Insights from Sem.co Study: Display Advertising Statistics

Research Methodology

We initiated the study by listing 61,462 top GDN advertisers and 63,823 publishers, categorizing them by industry. Utilizing our Display Advertising tool, we collected recent data and applied internal algorithms to assign relevance scores to each domain, focusing on English-speaking countries like the US, UK, India, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Google’s Display network holds the title of being the world’s largest, boasting a staggering 90% reach among internet users globally. However, it’s not uncommon for marketers to approach this aspect of the marketing platform with some hesitancy.

Yet, despite any reservations, there’s a vast potential waiting to be tapped into. With over two million diverse websites and upwards of 650,000 apps in its arsenal, your ads have the opportunity to reach your audience wherever they may roam online. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about diving in, rest assured that the possibilities for connection and engagement are boundless.

In an effort to alleviate some of those concerns, Sem.co has gathered data from over 40 million impressions from leading Google Display Network (GDN) ecommerce advertisers, along with 23 million impressions from top GDN ecommerce publishers. This comprehensive dataset was extracted using our Display Advertising tool, and it’s all recent, sourced within the past three months.

Consequently, we’ve unearthed valuable insights to assist ecommerce advertising specialists and businesses in leveraging the display network effectively. By adopting a more data-driven approach, they can generate more leads, increase sales, and ultimately boost profitability.

Research Methodology

Curious about our methodology? We began by compiling a roster of the top 61,462 GDN advertisers and 63,823 leading publishers, categorizing them by industry. Using our Display Advertising tool, we gathered pertinent data from the past three months and assigned each domain a score ranging from 1 to 100. This score was determined by internal algorithms, assessing the relevance of each domain to its respective industry. Our study focused on English-speaking countries such as the US, UK, India, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

When referring to “ecommerce sites,” we specifically targeted those utilizing the GDN for online ad placement within the Shopping niche. Given the broad appeal of this category, many of our readers can readily apply this actionable data to their own campaigns.

Excited to delve into the insights we’ve uncovered? Here’s a glimpse into what we’ve discovered.

The Data: Ecommerce Industry Stats & How to Apply The Findings To Your Campaigns

The lifespan of online ads is fleeting, often lasting mere seconds, with over half receiving consideration for just a brief moment. Nevertheless, behind each campaign lies a wealth of strategic deliberation, encompassing considerations such as placement, targeting, sizing, messaging, and medium.

When orchestrated effectively, this strategic approach can yield dividends, even within the blink of an eye; a successful ad prompts a click and, ideally, a conversion. Ultimately, the aim is to craft compelling creatives tailored to the appropriate audience, capturing their attention and guiding them towards a purchase.

Audience Targeting

Effective audience targeting stands as a cornerstone of success for advertisers within the display network. Precision in targeting enables advertisers to reach users based on interests, demographics, their relationship to the brand, and their position within the sales funnel. Any misstep in targeting can swiftly derail campaigns, making it a critical factor that can make or break success.

In our research, we gathered data on the demographics of audiences exposed to campaigns within the Shopping category by advertisers, as well as those who viewed ads from publishers specializing in the Shopping niche.

Firstly, let’s explore the gender and age distribution within these audiences.

Advertisers

Based on our compiled data, advertisers must carefully consider the age and gender dynamics of their target audience and how these factors can influence their response to and engagement with specific creative content.

Women, for instance, exhibit a higher propensity for online shopping compared to men, with a 30% higher click-through rate on ecommerce sites. They tend to view online shopping as a leisure activity, favoring softer color palettes in ads. Conversely, men display a preference for cross-device shopping and are drawn to brighter, more vibrant ad visuals.

In terms of age demographics, a significant portion (54%) of the audience engaging with ecommerce brand ads falls within the 25 to 44 age bracket. Advertisers should prioritize this segment and tailor their ads accordingly to resonate with their preferences and shopping behaviors.

Individuals within this age group are typically deliberate in their purchase decisions, conducting thorough research before making a purchase. They prioritize quality over quantity and value authenticity and deals. As such, advertisers should integrate these insights into their marketing strategy, recognizing that while this demographic may take longer to shop, they are likely to convert when presented with the right product and messaging.

Publishers

Now, let’s delve into the demographic insights pertaining to the publishers within the Shopping niche.

The demographic distribution among publishers within the Shopping niche closely mirrors that of advertisers, indicating that ecommerce brands have adeptly grasped and effectively reached their intended audience.

Topic Similarity

Expanding to new audiences presents a persistent challenge for PPC specialists, who must continually test new interest combinations to prevent audience burnout. In our study, we examined the prevalent interests among visitors to ecommerce sites.

According to our research, visitors to ecommerce websites demonstrate a notable interest in topics such as beauty & fitness (36%), business & industrial (13%), and hobbies & leisure (10%).

To capitalize on these insights, we recommend leveraging our Display Advertising tool to scrutinize the strategies employed by advertisers in these industries. By doing so, you can glean valuable insights and secure top-notch ideas for your own campaigns.

Absolutely, it’s crucial to keep a keen eye on publishers within the food & drink and beauty & fitness industries. Incorporating these publishers into your strategies can enhance campaign effectiveness. By analyzing their tactics, adjusting your campaigns as needed, and experimenting with new ad formats, you can optimize your outreach and engagement within these lucrative sectors.

