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9 Types of Online Advertising In The Digital World

Online advertising is the practice of promulgating your product or service in the digital world by leveraging the different internet channels available to you. It is used to market your brand, product, or service to your potential and existing customers. It also helps to build your brand’s awareness among internet users.

Types of Online Advertising In The Digital World

Online advertising is one of the most important methods of obtaining traffic to your website for purchase purposes and to make the right kind of noise about your brand in the online world.

Just like any other form of advertisement, the main purpose of online advertising is to get people to recognize your brand, position your product to the right customers and increase sales as well as improve the recall value of your product or service. As long as your brand is recognized by the public, more precisely the internet users in the case of internet advertising, you are doing a good job of promotions with internet advertising. Online advertising can be very beneficial in promoting your brand, product, or service by creating brand influencers and reaching your complementary audience.

Online advertising is called by a lot of other names. Internet advertising, digital advertising, web advertising are just some of the names but they all essentially mean online advertising. 

It is surprising today to know, that during the early days of the internet, online advertising was prohibited. Sounds unbelievable right? Especially now, when we see one form of an ad or the other while surfing the net. But in the nascent stages of the internet, internet advertising was never encouraged. This was for the benefit of users so that they experienced a trouble-free experience while surfing the net.

Initially, ARPANET and NFSNET, the predecessors of the internet were staunch in implementing a ban on the use of the internet for commercial purposes. NFSNet gradually allowed advertising after lifting restrictions from the year1991.

The first-ever form of online advertising came in the form of email marketing. It was done by Gary Theurk to promote his company’s brand of computers. This gave rise to the extensive use of email marketing and the word ‘Spam’ came to be derived from this rigorous use of email to promote a brand and its products.

Some of the advantages of using Internet Advertising

  • Global coverage because of the worldwide web
  • Budget-friendly
  • Drives desired traffic to a website
  • Allows precise targeting
  • Enables remarketing/retargeting
  • Helps in reinforcing and reiterating your brand strategy
  • Criterion-based promotion
  • Measurable

We have a lot of options at our disposal for internet marketing. Here we want to delineate the most effective kinds of digital advertising that yield the maximum results in a favorable period of time.

The 9 most important types of online advertising are as follows

  1.   SEM and SEO

Search Engine Marketing is the method of online advertising whereby business houses use paid advertisements on search engine results pages (SERP). Users make use of search engines like yahoo, Google, Bing in plenty. Advertisers leverage the popularity of these search engines by bidding on keywords that the users search and look for in these search engines.

You must have seen that sometimes, the first few results on SERP have a small dialogue box with an ad written on it. These are examples of online advertising on search engines. What happens is that advertisers place their ads along with the results on the search page. The ads are relevant to the searches by the user.

These ads are known as Pay Per Click ads(PPC). Pay per click helps to drive traffic and leads to your website. When a person clicks on the link, the advertiser pays money to the publisher.  The ads can come in varied formats such as texts, images, a combination of texts and images, and also as product listings with specs, feedback, and ratings given. (Ratings can be seen mostly in the form of stars on a scale of 5)

The biggest advantage of search engine marketing is that it gives advertisers the scope to advertise and make their products visible on the first page of a SERP, thereby increasing the reach and visibility of their brand, product, or service.

SEM and SEO? Where is the difference?

The difference between SEM and SEO lies in the way your content is ranked. The former is a paid service while the latter is not. SEO relies on an organic listing of your product depending on the relevance of your content in aligning with the keyword search. SEO takes time to give returns whereas SEM makes it easier to have a quick ROI.

As you can see the sole important factor in SEM is the keyword. You can always surf relevant keywords in your business through the different keyword tools available like google AdWords, Wordstream keyword tool, keyword planner, etc.

You should aim for keywords that are relevant to the users. What incentivizes a user to search for a particular keyword? According to studies, some keywords that have a high probability of being searched are related to discounts, buying, coupons, deals. free shipping, free delivery, etc.

A thorough keyword search is an absolute necessity for successful search engine marketing in online advertising. Add to that the relevance of your ad campaign, the landing pages, and the quality of the text that play a very important role in producing positive results in internet advertising.

  1.   Display ads

Display ads are an online advertising method that uses a combination of audio, video, flash, text, infographics, or a combination of all these elements to produce an ad that compels the audience to take notice of your brand, our product, or service.

The main aim of display ads are as follows

  • Creating Brand awareness of your product and making sure of positive brand recall.
  • Generating leads and making efforts to convert them into potential customers
  • Retargeting 
  • Nurturing leads

Display ads should be concise, engaging, catchy, bold, relatable, and interesting. Fonts should be clear, your brand identity should be visible. Declutter your ad to make it more appealing.

