Online advertising

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.

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.

Delivery methods

Display advertising conveys its advertising message visually using text, logos, animations, videos, photographs, or other graphics. Display advertising is commonly used on social media, websites with slots for advertisements, and in real life.
The goal of display advertising is to obtain more traffic, clicks, or popularity for the advertising brand or organization. Display advertisers frequently target users with particular traits to increase the ads’ effect.
Online advertisers (typically through their ad servers) often use cookies, which are unique identifiers of specific computers, to decide which ads to serve to a particular consumer. Cookies can track whether a user left a page without buying anything, so the advertiser can later retarget the user with ads from the site the user visited.

As advertisers collect data across multiple external websites about a user’s online activity, they can create a detailed profile of the user’s interests to deliver even more targeted advertising. This aggregation of data is called behavioral targeting.
Retargeting, behavioral targeting, and contextual advertising all are designed to increase an advertiser’s return on investment, or ROI, over untargeted ads.

Advertisers may also deliver ads based on a user’s suspected geography through geotargeting. A user’s IP address communicates some geographic information (at minimum, the user’s country or general region). The geographic information from an IP can be supplemented and refined with other proxies or information to narrow the range of possible locations.
For example, with mobile devices, advertisers can sometimes use a phone’s GPS receiver or the location of nearby mobile towers.
Cookies and other persistent data on a user’s machine may provide help narrowing a user’s location further.

Web banner advertising
Web banners or banner ads typically are graphical ads displayed within a web page. Many banner ads are delivered by a central ad server.

Pop-ups/pop-unders
A pop-up ad is displayed in a new web browser window that opens above a website visitor’s initial browser window.

Floating ad
A floating ad, or overlay ad, is a type of rich media advertisement that appears superimposed over the requested website’s content. Floating ads may disappear or become less obtrusive after a pre-set time period.

Expanding ad
An expanding ad is a rich media frame ad that changes dimensions upon a predefined condition, such as a preset amount of time a visitor spends on a webpage, the user’s click on the ad, or the user’s mouse movement over the ad. Expanding ads allow advertisers to fit more information into a restricted ad space.

Display advertising process overview

Ad space may be offered for sale in a bidding market using an ad exchange and real-time bidding. In response to a request from the user’s browser, the publisher content server sends the web page content to the user’s browser over the Internet. The page does not yet contain ads, but contains links which cause the user’s browser to connect to the publisher ad server to request that the spaces left for ads be filled in with ads. Information identifying the user, such as cookies and the page being viewed, is transmitted to the publisher ad server.

The publisher ad server then communicates with a supply-side platform server (SSP). The publisher is offering ad space for sale, so they are considered the supplier. The supply side platform also receives the user’s identifying information, which it sends to a data management platform. At the data management platform (DMP), the user’s identifying information is used to look up demographic information, previous purchases, and other information of interest to advertisers.

This customer information is combined and returned to the supply side platform, which can now package up the offer of ad space along with information about the user who will view it. The supply side platform sends that offer to an ad exchange.

The ad exchange puts the offer out for bid to demand-side platforms.
Demand side platforms (DSP) act on behalf of ad agencies, who sell ads which advertise brands. Demand side platforms thus have ads ready to display, and are searching for users to view them. Bidders get the information about the user ready to view the ad, and decide, based on that information, how much to offer to buy the ad space. A demand side platform has 10 milliseconds to respond to an offer. The ad exchange picks the winning bid and informs both parties.

The ad exchange then passes the link to the ad back through the supply side platform and the publisher’s ad server to the user’s browser, which then requests the ad content from the agency’s ad server. The ad agency can thus confirm that the ad was delivered to the browser.

 

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