Cross-Device Targeting Is Key

The debate between desktop and mobile advertising is perennial, yet intriguingly, the leading advertisers in the Shopping niche display no strong preference for either platform. Our analysis reveals that impressions of their ads are evenly distributed across devices, ranging from 16% to 22%.

As a result, cross-device ad targeting emerges as a favored strategy among these advertisers. This approach enables them to effectively engage their target audience at every stage of the ad journey. This is crucial, considering that the path to purchase often involves a meandering route rather than a direct trajectory, with consumers navigating through multiple touchpoints before conversion.

If you’re an advertiser restricting your campaigns to particular devices, think about incorporating cross-device targeting to expand your reach and boost impressions.

Our analysis revealed that over 23 million impressions from leading GDN ecommerce publishers were evenly spread across all devices, contrasting with ecommerce advertisers. This distribution pattern likely stems from the diverse segments of the target audience visiting publishers’ sites. As a result, ads across various devices are utilized to capture their attention and prompt specific actions.

Leaderboard Ads Are Advertising Leaders

The size and placement of ads play a crucial role in capturing a user’s attention and enticing clicks, as expected.

Based on our analysis, Google’s top-performing ad sizes, namely 728×90 and 300×250, also happen to be the most commonly encountered ad sizes in 2019 thus far.

The 728×90, known as the “leaderboard,” emerges as the preferred ad size among advertisers in the Shopping niche, particularly in English-speaking countries. Positioned above the fold on forum sites, this size effectively grabs viewers’ attention before they delve into the site’s content.

Meanwhile, the 300×250 size, dubbed the “medium rectangle,” proves its effectiveness by occupying a significant portion of space and accommodating both text and display ads on mobile and desktop platforms. Placing these ads in text-heavy sites, preferably towards the middle or end of the on-site content, yields optimal results.

Advertisers should not overlook the “large rectangle” format, sized at 336×280 pixels, despite its slightly lower priority compared to the medium rectangle. Publishers utilize this size as consistently as the medium option, presenting an opportunity for advertisers to capitalize on less competition in this space.

Furthermore, the “banner” ad format, measuring 468×60 pixels, ranks as the third most popular placement option. Positioned prominently towards the top of websites, these ads are highly visible and are more likely to capture user attention, making them a valuable consideration to prevent missed opportunities.

Top GDN ecommerce publishers are split relatively equally when it comes to “leaderboards” and “medium rectangle” ad sizes.

The 300×250 ads stood out as remarkably dynamic, owed to their widespread availability online and cross-device compatibility, rendering them a favored option among advertisers.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that not all ad messages are suited for such limited space. In such scenarios, vertically elongated ads serve as an excellent alternative, enabling advertisers to present larger messages and images. Moreover, these ads enjoy prolonged visibility on the viewer’s screen, as users must scroll down further to disengage, thereby maximizing viewability.

There Is A Big Gap Between Images and Responsive Ad

In 2017, the landscape was markedly different. Images dominated responsive ads in the retail industry, comprising 68% compared to 32%. However, this trend has undergone a shift.

By 2019, it’s evident that advertisers in the ecommerce sector are placing a greater emphasis on responsive ads. An overwhelming 72% of the display ads analyzed were responsive ads. This strategic shift makes sense given that ecommerce advertisers face constraints in time and resources yet need to promote a vast array of products. They’ve found responsive ads to be the most efficient way to reach users across the display network.

If you’re currently relying solely on image-only formats, it’s worth considering a change.

In contrast, among the top ecommerce publishers in the GDN, there’s a more balanced distribution between image and responsive ads. Publishers are likely experimenting with different ad formats to determine which will yield a higher click-through rate (CTR).

Top Publishers To Look At

After assessing the most popular publishers in the ecommerce sector, we suggest incorporating these placements into your display campaigns and evaluating their performance. These publishers were utilized by our top advertisers, indicating their effectiveness in reaching the target audience. Testing these placements can provide valuable insights into their suitability for your campaigns.

What This Means to Marketers

Advertisers operating within the ecommerce industry, whether as publishers or advertisers, should pay close attention to these findings to glean insights into the strategies employed by top performers on the display network. By understanding why their campaigns are successful, you can adopt some of these strategies to enhance your own campaigns.

Here’s how you can adapt these best practices for your own display campaigns:

  1. Go cross-device: Ensure your campaigns are optimized for various devices to maximize reach and engagement.
  2. Focus on responsive ads: Emphasize the use of responsive ads to streamline your advertising efforts and effectively reach your target audience.
  3. Add recommended publishers and topics to your list: Incorporate the publishers and topics recommended based on our findings into your campaign targeting to expand your reach within the ecommerce niche.
  4. Test different ad formats, including leaderboard ads: Experiment with various ad formats, including leaderboard ads, to determine which resonates best with your audience and yields the highest performance.

These tactics have proven successful for top advertisers in the ecommerce industry, making them worth testing in your own campaigns. However, it’s crucial to conduct thorough split testing to ensure the effectiveness of these strategies for your specific audience. Ultimately, the success of your campaigns hinges on their performance and resonance with your target audience.

What If I Would Like to Get Research Findings for My Niche?

In this study, our focus was primarily on the ecommerce industry. Nonetheless, we’ve also gathered data on an additional 24 industries. If you’re interested in receiving insights from a specific industry, feel free to let us know in the comments. We can publish the research findings from your industry next!