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Is display advertising the career for you?

Published: June 11, 2013

Author: Sean Nowlin

lumascape display
If you’re interested in display, there are…plenty of options.

One of the more surprising things I have learned so far in my display career is the disparity of good talent. In the digital marketing space, there just don’t seem to be that many people with great display experience. But I don’t think that it’s because people lack the skills or ability to work the job. This is more about people not really knowing display advertising exists within the digital marketing space.
I mean, everyone knows banner ads exist, and if you’re a search marketer, you are super-aware of the Google Display Network. But even then, display still tends to play second fiddle to search.
So, in an attempt to get more people interested in coming over to the display side of things, I thought this might be a good time to state the case. If you’re good at these four things, you might be a candidate for a display advertising career.


You don’t have to be a designer or proficient in creating banner in Flash. But do you ever walk the aisles of your local grocery store and wonder why they heck they stacked those boxes of Coke in the shape of a football? Or maybe you get irritated that your favorite flavor of salsa is on the bottom shelf?
When evaluating a potential website partner, understanding what constitutes good placement on a page will help you pick efficient spots. Your instincts will work in determining why placement A and placement B on the same page are good – just maybe at different price points.


Do you get a thrill out of giving car salesmen a tough time? Do you automatically call the landscaper and tell him, sure you can win this bid, but for $200 less?
Being able to negotiate a deal is paramount in this side of the business. And it’s one of the biggest differences between my fellow search colleagues and our display team. We have to work with multiple publishers or other partners on a daily basis.  And you have to be able to seek the best deal.


Do you dig sports statistics? Do you love to track the rise and fall of your favorite company’s stock? In display advertising, monitoring trends takes on two faces.
First, you have campaign results. Being able to spot a trend (positive or negative) and act on it immediately is another key skill.  If you live for the trend line, then this is for you.
The second face of trends in display is more about what’s new in the industry.  If you can stay ahead of the competition when it comes to ad tech, new strategies, or new sources of inventory, then you will do well in display.


One of my favorite aspects of display is the ability to tell a story. Using a simple Flash banner, anyone can tell a quick story about a brand or service.
Display gives an advertiser the power to create demand for a product. And without demand, there is no search advertising. If you would love to help advertisers convey their message to the public, then display is definitely for you.
These are just four attributes are just a handful of what makes a display advertising career interesting. If you’re in love with brands, advertising, Mad Men, fantasy football, or refusing to buy that extended warranty for your new car, then I suggest you think of working in display.

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