Its been long debated that display vs text ads which are better performing ad formats where both formats proving their own merits and demirts for a publisher.
Before one dives straight into performance shown by each its important to look at factors which would impact selection of an ad format for a publisher
i) Size of the publisher - Lot of people feels this is not an important factor while debating between the two as one page site or multiple page site both can take advantage of text or display ads in their own way. Though I still feel its important factor impacting total revenue earned per page. Past data analysis has shown site with page views >5000 per day would benefit with implementation of text ads format as compared to display banner placement or fixed slot selling. This is based on things where number of text ads placement per page(if >3) which will get CTR >1% as compared to same number of display ads placed on the page will get higher CTR or result in higher eCPM
ii)Ad Placement – This is one of the key factor which will have highest impact on eCPM irrespective of the size of publisher as text ads give ability to the publisher to place relevant advertisement in the relevant content to generate higher advertising RoI. Text Links as another text ad format has seen 7-11% CTR on average content.
iiii) Selection of Advertiser - If you are in hand of an contextual ad network then you can be safe but another advantage text ads have over display advertisers is sheer number of advertisers using the format. Cost of development and design of display communication is 20x as compared to text ads which also acts like a barrier in number of advertiser using the format. Again ability to change text ads faster to blend into relevant content act as key enabler for increasing CTR of text ads.
iv) color and font of communication – As emphasis is on blending combined with placement this plays important role for improving CTR hence larger control for publisher as compared to display advertiser where control is with advertiser.
Though this post does look tilted towards text ads as preferred ad format purely from publisher point of you not advertiser as peoples reaction or intent is captured faster with text ads as a format and makes complete sense for publishers as more advertisers are looking to capture audience which would buy product then and their itself.
Display advertising does have higher impact in creating a brand and especially for products where higher consideration cycle for buyer is higher and internet is just used as medium of research.
Earlier google content network was the only option but with other text based advertiser options coming up like Microsoft PubCenter, Kontera etc and with google ad network optimization tool like Yieldbuild etc available publishers can start to find more value in monetizing inventory via multiple partners and understand their advertising inventory more.