Online advertising, also known as online marketing, Internet advertising, digital advertising or web advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. Many consumers find online advertising disruptive and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons.
When software is used to do the purchasing, it is known as programmatic advertising.
Online advertising includes email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, many types of display advertising (including web banner advertising), and mobile advertising. Like other advertising media, online advertising frequently involves a publisher, who integrates advertisements into its online content, and an advertiser, who provides the advertisements to be displayed on the publisher’s content. Other potential participants include advertising agencies who help generate and place the ad copy, an ad server which technologically delivers the ad and tracks statistics, and advertising affiliates who do independent promotional work for the advertiser.
In 2016, Internet advertising revenues in the United States surpassed those of cable television and broadcast television. 14 In 2017, Internet advertising revenues in the United States totaled $83.0 billion, a 14% increase over the $72.50 billion in revenues in 2016. And research estimates from 2019’s online advertising spend puts it at $125.2 billion in the United States, some $54.8 billion higher than the spend on television ($70.4 billion).
Many common online advertising practices are controversial and, as a result, have been increasingly subject to regulation. Online ad revenues also may not adequately replace other publishers’ revenue streams. Declining ad revenue has led some publishers to place their content behind paywalls.
Benefits of Online Advertising
The low costs of electronic communication reduce the cost of displaying online advertisements compared to offline ads. Online advertising, and in particular social media, provides a low-cost means for advertisers to engage with large established communities. Advertising online offers better returns than in other media.
Online advertisers can collect data on their ads’ effectiveness, such as the size of the potential audience or actual audience response, how a visitor reached their advertisement, whether the advertisement resulted in a sale, and whether an ad actually loaded within a visitor’s view. This helps online advertisers improve their ad campaigns over time.
Advertisers have a wide variety of ways of presenting their promotional messages, including the ability to convey images, video, audio, and links. Unlike many offline ads, online ads also can be interactive. For example, some ads let users input queries or let users follow the advertiser on social media. Online ads can even incorporate games.
Publishers can offer advertisers the ability to reach customizable and narrow market segments for targeted advertising. Online advertising may use geo-targeting to display relevant advertisements to the user’s geography. Advertisers can customize each individual ad to a particular user based on the user’s previous preferences. Advertisers can also track whether a visitor has already seen a particular ad in order to reduce unwanted repetitious exposures and provide adequate time gaps between exposures.
Online advertising can reach nearly every global market, and online advertising influences offline sales.
Once ad design is complete, online ads can be deployed immediately. The delivery of online ads does not need to be linked to the publisher’s publication schedule. Furthermore, online advertisers can modify or replace ad copy more rapidly than their offline counterparts.