Demand Gen vs Display: Decoding the Best Strategies for Your Ads

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    albert somlith

    Co-Founder of PPC Ad Editor. I am a leader in digital marketing, specializing in strategic planning, implementation, and optimization.
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    When faced with ‘demand gen vs display’, marketers must decipher which will best meet their goals. Demand gen is about nurturing customer interest over time to build a pipeline of leads. Display ads are visual and immediate, aimed to quickly attract eyes and build awareness. We’ll provide insights into both strategies, outlining when and how to use each to your advantage.

    Key Takeaways


    • Demand Gen campaigns focus on creating interest and awareness to generate a sustainable pipeline of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by providing valuable content and leveraging multi-channel marketing.

    • Display advertising seeks to capture a broad audience’s attention with visually engaging, variously formatted ads, and is particularly adept at retargeting past website visitors and broadening brand awareness.

    • A successful marketing strategy may involve the integration of Demand Gen and Display ads to cover different stages in the sales funnel, using targeted content and attention-grabbing designs to nurture leads and attract initial interest.

    Understanding Demand Gen Campaigns


    Illustration of targeted marketing strategies

    Acting as strategic chess moves in the marketing game, new demand gen campaigns prioritize generating demand by creating interest and awareness among potential customers. It’s about planting seeds in fertile ground, where creativity meets data-driven decision-making to cultivate a vibrant garden of engagement. At its heart lies the art of attraction—drawing in those who’ve yet to discover your brand’s brilliance.

    Where content and consumer intersect, Demand Gen flourishes, providing valuable information and building trust to guide potential customers down the sales funnel. This isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon, with the finish line being a sustainable pipeline of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that bloom into loyal patrons, all while nurturing brand awareness and trust.

    The Core Objectives of Demand Gen


    The core objectives of Demand Gen campaigns are:

    These objectives act as lighthouses, illuminating the path through the foggy seas of marketing and contributing to brand lift.

    Rather than casting a wide net, Demand Gen campaigns fish with precision, leveraging multi-channel marketing to maximize engagement and reach. From social media to email blasts, SEO to paid ads, each channel is a tuned instrument in your marketing orchestra, harmonizing to achieve measurable objectives like increased traffic, lead capture, and sales conversions.

    Key Tactics in Demand Gen Strategies


    Just like crafting a riveting novel, creating engaging content should educate potential customers and highlight your expertise, guiding them step by step through the buying cycle. Marketing automation tools are the pens and quills of Demand Gen, enhancing lead scoring and nurturing through personalized segmentation and messaging.

    Looking into the crystal ball of targeting, Demand Gen strategists gaze at lookalike audiences, finding new prospects that mirror the best of their existing customers. It’s a melting pot of creativity and strategy, where A/B testing and bid strategies simmer together to optimize campaigns for clicks or conversions.

    CRM systems also play a crucial role—they record every customer interaction, from the initial contact to the final sale.

    Measuring Success in Demand Gen


    Measuring the success of Demand Gen campaigns can be compared to monitoring a garden’s health—identifying what’s thriving and what requires more attention. Key metrics like conversion rate, cost per lead, and customer lifetime value are the nutrients that feed your strategy, helping you fine-tune your approach for optimal growth.

    Unraveling the effectiveness of your campaigns necessitates adept use of analytics tools, navigating your marketing strategies with precision. It’s about setting the right conversion goals that align with your advertising objectives and using CRM systems to quantify the transformation from lead to loyal customer.

    Display Advertising Explained


    Photo of visually compelling display ads

    Moving away from the targeted realm of Demand Gen, we delve into the extensive field of Display advertising. It’s a visual spectacle, a billboard on the digital highway aiming to capture attention with a splash of color and design across various platforms. From static to animated, interactive to video, Display ads come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own flair to catch the eye of the beholder.

    Display ads, including video ads, are like bright sparklers at your brand’s event, created to captivate and remain memorable to consumers. They flutter across screens, sometimes as retargeting messengers, reminding users of past encounters with your website and nudging them towards a conversion.

    Types of Display Ads


    Within the vast universe of Display ads, each one stands out with its unique appeal. Static ads are like the steady glow of a lighthouse, a fixed image that guides users to your brand. Animated ads, on the other hand, are the shooting stars, capturing attention with their movement and dynamic flair.

    Expand your horizons with interactive and rich media ads that offer a universe of possibilities—from games to video ad formats, they engage users in an immersive brand experience. The showstopper, expandable ads, are like origami—starting small and unfolding into something intricate and captivating upon user interaction.

    Advantages of Utilizing Display Ads


    Display ads resemble sunlight, spreading brand awareness across the broad expanse of the internet and reaching a wide range of audiences. They’re the chameleons of advertising, blending into the user’s journey through retargeting, transforming past interactions into future conversions. With various ad formats available, display ads can adapt to different user experiences and preferences.