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Banners are a very good example of online advertising. Banners are probably the most widely used internet advertising technique. They are placed strategically with varied sizes, formats, and designs to fit into a particular web page. They are very striking most of the time and catch your attention while you are surfing the net. Banner ads can be of two types

  • Static banner ads- Online Ads that are a mix of audio and images.
  • Animated banner ads- Ads that give you the illusion that they are moving.

The purpose of banner ads lies in the way it is designed and formatted. Clicking on a banner ad takes you to the mentioned website or product and you can decide thereon.

Interstitial ads: They are a type of ads that appear before you can surf the page or after you’ve read the content. They are basically placed by ad servers either showing an ad mostly related to the topic of the website or sometimes after when they ask for some kind of personal details.

Pop-Up ads: I am certain anyone who has ever used the internet has encountered pop-up ads upon visiting one website or the other. They are mostly annoying and we close these ads before proceeding with the website.

Note that Pop up ads are two different forms in internet marketing. One is the kind that randomly pops up on a website completely unrelated to your topic of search. The other is a popup on the website that you visit and it pertains to the contents of that website only. The latter kind can be very useful in interacting with the website content, knowing more about them. Most of the time, these pop-up ads ask for an email so that they can inform you of new developments. Sometimes they ask to subscribe for an e-book or a free guide. They are quite popular in internet marketing.

  1.   Social Media Advertising

Social Media Marketing is a type of online advertising that makes use of all the social media platforms to promote its brand, product, or service to its users. The different social media channels provide highly efficient and relevant information regarding a user’s choice and preferences. That can be used to determine the target customer for a product, service, or brand. Relevant ads can be inserted into the feed of the users based on the study of potential customers.

When the target customers are successfully found in the social platforms they can lead to a huge increase in sales and conversions of leads into customers becomes successful. Therefore, we get a fairly large profit from a moderate or low cost of acquisition.

One of the main advantages of social media advertising is, if it hits the right notes, the time required to even out, or make profits is way less than the effort required in any other channel. SEM and Blogs require some time to hit the mark where profits are concerned. But in the case of a social media channel, there is no definite time frame and no definite upper scale in terms of sales and profits.

For a social media campaign to be successful we have to take into consideration three very important steps

  1.     Where we can find the consumers 
  2.     Which platform is best to position the ads
  3.     What are the requirements for an impressive ad campaign on that particular platform?

It is to be noted that neither the different social media channels nor the users on those social media channels are the same. In fact, the same user has different requirements on different media channels. So, it becomes necessary to make the ads tailored to that particular social media. 

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The different social media channels have their unique characteristics. They are as follows:

  • Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Photo sharing (Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat)
  • Video-Sharing (Vimeo, Youtube, Dailymotion, Facebook Live, Instagram Live feed, Periscope)
  • Micro-blogging (Twitter, Tumbler)

Now, a detailed study of these social media sites is necessary to determine which channels are best for your business. A careful strategy for online advertising can yield great results. Let’s see which channels are best for which kind of ads.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Facebook is one social media platform that offers a variety of opportunities for online advertising. Be it e-commerce, which is done most effectively on platforms like Facebook, it is also a great medium for social advertising campaigns. Facebook is ideal for promoting products and services in the form of e-books, white pages, giveaways, discounts, contests, coupons, time-bound offers. It is important to set up an ad, target the potential customers and then retarget them in online advertising. You need to evolve constantly to keep up with the pace of the changing trends in web advertising.

Learn in detail about the different types of online advertising

Though Facebook is still one of the most coveted social media channels for online advertising, Instagram of late has taken the position as the most favorite online advertising channel for businesses for the promotion of their brands. Instagram has seen a boom in the number of users in the past few years.

Some of the benefits of Instagram are:

  • The user interface is exciting, interesting, and eye-catching
  • As a result of its elegant layout, engagement is the highest
  • It provides additional benefits like direct messaging, sharing of photos, videos along with texts, filters for different images and videos, and a method for engaging in a nonofficial way with consumers and potential leads. 

Instagram is inclined towards visual content much more than audio or textual content. So products that rely heavily on visual depiction are highly recommended to promote their products on Instagram.

The characteristics and nature of Instagram are young and vibrant. Also, the majority of users are females within the age range of 19-34. So it makes perfect sense to target consumers based on these criteria and to promote products in alignment with these target groups on Instagram.

