Display advertising is on the rise. Research shows that it is the fastest growing form of online advertising in Europe and experiencing significant growth in North America as well. With Facebook’s gains and Google’s recent purchase of AdMeld, the U.S. market is expected to grow even larger over the next couple of years. These are among the signs that indicate the increasing importance of display advertising.

Just about all of us are familiar with display ads. Most would probably agree that they can be extremely annoying and intrusive when you’re trying to browse the web. This could all change in the not so distant future. Neal Mohan, Vice President of Google’s display advertising division, was one of several in attendance at the recent Internet Week New York who sees a bright future for this fast growing market. Mohan shared predictions of how the game will change for the better by 2015 in his keynote speech, which aimed to illustrate how marketers can overcome some of the challenges that have held display advertising back for over a decade.

Less Is More

One of Mohan’s most interesting predictions was tied to the number of advertisements we will see down the road. He predicted that display ads will be displayed at the rate of 25% fewer impressions per user. However, a lower quantity is not the only thing he sees in the crystal ball. Mohan also predicts that the quality of ad formats and distribution will improve. Rather than being shown irrelevant advertisements at random, consumers will see ads that are more targeted and relevant to their preferences. With Google recently rolling out a new feature that serves up sponsored offers based on a user’s browsing history, Mohan could be dead on with his forecast, albeit he does have an inside scoop of sorts.

More Love for Ads

The biggest prediction the Google employee made in his keynote speech is one involving how he believes consumers will embrace the display ads they encounter online. According to Mohan, more than 40% of American internet users will declare display as their preferred form of advertising – one day. Bold prediction? Uh, yeah. However, Mohan’s logic and confidence is based on the theory that consumers will be more receptive to content that is relevant and tailored to their liking. Following up on that line of thinking, this would theoretically make the display game a win-win for all players involved.

Now my crystal ball is a bit rusty, but if Mohan’s predictions come to fruition, it could mean that consumers might also embrace display ad-type content in the inbox. This is not so hard to imagine when considering that email content has already begun to move beyond HTML to become more dynamic. Even if this turns out to be the case, marketers will still need to proceed with caution when developing their content. No matter how great your email marketing appears from a visual standpoint, it could still bomb if it doesn’t function properly or grab the reader’s attention, meaning testing and relevance must remain top priorities in your strategy.