    This retargeting strategy is not just effective; it’s a frugal choice for the cost-conscious marketer, delivering targeted ads that resonate with individual interests, leading to more engaging experiences and potentially higher conversion rates. It’s smart segmentation at its finest, tailoring your message to the unique interests and behaviors of each group, enhancing ad relevance and effectiveness.

    Tracking Performance with Display Ads


    In Display advertising, monitoring performance can be likened to stargazing. Click-through rates and impressions are the constellations that guide you, offering insights into user interactions and the reach of your ads. Engagement rates are the comets that streak across the sky, especially for video content, hinting at the interactive pull of your ads.

    Conversion tracking is the telescope that brings distant results into clear view, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your Display ad campaigns. It’s a compass for optimization, pointing you towards strategies that bolster the middle and bottom-funnel activities where retargeting shines brightest.

    Comparing Demand Gen and Display: Function and Focus


    Illustration of lead generation and brand awareness

    As we navigate the marketing landscape, it’s vital to differentiate between the roles and emphasis of Demand Gen and Display ads. Demand Gen serves as a beacon, drawing in leads with the promise of value and nurturing them to conversion. Display ads, with their broad strokes of visibility and brand awareness, are the loudspeakers that announce your brand’s presence to the world.

    Each strategy takes its part in the marketing orchestra—Demand Gen acts as a soloist with its captivating, targeted performance, while Display ads form the chorus, filling the hall with your brand’s harmonics. It’s a harmonious blend of focus and function, with each strategy hitting the right note at the right time.

    Target Audience and Intent


    Like the moon’s magnetic pull, Demand Gen campaigns attract the audience with a targeted approach, fostering brand awareness even before they commence their active search. It’s a strategy that speaks directly to potential new customers, inspiring them to take action upon discovery.

    Contrastingly, Display ads cast a wide net across the digital sea, aiming at a wider audience to broaden reach and quickly seize attention. They are the net that captures new audiences, sometimes through the allure of lookalike segments, enriching your customer base with those who share a kinship with your brand.

    Content and Creatives


    In the realm of Demand Gen, content reigns supreme, with campaigns creating a rich mosaic of images, videos, and calls to action that educate and engage potential leads. It’s a blend of art and science, using different assets to create a visually engaging experience that goes beyond mere aesthetics to inform and guide.

    Contrarily, Display ads are the crown jewels, concentrating on visually striking designs that swiftly grab the viewer’s attention in transient online moments. They’re a blend of visual creatives that sparkle in the vast advertising space, designed to mesmerize and make an instant impression.

    Strategic Integration: When to Use Demand Gen vs Display


    Strategic integration requires the skill of a maestro, discerning when to utilize the subtle strings of Demand Gen and when to dominate with the bold brass of Display ads. It’s about understanding your marketing goals, the behavior of your consumers, and how to orchestrate your budget to achieve harmonious results. Knowing when to deploy each strategy in the sales funnel—from awareness to decision-making—is key to maximizing their effectiveness.

    Factors like budget constraints and resources, including in-house expertise and tools for creating targeted content, might steer your decision between Demand Gen and Display advertising. It’s a dance of strategic choices, with each step carefully planned to align with your company’s objectives and the nuances of your target audience.

    Aligning with Marketing Goals


    Setting demand generation campaigns and Display campaigns in accordance with your marketing goals is akin to charting a course for success. When encouraging consumers to make a purchase, Demand Gen campaigns focus on the ‘Sales’ advertising goal, driving towards conversion with a targeted approach. Steering traffic to your website? Align Demand Gen with the ‘Website Traffic’ advertising goal for a surge of online visitors.

    For those consumers teetering in the consideration phase, Demand Gen can be the gentle push they need, offering tailored content that resonates with their product and brand considerations. Meanwhile, demand gen ads, like Display ads, are the lighthouses that maintain your brand’s presence, casting a steady glow that reinforces brand identity and nurtures existing customer relationships.

    Budget Considerations


    Budgeting for Demand Gen campaigns is like investing in a fruitful orchard—it’s a cost-effective strategy to reach and convert a large audience without breaking the bank. Setting a budget that’s at least 15 times the target CPA affords growth and optimization, ensuring your ads gain the visibility and prominence they deserve.

    Display advertising, however, requires a more nuanced approach to budgeting, where you must weigh the scales of CPC and ROAS to direct your expenditures efficiently. It’s about choosing the right bidding strategy that aligns with your goals and budget capabilities, whether it’s Maximizing Clicks or Maximizing Conversions.

    Tactical Synergy: Blending Demand Gen and Display for Maximum Impact


    Photo of blended Demand Gen and display ad campaigns

    Merging Demand Gen and Display ads is comparable to crafting an exquisite cocktail, fusing the depth of educational content with the vibrancy of attention-grabbing designs for optimal impact. Demand Gen draws prospects further into your brand story, while Display ads light up the initial spark of interest. It’s a powerful mix that qualifies leads through a layered approach of targeting and re-engagement.

