Discovering the Best Performing Display Ad


Display ads have the potential to increase brand awareness and return on investment (ROI) by serving users relevant ads, engaging with them, and making them realize the app’s value. For these things to happen, it is important to note that having a user-centered approach to the conceptualization of the ad is a must. Read on to find out what makes a display ad perform successfully and how you can ensure that your display ads help you hit your key performance indicators (KPIs) the best way possible.


To know whether or not a display ad will work and identify effective strategies that can drive optimum campaign performance, Aarki performs champion/challenger creative testing. This involves running multiple creative variants simultaneously where the performance of the variants are compared and the best performing ad creative becomes the “champion” creative. The “champion” serves as the compass directing the campaign towards the following creative iterations, which are called “challengers.” It also helps identify strategies for creative refreshes.

Applying this strategy, we compared three display ads of a user acquisition campaign for an entertainment app. Let’s call the three ads A, B, and C. The campaign ran for a period of 49 days. Ads A and B were run simultaneously, and a creative iteration (ad C) was introduced after 12 days. Metrics such as install rate, cost per action (CPA), and cost per install (CPI) were used to identify the champion.

The Champion: Ad B

We found that while all three ads had lower CPA and CPI than their individual goals, display ad B performed the best. It had 27% more installs than A and C combined and the lowest average CPI.

Its success can be attributed to the fact that among the 3 ads run, B was the only one which showed personalized live updates. While ads A and C merely reminded app viewers of a long-existing feature of the app, ad B sparked their interest and curiosity with the update the creative variant showed.

generic1 personalized generic2
   A        B    C

Keep testing

Using updates has long been deemed an effective creative strategy for any app category. However, champion/challenger testing and app updates are just some of the many creative strategies that can be used to achieve optimum campaign performance. It is important to keep testing different creative variations to see which strategies to keep and which ones to eliminate.

Topics: Creative Insights