What is Digital Advertising
Digital advertising is any advertising that happens in a digital space. There are several ways of organizing this process that includes various tools to help spread the ads through different channels. You can see the online advertising ecosystem described in the picture below.
Types of digital advertising channels
Each advertising channel is unique in its way of placing the ad, the type of goals it helps to achieve, the ad formats it supports, and the question of the pricing metrics it employs. As with everything online, there are the latest trends and tendencies, and some advertising channels are more relevant than others. So let’s dive in and see for ourselves.
Search advertising is a process of placing ads on all sorts of search engines such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Baidu, Duckduckgo, or Bing in response to the relevant inquiry. It is also often called paid search, pay-per-click (PPC), or part of search engine marketing. Usually, it is used together with SEO techniques to create a well-rounded strategy and various other advertising channels.
Paid search advertising shows high levels of efficiency, mainly because the ad is for people already searching for this service or product. Considering that people are searching for everything via search engines, there is a potential for big audiences. According to research, brand awareness can be improved by up to 80% through Google ads, and Search engine advertising usually brings a 200% ROI rate to the advertisers who use it. If used properly, this online advertising channel can get a lot of profits for any marketing campaign.
Paid search ads appear as the top results on search engines. They are usually based on specific keywords and appear when someone looks for that particular word. Ads can also be placed among the network of partner websites to increase audience outreach.
Text ads are the paid text-based results that can be seen before the organic results out to the right of them. They are marked as ads to avoid any confusion. This format also allows showing additional data in ads, for example, contact information or address, discounts, etc.
Product listing ads (PLAs)
Product listing ads (PLAs) include an image and pricing info and aim to promote some specific product.
Paid ads usually use the pay-per-click (PPC) metric; marketers pay for each click on the ad. The price depends on the popularity of the keyword and on the search engine itself.
Mobile search advertising is on the rise. According to PowerTraffick, 53% of paid clicks are made on smart devices, and 79% of smartphone owners have made some purchases online in the past 6 months. Considering these stats, it is only logical that optimizing mobile search engines should be a priority for advertisers.
Responsive Search Ads
This type of ad is flexible and can adjust to fit the targeted users better. Different variations are tested, and the ad is optimized for specific keywords and viewers in a better way. Such customization is essential in creating a more personal approach and attracting clicks.
Semantic search. This growing trend requires a deeper understanding of user intent and the context behind the keywords. Machine learning makes this advancement possible and is needed for better ad adjustment and understanding of a natural language constantly evolving.
Lead form ads in search
Lead form ads are ad extensions that appear next to the ad text but are not a part of it. When people search for info in the search engines, they see the contact form under the ad in the search results. For example, suppose users respond to CTA (call to action). In that case, they can fill in the given form, thus providing additional information to advertisers with the opportunity to track these new leads and analyze their data. In addition, lead form ads offer other data on potential leads requiring minimal interaction with the web source.
Search Map listing ads
Targeted advertising on Google Maps is a perfect way to find local users and turn them into leads. Ads on Maps help people to find the location of the business quickly. These ads can also provide valuable performance data such as location details of the clicks, direction clicks, and mobile clicks when users want to call your business after seeing a search map ad.
Smart campaign ads
Smart campaigns can help highlight the business’s most powerful selling pitches, attracting new customers by delivering a clear selling message. Smart campaign ads include a short description of the company or service offered with the pre-chosen keyword themes. Then the ad is shown to customers across platforms such as various search engines, YouTube, Gmail and other mail services, and partner websites.
Search advertising has been around for quite a long time. It has been advancing and adjusting to new realities, adopting a data-driven approach. A proper application can bring visible results and significantly improve brand awareness.
Display advertising often called “banner advertising” is a type of targeted advertising using such visuals as images, video, and text. It serves the same purpose as traditional ads – to draw the attention of the intentional customer and engage the viewer. Marketers and advertisers use display advertising software to target, purchase, manage, and track display advertisements. Along with paid search advertising, display advertising is one of the most used forms of online advertising.
Ad spending for the display advertising sector is expected to reach US$158.30bn in 2022, according to Statista. It is the most common type of online advertising, mainly due to its effectiveness and price accessibility. In addition, it usually helps with such aims as growing brand awareness, attracting website traffic, and finding new leads. We recently published how it’s important to use display advertising for your marketing campaigns.
