What is Online Advertising? - Definition, Types & Examples

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  • 0:03 It's Everywhere
  • 0:40 What Is Online Advertisting?
  • 1:37 Types of Online Advertising
  • 5:37 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.

Visit a website, find an ad. Check out your social media, find an ad. Search for plane tickets, find an ad. Online advertising is everywhere you look in the digital space, and this lesson will explore what it is and its different types.

It's Everywhere

You log on to your web browser to check out a news story and see a banner ad from your favorite clothing store. You venture over to Google to search for a new case for your smartphone, and up pops an ad for a newer version of your phone. You check out your newsfeed on your favorite social media site, and you see advertisements for a new restaurant and a pair of shoes you've had your eye on.

Online advertisements are pervasive, showing up in all areas of of our Internet, social media, and mobile experiences. But, what purpose do they serve? And, how many different types are there? Let's take a closer look.

What Is Online Advertising?

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

Whether you're surfing the web or just checking your email, you can't really get away from advertisements delivered in a digital setting. Here are some of the most popular types.

Display Ads

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

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.

Native Ads

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. Airbnb had a successful native ad placement with The New York Times, tracing the path of immigrants from other countries into the United States at Ellis Island. It is interesting and informative and advertises Airbnb in a discreet way with a small logo at the top.

Social Media Ads

Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, marketing messages are everywhere on social media platforms. From Facebook ads to sponsored tweets and ads that pop up between YouTube videos, social media is an effective place for marketers to reach their audience because we spend so much time scrolling through our newsfeed, commenting, liking, and sharing. A newer form of social media advertising are sponsored filters on apps like Snapchat that tie in a fun component, like a taco face filter, with a sponsorship by Taco Bell.

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