    This combined strategy enables Demand Gen to nurture leads initially generated by the wide reach of Display ads, culminating in higher conversion rates. It’s a tactical synergy that covers different stages in the sales funnel, ensuring that each campaign complements the other, nurturing leads and attracting initial interest in perfect harmony.

    Complementary Campaigns


    Utilizing Demand Gen in conjunction with Display campaigns guarantees coverage of various stages in the sales funnel, from igniting initial interest to illuminating the decision-making process. Demand Gen campaigns generate user interest before they’ve even begun their active brand search, like planting seeds that will soon sprout.

    Leveraging Google’s visual properties such as YouTube, Discovery, and Gmail within google demand gen campaigns, including discovery campaigns, engages users in a way that resonates with their interests and behaviors. It’s about crafting a robust content strategy that develops complementary google demand gen campaigns, ensuring that materials are relevant and compelling across multiple touchpoints, such as YouTube in-stream ads.

    Cross-Channel Optimization


    Cross-channel optimization entails creating a cohesive narrative across different platforms, strengthening relationships through significant interactions that facilitate the purchasing process. Marketing automation platforms are the looms that help weave this narrative, delivering a consistent and effective lead nurturing program across channels.

    Employing high-quality data from multiple channels improves personalized engagement, allowing marketers to:

    Case Studies: Demand Gen vs Display in Action


    Serving as the evidence of effectiveness, case studies illustrate the practical application and success of Demand Gen and display strategies. They show how strategic choices can impact core metrics and drive tangible business growth, whether it’s boosting B2B lead quality or enhancing e-commerce visibility.

    These narratives spotlight the careful selection between Demand Gen and Display, emphasizing the need to align the chosen ad strategy with business objectives and consumer behavior for optimal effectiveness. It’s a look behind the curtain, revealing how different companies have successfully navigated the ad strategy landscape to meet their marketing objectives.

    Boosting B2B Lead Quality


    In the world of B2B marketing, quality trumps quantity when it comes to leads. One case study that exemplifies this is the story of a tech firm that revamped its Demand Gen strategy to better qualify leads and prioritize sales readiness. By implementing a lead scoring system, they could distinguish the hot prospects from the lukewarm ones, ensuring their sales team focused on the most promising leads.

    This B2B powerhouse didn’t stop there. They crafted a content strategy that delivered personalized messaging, tailored to the interests and behaviors of targeted lead segments. Educational content distributed across multiple channels informed and engaged prospects, creating a well-nurtured lead pipeline that translated into a significant uptick in lead quality and conversion rates.

    Enhancing E-commerce Visibility


    E-commerce companies face the constant challenge of standing out in a crowded online marketplace. One such brand turned to Google Ads, including Display ads and Google discovery ads, to enhance their visibility, particularly targeting Millennials and Gen Z during the lucrative holiday season. The result? A meteoric rise in site traffic and a substantial increase in sales, proving the power of strategic ad placement.

    Another success story comes from Roomify, which harnessed the potential of Sponsored Product ads on Amazon to achieve a stunning 273% revenue increase by targeting younger customers. Ultra, a home goods e-commerce company, capitalized on innovative PPC techniques to garner over 561 million impressions and hit a significant revenue milestone. These examples underscore the strategic use of Display ads in e-commerce, which can significantly boost brand visibility and customer engagement, leading to tangible business growth.



    As we wrap up this journey through the landscapes of Demand Gen and Display advertising, it’s clear that each strategy has its place in the marketer’s toolkit. Whether it’s the nuanced, lead-nurturing approach of Demand Gen campaigns or the broad, brand-building power of Display ads, understanding and integrating these methods can lead to a marketing strategy that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Remember, the key to unlocking the full potential of your ad campaigns lies in aligning them with your marketing goals, optimizing across channels, and continuously refining your approach based on performance metrics.

    Frequently Asked Questions


    What is the difference between Demand Gen and Pmax?

    Performance Max (PMax) campaigns use machine learning to optimize ad placement based on conversion goals, while Demand Gen focuses on visually appealing and engaging brand promotion to generate demand and purchase consideration for products or services. PMax may show ads on a wider variety of placements than Demand Gen.

    What is the difference between discovery and demand generation?

    The main difference between discovery and demand generation lies in the bidding strategies available, with Google Demand Gen introducing maximise clicks alongside other options.

    What is the difference between display and discovery campaign?

    The main difference lies in the placement of the ads. Display campaigns appear on the Google Display Network, while Discovery campaigns run on Google properties like YouTube, Discover feed, and Gmail.

    How do you measure the success of a Demand Gen campaign?

    You measure the success of a Demand Gen campaign by tracking key metrics like conversion rate, cost per lead, and customer lifetime value using analytics tools for continuous monitoring and optimization. This ensures the effectiveness of the campaigns.

    How do Demand Gen and Display ads differ in targeting audience and intent?

    Demand Gen campaigns focus on cultivating brand awareness and engaging users early in their buying journey, often using content to educate and inform. Display ads, on the other hand, target a broader audience with visually striking designs for quick visibility and brand awareness.

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