Display ads are placed on the web sources (sites: at the top or the bottom of the page, to the right of the main content, sometimes overlapping the main content of the page), in the various apps, or over the video content – anywhere within a dedicated slot for an ad image.
Banners of the various sizes
|Ad unit Name||Fixed Size (px)||Max. K-Weight (kB)
|Max. K-Weight (kB)
Interactive full-screen advertisements that fully cover the app or site’s interface.
Ads that are usually more complex, include animation or a video, and can be interactive.
Usually, 3 metrics are used to pay for display ads:
- cost per thousand impressions (CPM) – the price paid for the number of people that will see your ad
- cost per click (CPC) – this is the most common pricing metric, and it stands for the sum charged per each click on the ad.
- сost per сompleted view (CPCV) – is a model where advertisers only pay for ads that have been watched entirety. The metric is calculated by dividing ad spending by the number of fully completed views.
Programmatic Advertising – is an automated way of buying and managing all digital advertising without direct contact with a publisher. Instead, the media buying process is done through real-time auctions (RTB) in mere seconds while the page is loading. As a result, programmatic advertising is expected to have nearly $524.31 billion in ad spending in 2022 and grow even further.
Native Advertising — is an ad that imitates the format of original content. It also gains popularity because native advertising can bypass ad-blocking software, a growing trend. Instead, it avoids blocking by mimicking the content format and, despite some criticisms, has become quite popular in recent years.
Fraudulent activities — security continues to be one of the significant concerns among advertisers and publishers. In 2021, research from CHEQ found that the total ad fraud costs reached $42 billion. Levels of click ad fraud remain pretty consistent and keep marketers awake at night, so the attention and efforts of the community are still focused on online safety.
Display advertising is definitely among the most popular and common advertising channels. “The original” online ad format has various formats and placement options. It is one of the most reliable targeted advertising options accessible to all types of businesses of any size. It will continue to thrive, despite some issues connected to security and the question of “banner blindness.”
Mobile advertising refers to a process of advertising on any smart portable device – phones, tablets, or smartwatches. It is quite a young advertising channel considering mobile devices came up not so long ago. Mobile advertising is often used together with other advertising channels to gain maximum results.
According to the latest data, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide in 2021 amounted to 15 billion and is expected to reach 18.22 billion by 2025. This tendency indicates that mobile advertising and mobile game advertising are powerful forces as more and more people turn to portable technologies. Their advantages include that users are more likely to respond to mobile advertising, according to polls, and this channel shows outstanding levels of engagement.
Mobile ads are tailored for various types of smart devices and can appear in all kinds of apps on mobile devices. However, as dictated by the industry standards, it is advisable for mobile ads not to take up more than 30% of the screen space.
- Mobile banner ads are small rectangular advertising images usually depicted at the screen’s top or bottom.
- Mobile video ads are video ads that have been adjusted for mobile screens. They attract advertisers due to the interactive possibilities of the video and better visibility.
- Rewarded ads offer a chance for users to watch a video or engage with an ad to get a reward within the app.
- Interstitial ads are in-app ads that take up the whole screen space. They offer more opportunities due to the substantial sizing. They can be interactive or video-based and often have an option of closure in the form of the [x] sign that appears after some time in the top corners of the ad.
- Push ads or web push notification ads are advertisements that redirect users to a product offer or a landing page upon clicking on them. These messages usually resemble a text message alert or an app notification.
- Mobile app stores ads in the App Store and Google Play. Apple Search Ads (ASA) are paid text ads used to encourage awareness about the app in the store. They can control the keywords and how they coincide with the user’s search history. Google Play App Campaigns focuses on a multichannel approach and advertises the app across Google Search, YouTube, and Google Play platforms.
Usually, mobile ads are bought based on CPM(cost per thousand) metrics, with CPC(cost per click) /CPI(cost per install) calculated for the amount of installs of the app. In addition, in-app purchases are often measured with CPA/CPS(cost per action, cost per acquisition, or cost per sale) metrics.
The continuous growth of mobile ad spending. As we have already mentioned, the popularity of mobile devices will only continue to rise exponentially, and thus the trend for increasing mobile ad spending. And according to the forecast, there is no stop to it in the foreseeable future.
