Display Advertising in Online Media: Formats & Impact

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  • 0:02 Bombarded by Ads
  • 1:07 Ad Types & Effectiveness
  • 5:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

In this lesson, we'll identify formats of display advertising that can be used on websites and analyze their effectiveness. We'll also look at some examples of each type of display advertising.

Bombarded by Ads

You wake up in the morning and turn on your television while checking your email and browsing social media. On the way to work, you listen to the radio or read the newspaper or a magazine. Later, on your lunch break, you check out an online shopping site. All of these forms of media have a common denominator: They're all serving advertisements to you in an effort to earn your business.

Some estimates say we're exposed to as many as 3,000 advertising messages every day. That number is good - and bad - for marketers who are trying to cut through the advertising clutter and deliver their message in an effort to earn your business. Advertisers are increasingly turning their attention to digital channels and online media in a bid to reach the millions of social media users, people searching the Internet for products or services, and web shoppers. Those ads are frequently referred to as display ads, or advertising that's displayed on websites. The display ads in online media come in many forms. Let's take a look at a few of them, including sponsored content, banner ads, search engine advertising, video advertising, contextual ads, and retargeting ads.

Ad Types and Effectiveness

Sponsored Content

We're accustomed to sponsored content that takes a more traditional approach as a visual ad on a website. More and more frequently, however, sponsored content is taking on the appearance of editorial content. It could be a brand that has written about one of its products or a company who has sponsored an article that reflects favorably on one of its services. This content isn't always easy to spot since it takes the form of the rest of editorial content.

Studies show that this type of advertising is, generally, not very effective. Most consumers who see it scroll through it, looking for regular content, and only one-half of people exposed to sponsored content are able to accurately identify it as content paid for by a client.

Banner Advertising

Banner ads appear on just about every website you visit, come in different shapes and sizes, and are placed in various slots all around a web page. In the early days of their use, the click-through rate was considerably high, but those numbers appear to be trending downward as of late. However, advertisers continue to spend money on developing and placing these ads. Some of the negativity surrounding banner ads as a viable advertising option include overuse and oversaturation, declining click-through rates, and how ads are generally viewed as clutter.

Search Engine Advertising

Conduct any search for a particular topic on your favorite search engine, and you're likely to be confronted with paid search engine ads alongside natural, non-paid results. Businesses often create ads commonly referred to as pay-per-click, in which marketers pay a predetermined amount for each person who clicks on the content. These ads frequently appear at the top, side, and bottom of any search engine and closely resemble regular search results, though they frequently have the word 'advertisement' or 'ad' in small print somewhere nearby. These types of ads are a good way to target a niche audience or users who are searching for a particular product or service. Frequently, these ads are considered to have a very high click-through rate if the ad copy and content is strong and effectively targeted at the right audience.

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