Intelligent Display: What it is, and Why Lawyers Should Care

Years ago, digital display advertising was about placing ads on websites where we assumed our target audience was spending time online. Generally, this “educated guess” or shotgun like approach would deliver hit or miss results that were difficult to track and hard to prove a positive return on investment.

All of that has changed with the creation of intelligent display advertising technology. This revolution in how online display advertisements are generated, served, and tracked has revived display advertising as a cost efficient form of paid media – especially for law firms looking for a leg up in the highly competitive legal advertising space.

What is ‘intelligent’ display advertising?

Intelligent display advertising is paid media in which a marketing or advertising agency strategically disseminates your advertising message in the digital space. It leverages innovative technology to create the most effective ad—in real-time.

Specialized tools curate dynamic data to combine the right mix of your law firm’s library of core ad components—logo, tagline, visual assets, key calls to action, etc.—to assemble the most relevant ad for where your target audiences land on the Web.

Rather than relying on one static, pre-designed display advertisement for several outlets, intelligent display ads are constructed around algorithms that survey things like past performance of different ads, top-performing traffic sources, website content, language, time of day and geographic location.

All that means is that really “smart” technology can take your online advertising from a nebulous presence on the Web to a more data-driven, precise and flexible campaign.

How does ‘intelligent’ display advertising work?

Today, display advertising is almost entirely data-driven. It’s all about actionable information that makes media buying make sense.

By design, intelligent display advertising tools use live data to create a competitive advantage. So your digital media planner now has access to statistics and analytics on all kinds of information like:

  • where other law firms are placing ads—and getting results
  • what types of banner advertising (size, design, location) the competition is using
  • the length of time these campaigns are running—and on what specific landing pages they’re appearing

Based on this knowledge, your law firm might work with an agency to cleverly “mimic” effective creative elements; conversely, you might want to avoid placements where your ad would appear directly next to the competition. All of this data can be extracted based on specific criteria that your firm and digital media expert deem most worthy.

The second part of intelligent display advertising is tracking your progress:

  • looking at where those “smart” ads ultimately end up
  • measuring how many people actually saw them
  • analyzing what the true conversion rates were

In turn, this data helps your digital media buyer determine the most cost-effective ad buy going forward. Plus, as research and tracking tools continue to evolve, over time it will become easier to prove the return on investment for digital display campaigns.

Ensuring your ads are being served in front of the right person at the right time will go a long ways towards that last point.

Why should my law firm add or shift to intelligent display advertising?

Well, because you still need to be where the modern world—and potential clients—are: online, 24/7. Advertising on the Web, while it may have lost its way for a number of years, is back and more effective than ever. This dynamic medium will let you test new creative and messaging—even course-correct, almost overnight.

Intelligent display advertising must be part of any marketing strategy because no one, and we’d argue especially lawyers, like to gamble when it comes to ad buys. No savvy business would risk money on a best “guesstimate” about where to place online ads over a data-backed, intelligently informed strategy. And no attorney should overlook a technology, now deployable from the agency level, that’s designed to help guarantee better results from a display ad campaign.

Just like our phones have gotten smarter, Internet display advertising is now way more intelligent than we are. That’s a good thing. And, with integrated analytics and evolving algorithms, placing and tracking online ads has gotten more sophisticated over the years.

In many ways, that means the decision to spend money on these highly targeted, real-time ads is simpler than ever.