Display ads can help businesses improve their visibility on the web, but they can also be quite costly without any guarantee of success - especially in light of recent data that shows nearly one in three ads are never seen.

Market research firm comScore recently reported that more than 30 percent of display ads are never seen by web users, even as companies spend substantially to create these campaigns.

Even with some ads receiving substantial attention, comScore found that the variance of view-rates ranges from as little as 7 percent to 100 percent. When they work, displays ads can help businesses drive traffic and boost conversions. However, there is little guarantee that the method will work. Even when display ads are viewed, Brafton has previously reported studies show most web users don’t click them – or PPC ads, for that matter – preferring to click organic search results.

According to comScore, it’s important for businesses to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns before making additional investments.

While display ads can help businesses improve their appeal throughout the web, working on a content marketing strategy that can be used across new media platforms will increase a company’s visibility organically. Given comScore’s claim that many consumers are never exposed to display ads, organic brand efforts can have as strong an effect (or stronger) without as much spending. Moreover, it spreads resources out across several channels that work together to improve a business’ reputation with prospects.

A key part of web marketing moving forward is social media marketing, which has proven to appeal to prospects, Brafton recently reported. More than 50 percent of consumers say that a social presence makes them trust a company more.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.