Brafton has reported that display ad impressions increased 22 percent during Q3 2010, but do impressions translate into conversions? As reports emerge that marketers are increasing their display ad spend in 2011, a new study suggests the platform is the one most ignored by consumers.

Just today, eMarketer published the findings of a study revealing that display ad spend is on the rise. The platform grew during Q3 2010, and the development of online bidding options is supposed to fuel further growth. David Hallerman, eMarketer’s principal analyst, says the display ad market is expected to increase by 14 percent in 2011.

At the same time, a study from Adweek Media/ Harris Poll suggests marketers should think twice before investing in certain display formats. Internet banner ads proved the most ineffective ads included in the study, with nearly half of respondents (43 percent) saying these are the ad units they are most likely to ignore.

It should be remembered that the display platform is evolving, and there are new formats that allow marketers to offer more relevant content than banner ads can contain. For instance, Brafton has reported on AOL’s Project Devil display ads and Yahoo’s Dapper ads, both of which place content as king. Plus, socially targeted display ads on social sites have proven to pay off.

The real takeaway for marketers may be that relevant content is key to catching consumers’ interest online. Perhaps paid ads are not the best way to do this – Adweek and Harris found that 20 percent of consumers also ignore search engine ads. They seem to prefer organic results for product queries, as indicated by a Perfomics study Brafton covered.

Two-thirds of consumers know the difference between organic and paid results, according to Performics. With this in mind, marketers may want to invest less in display and other paid search ad formats, focusing instead on search engine optimization. 

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.