In-app ads over mobile web ads. In June 2019, a survey determined that 26% of companies equally divide their mobile ad budgets between in-app and mobile web ads. However, there is an expected growth in in-app ad spending prompted by changing user behavior patterns during the pandemic. As for now, users spend an average of up to 4.8 hours on their devices, with 90% of that time spent in-app.
As more and more users switch from desktop to mobile devices, it is obvious that this advertising channel will only continue to strive. It makes mobile ads a must in any advertising campaign. It is a factor to be taken into account and taken advantage of. This channel is still young and has some restrictions due to the mobile format and smaller screen size, but at the same time, it provides non-invasive and trackable ads. Many marketers have been making a mobile advertising channel their primary advertising channel, and they are not wrong.
Social advertising refers to the process of showing ads on all kinds of social media platforms. This advertising channel emerged with the appearance of social media platforms. It is relatively young. It can increase brand awareness and loyalty with relatively low advertising costs. Social media advertising can also get higher conversion rates and granular analytics.
Social media advertising is rising as it can help raise brand awareness, facilitate sales and bring loyal customers. Brands can reach the relevant audience and form a clearer buyer persona to understand better what kind of advertising messages should be crafted. Social media advertising does not need substantial budgets. At the same time, it can bring significant ROI and spread brand recognition, which is incredibly lucrative to medium-sized businesses. Social media platforms create all kinds of tools and additions to help customers make better and more effective campaigns targeting relevant audiences.
Social advertisements are placed on various social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. The specifics of ads depend on the social platform it runs on. For example, one of the popular placements is in the feed, as the ad looks just like the rest of the content. New ways to distribute ads appear as more and more different social networks come to market.
Formats depend on the nuances of social networks. Standard social media advertisements include sponsored posts and sponsored videos. Depending on the type of the social media platform, there are some unique formats such as:
- Instant Experience – (Facebook)
- Rewarded Ads
- Messenger Ads (Facebook and Instagram)
- Stories Ads (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook)
- Instant experience
- Store Ads
- Search Ads (Facebook
- Messenger (Facebook and LinkedIn)
- Conversational Ads (Twitter)
Social ads mostly use CPC or CPM metrics and depend on several factors, including the audience scope, the format of an ad, social network, and reaching demographic. With nearly 50% of the global population using social media, the budget for social advertising is expected to double in the next 5 years.
Diverse social media campaigns. As more and more digital platforms emerge and gain popularity, it is only logical to include more social media networks in the ad campaigns to increase revenues and push the campaign to its best capabilities.
There is an option of buying directly from social media platforms now; thus, the brands can sell right through these platforms. It makes social advertising even more important, as any click or view can potentially lead to a direct sale.
Video ads are on the rise as a general trend, but this statement is also relevant to video social advertising. Video content is a very consumable format that draws attention and engages audiences. Facebook targeted advertising posts are 25% more successful with video content. At the same time, video posts on Instagram also receive more responses. Investing in video social advertising can be a game-changer.
Pandemic has brought some global changes, as well as social media’s rapid popularity growth. As of 2022, the average user spends more than 2 hours and 147 minutes daily on social media platforms. Thus, social advertising should be on everyone’s radar because it allows access to various audiences around the globe and can turn into unbelievable results. Considering the tendency of users to spend more time on social media, this advertising channel is a worthy addition to any advertising campaign.
Video advertising stands for ads that contain videos. Using video content to engage viewers has been on the rise lately and is a part of any successful marketing campaign. 86% of marketers report that video ads helped them generate leads and 81% say that video advertising increased sales directly. The popularity of video content cannot be underestimated, as, by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of the global internet traffic which is 15 times higher than in 2017.
Video ads are among the most engaging ads available online. As a result, ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate ( 2022-2026) of 12.63%, resulting in a projected market volume of $295.10 bn by 2026.
Here are some statistics to prove the success rate of video content: users remember up to 95% of information provided in a video format, and 80% of respondents prefer video content over written texts. Numerous studies show that video ads are among the most effective advertising content formats, and solid numbers prove this type of advertising demand. Considering the rise of “banner blindness” and general advertising fatigue, video is a new and reliable option for marketers.