The steps to a successful online advertising campaign for Instagram include

  • Identifying your target groups
  • Targeting your prospective consumers with engaging content
  • Identifying lookalike audiences. Lookalike consumers are those that mirror the traits of your already existing customers
  • Minimal use of stock photos. Provide your own pictures and not licensed ones. They are bad for your company’s reputation
  • Make offers that are hard to let go of. 
  •  Hashtag on Instagram is one of the most important tools that you can use with great effectiveness while advertising your product on the social media channel. 
  • Optimize your product for mobile and app-friendly use. See that there are no difficulties in navigating to your page. Provide links to your landing page on your website on your official Instagram page.
  • Pinterest

Pinterest is also an excellent visual medium but it is different from Instagram in character. Research shows that Pinterest is mostly used by women, In fact, a whopping 80-85% of users on Pinterest are women. It is a great medium for e-commerce concerning the sale of products that have a visual appeal and structure.

Pinterest advertises highly custom-based products. And they are an ideal place for women of all ages. There is a variety of stuff on display on the platform in varied categories like furniture, house decor, clothing, artifacts.

This is a very creative social media platform and online advertising of creative products is best achieved on Pinterest.

The interface is smooth, high definition and promoted pins blend into boards without annoying and disrupting the experience of its users. It is what we call a calm peaceful place where we can surf products smoothly without much interruption.

It is important to study trends and visitors to your online virtual stores. After you get an idea of your target consumers, promoted pins can be placed on your potential consumer’s feed to target and retarget your product to them. Pinterest also comes with a direct messaging feature which makes it convenient for sellers and buyers to interact without any difficulty. Problems can be addressed and doubts can be cleared. Be very focused on where you are linking your pins.

LinkedIn mostly works for b2b businesses and services. They are not a very viable medium for b2c sales. Sponsored content, highly focussed and targeted text ads, and sponsored in-mails are characteristic features of LinkedIn in online advertising. Brevity is of utmost importance in linked ads.

No one will have the time to go through a lengthy ad copy so keep them concise, to the point, and lucid. Be professional since you are dealing with business entities. A lax attitude on Pinterest can be very harmful to your business on LinkedIn. Target groups with similar interests and campaigns. Target individuals who are from your industry and show a keen interest in the kind of services and products you offer.


There is a reason as to why I kept twitter for last. Though it is a very successful microblogging social media channel and is a very effective online advertising medium, still Twitter is underutilized for web advertising purposes. Though it has seen an increase in advertising over the last years still a lot of its features are not yet tapped into for effective online advertising.

Brands do not have to pay additional money for engagement with their consumers on Twitter. It is still organic engagement that works to the brand’s favor since people trust the promotion that comes with organic engagement. Public relations firms, e-commerce can benefit from using Twitter for their online advertising.

Brands use sponsored content, sponsored trends, sponsored tweets, and Twitter cards as elements of online advertising campaigns on Twitter.

Twitter cards are enhanced pic sizes of images, texts, and designs of advertising that have a call to action button. Once you click on the, it takes you to the landing page of the website of that business or brand.

Since twitter emphasizes compendiousness, your ad should be succinct and informative at the same time. Express your points with as much clarity as you can to engage your consumers and compel them to visit the landing page of your website.

There are three primary methods by which you can manage your social media campaigns for effective web advertising

  • Manage your ads manually
  • Use automated software to run your ads on the channels. Third-party software is expensive to buy and implement.
  • Hire an ad agency to strategically place your ad and manage their running
  1.   Email marketing

E-mail Marketing, as the name suggests is the kind of online marketing that is implemented by sending e-mails to prospective clients or existing clients. The advantage of e-mail marketing is that the recipients already consent to receive e-mails from your company regarding various products and services offered. Sales, though is the primary incentive to email marketing, brands should nevertheless leverage the advantages of email marketing in building long-lasting relationships with their clients.

The personal touch offered by the nature of email marketing is a treasure for companies that want to build a good rapport with their customers thereby increasing the online reputation of your product, brand, or service.

Unsolicited messages can be intrusive, disruptive and can seriously damage your company’s reputation. So it is advisable not to send out random or unwanted emails if you want email marketing to yield positive results for your brand, product, or service. 


A company first studies its consumer profiles, creates a buyer persona. The next important step is to create a mailing list. It is to be noted that a bought mailing list does not yield many results as it does not give you a detailed idea about your target consumers. You should always prepare your own mailing list.

