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Display Advertising: The Breakthrough Tool for PR Agencies

ad spend, banner ads, breakthrough PR tool, Display advertising, eZanga, Marketing, Michelle Brammer, paid search, Pr, PR agencies, PR tools, product retargeting, Public relationsBy Michelle Brammer, Marketing Manager, eZanga

Display advertising commands large portions of ad spend. Poised to surpass search ad spend in the U.S., it’s causing PR organizations to rethink their digital go-to-market strategy. If you’re only focusing on your search strategy, and many of you are, you’re missing a key opportunity to pull ahead of your competitors.

What Is Display Advertising?

Simply put, display advertising is advertising that appears on a website. Display ads include banner ads, text, images, video, audio, flash, or even sponsored ads/content. You’ve absolutely seen them, and sometimes they follow you around the web to various websites. They’re highly visual, relying on copy, images, video, and even audio, to capture your attention and garner a click.


How Is It Different from Paid Search?

Pay per click marketing is a form of search advertising. It matches keywords with those agencies bidding on that keyword. For example, when I search for ‘PR Agencies’ on Google, firms bidding on the keyword—‘PR Agencies’—appear as a paid advertisement.


Display advertising is a little different, however. Typically used for branding, it targets specific profiles and demographics, and is often where someone might be retargeted from a prior search like ‘PR Agencies.’ Think of it like this—have you ever researched a product or service, and then it follows you website to website? That’s retargeting, and display advertising is a ripe outlet for retargeted campaigns.

How Can My Agency Use Display Advertising?

Display advertising helps boost brand awareness and trust with consumers by using visual messages, something everyone looks to achieve. There are many ways you can use display advertising to amplify your agency.

Retargeting a Product or Service

Someone looking for PR agencies may be looking to help brand their company or divert attention from a crisis. Scope is important and many savvy consumers turn to search engines to point them in the right direction.


Surprisingly, not a single PR agency is using pay per click advertising to target this long-tail keyword. That’s the first opportunity.

Second, if you’re a PR agency like Chicago-based Emerging Insider Communications, your website highlights you specialize in crisis communications. A visit to their website to scope out their specialities could yield a retargeting campaign to follow the researcher across the web, if they have a retargeting campaign set up.


This keeps your agency front and center as they move around the web. Plus, with so few PR agencies doing paid advertising, let alone retargeting to clients, your branding and value is always front of mind.

Call Attention to Your Asset

Crisis can often be averted and Austin, Texas based Manzer Communications understands that value. By offering a free whitepaper outlining how to write a crisis communications manual before it is needed, they get the names and email addresses of companies that may be in need of this service.

For Manzer, this means direct access to the decision maker’s name, their email address, and their pain point—crisis communication—which makes that opening phone call a cinch. By using display advertising, Manzer can take this free asset further and target keywords for crisis communications, garnishing contact information of those otherwise unaware of Manzer Communications.


Show You’re Better Than Your Competition

Remember, display advertising can help you retarget a message to an audience looking for your product or service. Why not use this active audience to ‘pitch’ why you should be considered over competitors?

PR firm Weber Shandwick is competitive in the agency space and likely under consideration by brands big and small. They are good, but how good is made clear with their back-to-back honors for global public relations agency of the year via PRWeek. By leveraging their award, it shows they’re a step-above the competition without ever mentioning their competitors. This, too, can be done with display advertising.


Display advertising is growing rapidly and can be easily triggered by simply understanding the user, their profile, and some basic information like interests, search history, location, or even past behavior. These ads are excellent for branding campaigns as well as targeted conversion campaigns, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept.

A/B test your campaigns, copy, and creative to find your optimal mix, and you’ll be sure to generate successful display ad campaigns for your company and your clients.

Michelle Brammer is perfecting inbound marketing channels and the multi-channel experience as the Director of Marketing for the digital marketing firm She helps media agencies recognize inefficiencies in their pay per call, pay per click, and ad fraud solutions to strengthen their clients’ brands, strategy, and ROI.

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