Video ads can be placed within the video content itself or instream, or they can be located alongside other formats such as text, interactive content, or other videos. This type of placement is called outstream. Publisher can adjust the location of the video spot using modern HTML 5 video players and matching digital software.
There are two kinds of instream ads – linear and nonlinear.
Ads that run sequentially with videos, with the most common being:
- Pre-roll – before content
- Mid-roll – during the content streaming
- Post-roll – after the content
Sometimes the viewers can skip these ads, or they must watch them entirely depending on the video player settings.
Play simultaneously with a video but usually are in the format of overlays. It can be full screen or in the form of a banner at the bottom of the content. Usually, it can be closed after a couple of seconds.
In-text video ads
Video ads that are placed within the written content. They appear in a dedicated slot within the text, can usually expand in size, and start playing without a sound at the beginning. The sound seems only if the user sets a cursor over the ad.
Interstitial video ads take up the entire screen while playing and can be closed immediately with a [x] sign in the top corner of the ad.
A technique that helps publishers stitch their video content and video advertisement together. The technology has become popular amid the rise of OTT and CTV and the growing demands of Live streams.
Video ads pricing often follows CPM metrics and CPV (cost per view) logic when paying is necessary only if a user watches or somehow interacts with an ad.
Short videos. With TikTok being a sensation during the pandemic and Instagram format allowing for 15 seconds stories, there is a clear trend for quick and fast-paced video ad content.
Video ad spending increases. In 2021, video ad spending in the US amounted to $40.6 billion. This number is predicted to rise by 14.4% to $46.5 billion in 2022. As a very robust form of ad content, it attracts advertisers and publishers, and TikTok’s emergence only solidified this trend for video ads popularity growth.
Programmatic video ad content. Though the programmatic takeover has been a bit slow on the video ads, it has surely been on the rise due to the rather complex formatting of these ads. It makes it even more attractive considering the optimization of all processes connected with ad placement and the handy software that can do it. Video is an engaging ad format, so if something makes it easier to buy video ads – be sure it will be popular.
Mobile Video. Mobile video advertising is on the rise and exhibiting steady growth. Considering that more and more users watch their video content on portable devices, with 57% (or as much as 75% according to other sources) of global video being played on mobile, it is no wonder this online advertising channel becomes more and more lucrative.
OTT/CTV ads on streaming services. CTV stands for internet-connected TV devices, while OTT is video content streamed via the internet instead of traditional TV. 82% of US consumers use a video streaming subscription, having 4 subscriptions on average. Considering that the popularity of video-on-demand services does not stall, it is safe to say that OTT/CTV advertising will only continue growing exponentially.
Despite being relatively costly and time-consuming, video advertisements show astonishing engagement levels and response results. Considering most people are glued to some social media platform or video streaming website, we are very much used to consuming content in a video format. Video ads follow this tendency and show no signs of stopping.
Cross-channel advertising is the comprehensive approach to advertising campaigns that include multiple advertising channels in the marketing strategy. It can be done directly or through respective advertising software, such as Demand Side Platforms or DSPs. The cross-channel strategy includes all other advertising channels, not just several of them, but most channels with a plan that has a natural flow between them.
Customers in the modern digital and highly competitive environment are used to the customized approach. Cross-channel advertising creates a personalized customer journey across all marketing channels available. The digital world is growing and evolving in many ways, and keeping up with it means being in line with all of the changes, covering as many ways to reach the customer as possible. Optimizing audiences across all channels will bring your marketing efforts to the maximum level. Developing such a strategy can also help maintain a consistent message and brand image, which can, in turn, lead to higher brand awareness and recognition. Though there are many direct deals between publishers and advertisers, more and more marketers turn to programmatic software to purchase ads for different advertising channels and automate this process, saving time and human resources.
Knowing various advertising channels and how to leverage them is a key to creating a profitable advertising campaign and keeping up with trends. The digital ecosystem is a robust system that changes quickly, so it is essential to be informed about the latest developments. Depending on the objectives of the business, different advertising channels and formats can be very effective or not so much if they are leveraged in the wrong way. To increase revenue and make the most out of advertising, one has to study the benefits and specifics of different types of advertising and choose what works best.