In some cases, display ads will be priced on a cost per action or CPA basis. However, this is more common under affiliate marketing models.

Display advertising is the most common monetization strategy for web publishers, and for good reason.

Display advertising is extremely easy to activate; with dozens of ad networks available, even small publishers can be up and running with a minimal amount of work. There is also typically an unlimited supply of advertisements available; if you’re able to attract the visitors, display advertising presents an opportunity to monetize them.

Another advantage is the stability of earnings. Even under CPC arrangements, display ad revenue tends to be very stable from week to week for most sites. Moreover, display advertising is generally compatible with other monetization strategies.

The primary disadvantage of display advertising relates to the relatively low payouts. Many publishers will generate only a few dollars (if they’re lucky) for every thousand pageviews they are able to generate. For many, that means that millions of monthly views are required in order to have any meaningful amount of revenue.

As noted above, AdSense paid out $7 billion to about two million publishers in 2012. That seems like a tremendous amount of money, but it actually only translates to about $3,500 per publisher for the entire year. In other words, most sites being monetized through display ads have very limited success.

The benefit and disadvantage to display advertising

All advertising strategy comes with pros and cons and it’s including display advertising. Here what you should know about pros and cons using display advertising. 


  • Diversity: display ads come with many shapes and sizes in the ad format. You can choose your style and ad format that will help you achieve your goal
  • Reach: using display advertising you can have access to millions of sites that show your ads
  • Targeting: you can target your audiences by placing your ads on the right website. This includes demographic, geo-targeting, along with specific interest or your audiences
  • Measurable: all your ads performance can be tracked includes clicks, impressions, and conversion


  • Banner Blindness: because of the too many display ads, many users come to ignore them completely. Solution: running remarketing to your audiences who has engaged with your brand
  • Adblocker: adblocker has risen in popularity over the last few years. This made many ads have been blocked without being seen by the audiences. Solution: there are many ad network platforms that provide anti adblocker technology that you can try.


What is display advertising?

Display advertising (banner ads) are one of the methods to attract the audiences of a website, social media, or another digital medium using text, photo, animation, video, or other graphics. Advertisers pay for specific keywords and bid to appear on specific types of websites. 

What are the correct display advertising formats and ad sizes?

There are many formats provided in display advertising. But most performing display ad size is medium rectangles (300x250),  large rectangles (336x280), leaderboard (728x90), half page (300x600), large mobile banner (320x100)

What Are The Types of Display Advertising? 

There are many forms of display but the main types are banner ads, interstitial ads, rich media, videos, and contextual.