After the mailing list is prepared the company asks for permission from the leads and existing customers to send E-mails about the different activities in the company, Sales, promotions, contests, discounts, etc. Here a double opt-in is very effective since it filters the genuine customers who are truly interested in your product from those who are not serious about making a purchase.

Before we move ahead with the process let’s see what a double opt-in is.

A double opt-in is a two-step process in the email marketing technique whereby a company seeks the email address of a potential customer and then sends out another confirmation email for the customers to confirm that the information provided by them is correct and they want to know about the different products and services of that brand.

Example: E-newsletters are an excellent form of email marketing. It gives your customers, potential or existing information about upcoming sales, events, promotions, launches, etc. Since they are apprised about such emails from beforehand, it only helps to promote your business positively.

Though the different channels of online advertising are effective, email marketing remains the most effective and most profitable of the different techniques. 

It is reported that more than 3.5 billion people use email services to communicate regularly and send approximately 269 billion emails as per reports in 2017 (statista.com). The expected increase in email users is more than 4.2 billion by 2022. That makes email marketing a very lucrative internet advertising technique for promoting your business.

Some of the advantages of email marketing are as follows:

  • Cost-effective
  • Quick
  • Segmentation
  • Permission-based
  • Highest ROI
  • Easy to measure, compare

One key point to remember is to not overdo it. When using email marketing make sure everything is not about buying your product or service. Send an email about some important tips and suggestions for something related to your product that the customer enjoys using.

The effect of segmentation and a targeted consumer approach ensures that you have a direct connection with your customer. For instance, send them a discount coupon for your products on their birthday. This helps to build a strong relationship and keeps your customers happy and involved with your business.

  1.   Native advertising

Ntive Advertising is one of the most unique forms of online advertising. It has become a favorite in internet advertising now due to its unique characteristics. Native advertising is primarily a form of paid form of online advertising that makes the ads look like it’s part of the content on the webpage that the user is currently viewing. It seamlessly blends into the webpage format whatever the page is. The most unique feature of this form of advertising is to emulate the format of the channel or website that the user is viewing.

Native ads can comprise of the following

In-feed ads: Placed seamlessly in the beginning, middle, or end of your feed. They are not jarring to the idea and flow smoothly in your feed.

Search and Promoted listing: They are promoted and appear at the beginning of the page flawlessly without being intrusive.

Recommendations: They are also a very popular art of native advertising that recommends products similar to the ones you’ve viewed or purchased on a website.

Sponsored: Sponsored ads work like pay per click and are highly targeted ads that the user views when they search keywords relevant to the product or service.

The main advantage of native advertising is that it does not irritate the users while they are interacting on a website. It is so smoothly formatted into the website that the users and potential customers do not mind the ads displayed.

While surfing, if you notice carefully you can see there are a lot of ads that are placed strategically on the webpage without impeding user experience on the website.

Some of the most popular brands that make use of these online advertising are:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Starbucks
  • Buzzfeed
  • Forbes
  1.   Remarketing/retargeting

Remarketing and retargeting, though sometimes used as synonyms, are intrinsically different from one another. Remarketing is a type of online advertising that focuses on targeting potential customers and leads through emails whereas retargeting uses other social media to reach out to their prospective clients for promoting their business or brand.

Since E-mail is a very popular means for people of all ages to communicate and use, remarketing based on email is a very useful way by which one can gain back potential customers. 

An interesting and catchy headline with a promotional code for a product can be the ideal way in which we can turn users into leads and then prospective customers.

Retargeting involves the use of cookies to follow a user who has visited your site. When your potential customers leave your site without the desired effect of purchasing your product, the cookies help to position your ads while the user is surfing the net. In this way, you can capture their interest in your product again and they might visit your site and make the purchase they hadn’t the first time. 

Though remarketing and retargeting in their individual capacity are great tools for online advertising, a combination of both can be an absolute winner for an online advertising strategy.

Remarketing is as effective as it is convenient. CPM(Cost per Impression), CPA(Cost per Acquisition) are some of the methods by which remarketing can be effectually done to increase sales and provide the incentive to customers to make a purchasing decision. 

  1.   Blog Marketing

Blogs can be a very resourceful element in online marketing. Though the returns on investment depend on several factors and are time-consuming, the results can be quite rewarding.

Blog marketing can be of two types

  • The first kind is when you request the blog owner to promote your product or service through reviews, storytelling, and branding on the owner’s website. You can collaborate with a renowned blogger who has the same consumers as your target group. You can pay them for the reviews they post praising your product or service. This is also a type of influencer marketing that is very much an active part of web advertising. 
  • Another kind of blog marketing is when you purchase space in a blogger’s website or page for your own ads to appear on that page as banner ads or flash texts, audio, video snippets. The advertiser gets the required visibility and the blogger gets the money for driving traffic to your website via their blogs. 

8. Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing can be defined as the total of all the techniques that can be used to convert mobile phone users into leads and then turn those leads into conversions.

The importance of cell phones can no longer be denied in our everyday lives. It is the most used electronic device everywhere. Starting from an alarm clock to a weekly planner mobile phones solve our everyday hassles quite conveniently. Therefore companies have to make use of the most used device to augment their business and improve their sales. According to reports around 40% of the total time spent on the internet is done so on mobile phones. 

Mobile marketing is a great online advertising tool.

It is convenient and has a much wider reach, helps to communicate in a much easier way. Mobile marketing is a treasure trove for e-commerce. Audience targeting and visibility are maximum in mobile marketing. Thus, it can be incorporated in researching and creating a buyer persona for your product and service for successful online advertising.

It is also convenient from the viewpoint of customers. They can have whatever they want at the tip of their fingers and can access them whenever they want without the use of bulky devices.

Thirdly, it is a win-win situation for businesses and consumers since the feedback and reviews can be given instantly and brands can take note of the good and the bad quite rapidly in case of mobile marketing. It also leaves room for personal engagement which is not always possible in other methods of online advertising.

Some of the trends that are extremely popular in internet advertising are

  • SMS Marketing: Often we see companies promoting their products, services, promotional codes, discounts through SMS to the consumers. 
  • App Marketing: Big companies often make the use of their apps for online advertising of their products, to provide information about their new services, and for sales and coupons
  • Location-based services: This is another very important feature of mobile marketing. Companies and service-based organizations can provide customers with all kinds of benefits through location-based services through phone networks and GPS facilities. For example, a food delivery company can give a list of restaurants available in the vicinity of that consumer, and based on that information, the consumer can order food online.
  • Voicemail: Voicemails as well know are prerecorded messages that can be used as a very successful alternative to physically calling someone. They can be used to provide a lot of information and to answer queries and doubts. It can also be used to purchase or book a product or service respectively.
  • QR codesQR codes and quick response codes in online advertising. They can be used as an alternative to URLs and can also be used to scan and save information on your smartphones. Payments can be made easily through QR codes in a market through mobile marketing. 
  • Push Notification: Push notifications are texts that are flashed on your mobile device instead of plain text like an SMS. They can be used to advertise a product and provide information about a certain brand or service.
  • From the viewpoint of marketers and business houses, it is important to pay attention to a few points when strategizing online advertising through mobile marketing. All companies now know the benefits of having an app for your company that is mobile-friendly. 

Key points to remember in this regard are

  • Be sure that your mobile app is up to date and user-friendly.
  • It should be easy to maneuver through pages on the app should be delineated. 
  • Webpage on the app should be optimized so that consumers don’t have to wait for the page to load
  • Touch facility should be maximized to avoid glitches when a consumer tries to buy a product or tries to put a product in a shopping cart.
  • Companies should take extra care to see to it that the details of the consumers are kept private. Adequate security measures are taken in this regard. Also, businesses should take permission before sending messages regarding their products and services.
  1.   Videos

Videos are one of the most sought-after types of online advertising. That is because videos are the most appealing form of content out there. There are so many video steaming social channels that advertisers can have the maximum benefits from advertising their products or services on these channels. Youtube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Vine are forms of video streaming social media channels. 

Also when you search for particular content on this site, the results can have a few ads placed at the beginning of the search page as banner advertisements. On such streaming platforms also, you get to see a dialogue box with ads written in the box. A video application-based online strategy can be a great investment with excellent returns. 

Some very useful tips for a successful online advertising technique

  • Analyze your ROI
  • Segment your audience
  • Choose the best media for a specific business
  • Use social media popular among your target audience
  • Make clear CTA
  • Make mobile-friendly apps of your website as well as mobile-friendly ads

Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs

Q1. Is online advertising expensive?

Digital Marketing is comparatively cost effective and it reaches the targeted customers. It depends on your budget and targeted clients.

Q2. Which is the best digital marketing course?

IIM SKILLS offers best skill development courses. They are globally recognized and ranks no. 1 in offering wide range of skill development courses. IIM SKILLS digital marketing course is most popular and highly recommended course.

Q3. Is there freelancing opportunities for digital marketing?

Yes. Digital marketing is very much in trend these days. And its one among the rapidly growing industries. There are many digital marketing freelancers in the market.



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