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Online Ads

Love 'em or hate 'em, online advertisements make the web go round.

Many of the services and media companies that we use daily rely on advertising as their main source of revenue. Google, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times, all make their money by selling ads.

Whether you are interested in starting an online or offline business, it’s important to understand how advertising on the internet works. There are a million things to cover when it comes to online advertising, but today we are going to focus on the different types of online advertising.

As with most things on the web, when it comes to online advertising, most anything goes. If you want to sell your uncle a small text ad in your footer, power to you! You can do that. If you can find a buyer, you can sell it (as long as you follow all the FTC disclosure laws).

That said, there are professional efforts to standardize and regulate the industry. Online advertising is regulated by an organization called the Interactive Advertising Bureau (iab). They decide what are the “standard” advertising units on the web and also use their network of advertising and digital professionals to come up with new and nifty advertising units, which they call their “Rising Stars.”

There are five major types of online advertising:

1. Display Ads:
Display advertising is the most common type of online ads. You can think of these as the billboards of the web.

The most common examples of display ads are web banners, which are those box ads you see on the top, side, or bottom of a website. Web banners come in three common sizes: 728×90 pixels (these are short and wide and called ‘Leaderboards’), 300×250 pixels (almost a square), and 160×600 pixels (tall and skinny, often referred to as a ‘Skyscraper’).

Display ads can be static (made of just an image), or animated in Flash or JavaScript.

2. Digital Video ads:
Digital Video ads are a lot like TV ads and they are often played at the beginning, middle, and end of an online video. They are usually about 30 seconds long, but sometimes they can also be interactive. Hulu has pioneered some new digital video ad formats, including their “Pick your ad” option.

3. Pop-ups, Wallpaper & Pushdown Ads:
Pop-up ads are probably the most hated of the online advertising bunch, these ads are the ones that pop-up when you load a page and won’t allow you to access the website until you either click on them or close them.

Wallpaper ads are those ads where the ad is integrated into the background of the website so instead of being a blue background, its now an advertisement for a burger or some other product.

Pushdown Ads are becoming more and more common. These ads look like a 728×90 leaderboard ad, but then expand down over the content of the site.

Many online media sites will sell an advertiser a “Homepage Takeover” where the advertiser buys a Wallpaper unit, a Pushdown Ad, and all of the display ads on the homepage of the site.

4. Text ads:
Text ads are the ads you see when you are in GMail or on Google or Facebook. These ads are usually about 130 characters long (about the length of a tweet) and always include a link to the advertiser’s website.

5. Integrated marketing:
Integrated marketing is the product placement of the web.

What this means is that advertisers buy a custom made advertisement, which often takes the form of their logo being included on some new web product like an online game or giveaway. You can usually spot an integrated marketing campaign because there will be an advertiser’s logo with the words “Brought to you by TASTY BURGRS” or “Sponsored by TASTY BURGRS” somewhere on the site.

Cocktail Party Fact

So tired of online ads that you don’t even notice what they are trying to sell you? You are not alone! This syndrome is called ‘Ad Fatigue’ and its a major source of concern and consternation for advertisers and companies alike!

Now try this!

  1. Open up
  2. See how many ads and how many ad types you can find.
  3. Answer: 6 ads total, 3 different types: 1 Pushdown Ad, 2 – 300×250 box ads, and 3 Google Text Ads (all the way at the bottom)