Online advertising is any type of marketing message that shows up with the help of the Internet. That means it could appear in a web browser, search engine, on social media, on mobile devices, and even in email.
Savvy advertisers are increasingly making use of this forum for reaching consumers, for a number of reasons:
- It’s relatively inexpensive
- It reaches a wide audience
- It can be tracked to measure success (or failure)
- It can be personalized for a target audience
Indeed, online advertising is only growing in scope, as new avenues for marketers pop up (think ads delivered through text message or marketing messages delivered to users in a certain area, known as geo-targeting). But, while some of the ads are less common or just gaining traction, there are plenty that we’re exposed to multiple times every day. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of online advertising.
TYPES OF ONLINE ADVERTISING:
Probably the oldest form of online ads, display ads, appear as everything from banners of all shapes and sizes to text ads relevant to the content of a page. You might find an AutoZone display ad on a popular car blog or a banner ad promoting the newest products at Sephora on a popular beauty or cosmetics blog.
Email ads are such a popular form of online marketing that many consumers don’t even think about them being advertisements. Open your inbox and you’re likely to see advertisements promoting new services from your cable provider, special offers on children’s clothes from Macy’s, or the latest cell phone gadget from Samsung or Apple. Email ads sometimes come in the form of coupons or newsletters.
Then there are native ads that are disguised in the form of a sponsored post: for example, Virgin Mobile doing a post titled ”6 Texts to Copy and Paste to Break Up With Your Significant Other” on Buzzfeed, or in the form of an advertorial, an online (and sometimes print) ad designed to look like editorial content but promoting a product or service.
While online advertising is a proven way to target and reach audiences with concise messaging, myriad options make it tough to know which avenue(s) will be most effective for a business. The major online advertising options (described below) offer enough variety so businesses of any size, type, and budgetary constraints can conduct an ad campaign that suits their needs. Online advertising affords certain benefits that business marketers can leverage:
- Advertise only to those in the target audiences, with easily-customizable, specific messaging, since “online” is where customers are
- Track effectiveness via metrics demonstrating an ad’s impact on traffic to the website or other measures, then modify in real-time as needed
- Businesses of any size and type can participate – e-commerce business (sells only online); local/regional service or product business (for customers in a specific location, i.e., retail stores, restaurants, physicians, etc.); non-geographic services (not limited by location, such as consulting or IT support)
Online advertising is much more fluid and dynamic than simple print ads. Online ads can and should be precise in who they target, going only to viewers based on location, age, interests, or other demographics relevant to the business. Most businesses structure and pay for online ads in one of two ways: pay-per-click advertising or fixed rate advertising.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) is paying for an ad based solely on the amount of clicks it gets. A business can post multiple versions of the same ad and quickly see which gets the most clicks and make changes as needed. This is effective for those with a strict budget, as spending limits can be preset.
- Fixed Rate is when businesses pay a set price for ads up front, and is used often on content-focused sites where the target audience is likely already there.
- In both cases, the ‘click’ goes to the business’s homepage or a content-specific landing page.