Ads, Media & PPC

Display ad trends - what’s new in 2022?

April 7, 2022
7 minutes

In recent years, there has been a shift in the way businesses advertise online. Display advertising, which includes banner ads, rich media, and video ads, is becoming increasingly popular at expense of above the line media and its budgets.

With the help of data and technology, businesses are able to target their ads to specific audiences and track the performance of their campaigns, with shorter feedback loops and the ability to iterate on creatives for better performance. As a result, display advertising is expected to continue to grow in popularity and budget in the coming years.

But as this popularity grows, so does the competition. In order to keep up with your competitors, you’ll need to stay up to date with the latest trends in display advertising. We’re bringing you the most important ones of 2022, so you can stay ahead of the curve.

The 7 most cutting-edge display trends of today

By staying up-to-date on the latest display ad trends, you can ensure your campaigns remain effective and relevant to your audience. Here are the 7 most cutting-edge display ad trends we found this year.

1. From static ads to dynamic ads

The internet is constantly evolving, and so are the ways that companies advertise on it. In the early days of online advertising, static display ads were the norm. These were simply images that did not move or change, and they were generally used to promote a product or service in a very basic way. 

And if they were dynamic or animated, let’s just say these animations weren’t very sophisticated. Early dynamic animations like the ones we saw in the 90s didn’t really catch on, and we can see why…


Over time, however, dynamic display ads (think of GIF, HTML5 and video formats) have become increasingly popular. These are ads that actually move or change based on user interactions, and they can be much more engaging and effective than static ones. Take a look at this example by HEMA of what modern day dynamic ads can look like: 

The main reason dynamic display ads have become a major trend in 2022?

They’re way more interactive and engaging. Static ads are pretty boring compared to dynamic ones. With dynamic ads, you can actually interact with them in some way – for example, by hovering over an ad to see additional information about the product or service being advertised. This makes them much more likely to capture your attention and interest than a static ad would.

2. The rise of the ‘Attention Economy’

As we continue to face ever-increasing amounts of information and stimulation, it is more important than ever for brands to learn how to cut through the noise and capture people's attention. The Attention Economy report from Dentsu provides insights into how brands can navigate this new landscape and win the battle for attention.

More importantly, it highlights what went wrong, and how the media industry hasn’t adapted properly to this changing landscape. 

Until now, media is overly focused on impressions, like CPM, a metric that has become less and less valuable. Partly because an ‘impression’ is defined as an ad being partly on screen for an arbitrary x amount of seconds. Would you say this really makes an ‘impression’ on your audience? 

How will we define ‘impressions’ in the Attention Economy model?

We think not, viewability isn’t the same as viewed. Instead, a real ‘view’ should be defined as an ad actually ‘capturing the attention’ of your audience. Media agencies have been slow on the uptake, so far, but this is what constitutes the new ‘Attention Economy’, and it won’t go away anytime soon.

So how do you quantify or define ‘captured attention’ in display advertising? 

Tools like Brainsight offer a solution, by using AI to predict visual attention and create advertising benchmarks based on these predictions. If you just have 1 or a few seconds to get noticed, Brainsight helps to optimize your creative so it grabs attention, instantly.  

Brainsight also helps to give insight into which ads to use for which type of channel. For example, one display ad might be better suited to out of home campaigns (DOOH), while another is predicted to do well as a social ad. The magic word, here, is pre-testing.

Approaching display advertising from an ‘attention’ frame of mind, instead of obsessing over irrelevant ‘impressions’ is another important display ad trend. And remember: attention alone doesn't equal success, but an impression without attention certainly doesn't result in a click.

3. (SaaS) studio platforms for ad design - the new ad tech

SaaS studio platforms for ad design, also known as DCO (dynamic creative optimization), in ad tech are becoming increasingly popular. This is due to the fact that they offer a number of advantages over traditional ad design tools. 

First and foremost, SaaS studio platforms allow for a much higher degree of collaboration between designers and clients. This is because the platform itself is designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between all parties involved in the project. 

Secondly, SaaS studio platforms offer a much more streamlined design process, which can save both time and money. Lastly, these platforms tend to be much more user-friendly than traditional ad design tools, making them easier for even novice users to learn and use.

But what’s most important is that these tools:

  1. Require little to no coding experience (no-code development)
  2. Make it super easy for creatives to be compliant with a company's brandbook
  3. Allow you to automate adding creatives to ad campaigns.

Some platforms have even incorporated A/B testing principles with programmatic advertising (best performing creatives replacing the less performing ones automatically). 

Some examples of SaaS studio platforms for ad design

4. Increased spending on social ads 

Emplifi recently reported that global social media ad spend has increased 19% YoY, and we don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. The findings of this report are quite interesting, especially the following: 

  • Brands are investing more money in paid social media
  • Click-through rates (CTR) continue to decline
  • Median CPC seems to remain stable, but this might be a quarterly fluctuation

In this increasingly competitive landscape, your ads are vying for attention like never before. And we don’t think this is the end of the road. As such, continuous ad (pre-)testing and optimizing is more important than ever. 

5. Mobile ad spend surpassing desktop 

According to Statista, 2022 is the year mobile ad spend will finally surpass desktop. Advertising spend on mobile has slowly been catching up to desktop, and the rollout of 5g means a projected continuation of increased mobile advertising over the next decade. 

What are the consequences for display advertising?

Mostly, designs and ad formats will need to adapt to take the rise of mobile advertising into consideration. Check out this guide to mobile ad formats for more information on sizing. Make sure to amend your display ad designs accordingly.

Make sure to size your mobile ad campaigns properly

6. Google’s automatic display ad banner creation tool

Google's automatic display ad banner creation tool is a great way to create professional-looking banners for your display ad campaigns. The tool is easy to use and it only takes a few minutes to create banners in thousands of formats. 

You can choose from a variety of templates or you can create your own design. You can also add text, free stock photos, and more to your banners. It’s an amazing time-saving device if you want to get started running display ads on a lower budget.

Check out a short video on the tool below:

7. Testing, testing, testing: validating display ad designs

This is probably the most major display ad trend of 2022. When creating a display ad, it's important to pretest your design to ensure that it will be effective. There are a few different ways to pretest your ad design.

Using live pretesting subjects is one, and can be very resource-heavy. Apart from having to identify the right audience, you’ll have to organize getting them in a room physically, or go through the less accurate, cumbersome process of running pretests online.

A better way to pretest your ad design is to create a prototype of your ad and test it with online tools like Brainsight that use AI and industry benchmarks to simulate how users will interact with the ad. This can help you identify any issues with the design before you launch the final version.

Finally, you can use A/B testing to compare two versions of your ad and see which one performs better. This is a great way to fine-tune your design and make sure that it's as effective as possible.

Are there any display ad trends we missed?

It's clear that display advertising is here to stay, and the trends suggest that it's only going to become more popular and more effective. As more and more businesses move online and competition for attention becomes more intense, the need for creative and effective display advertising will only increase.

We tried keeping you informed on the most important display advertising trends of 2022, so you can stay ahead of the competition. If there are any trends we missed, feel free to get in touch and let us know.

More articles

Read more of our articles about AI-driven heatmaps

Start your 7-day free trial

Understand how customers will react before you hit publish.
Start your 7-day free trial
No credit card required
Cancel anytime