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3.7 The Advantages of Online Advertising

Learning Objective

  1. Understand why online advertising is a powerful eMarketing tactic.

Banner Ads and Their Similarity to Traditional Media

eMarketers regularly bemoan the fact that it’s often difficult to educate the market about the value of Internet marketing techniques. Traditional buyers of advertising have been conditioned in a certain fashion and have come to understand advertising in a certain way.

Banner advertising goes a long way toward bridging the advertising divide. Online ads have a set size, they can look very similar to print ads, and they occupy a particular bit of real estate in a publication with a particular number of eyeballs looking at it. They’re easy to understand, and they do the things buyers expect advertising to do.

Bottom line: if done correctly, online advertising builds brand awareness and increases sales!

Images: Display Can Offer a Rich, Brand-Building Experience

Some campaigns are better suited to having images rather than the plain text of a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign (although recently PPC image and video ads have been introduced in the United States). Consider the following methods for campaigns:

  • Promoting travel packages. What stirs more emotion—an image of a tropical paradise or the words “tropical paradise”?
  • Building a brand within a specific sphere. Use banner advertising to brand the Web sites of every major player in that niche.
  • Running a competition. Keep the target market’s eye on the prize.
  • Launching an exciting new sports car with a call to actionA phrase written to motivate the reader to take action (e.g., “sign up for our newsletter,” “make car rental reservations today”).. A possible call to action might be“Test drive it now”—or interactive rich media that highlight all the exciting new features as a user mouses over specific parts of the car on the image.
  • Digital shadowing. Using banner advertisements that shadow the above-the-fold activity to drive the message both on- and offline.


Since banners can contain rich media, they offer levels of interaction that other forms of advertising cannot achieve. It allows your target market not only to see your banner but also to play with it. Interaction builds a bond and improves the chances of the consumer remembering your brand tomorrow. Cognitive learning is a powerful outcome of interactive display advertising.

Animations, games, video, Flash—modern online advertising is able to bring together a number of other online marketing tactics:

  • Microsites. A few years ago, Flash microsites were all the rage; now the same functionality can exist right within the ad. This includes filling in a form or playing a game within the ad—no need to be taken to a separate page.
  • Viral marketing. Clever viral marketing games or “send to a friend” functionality can be accessed all from within the ad.
  • Video. Viewers can check out video previews or trailers from within the ad.

Measurability and Data Gathering

Banner ads, like all eMarketing tactics, are measurable. Tracking click-through rates, or click trackingUsing scripts to track clicks into and out of a Web site. Can also be used to shield a link from being picked up as a back link to another site., gives you an idea of exactly how many people are responding to your call to action. Some publishers even have the ability to do postclick tracking—that is, you can track the user all the way to a sale if that is the purpose of the advertisement.

An Online Publishers Association (OPA) study in 2007 revealed that of the 80 percent of viewers that were reported to have watched a video ad online, 52 percent took some action, including checking out a Web site (31 percent), searching for more information (22 percent), going into a store (15 percent), or actually making a purchase (12 percent).Online Publishers Association Europe, “Online Publishers Association Unveils Online Video Advertising Effectiveness Study,” June 6, 2007, (accessed June 17, 2010).

Key Takeaways

  • Online media offer highly targeted placement options for advertisers.
  • Banner ads can operate much like traditional media placements. However, they are trackable.
  • Images can offer a rich brand-building experience to a user.
  • Banners are interactive and can offer deeper levels of interactivity that other forms of advertising cannot.


  1. Refer to the paragraph about images. Think of another situation and explain of how images can be used.
  2. Go to and What advertising can you find on the front page of these two Web sites? What products are being advertised, and how are they being advertised? What can you infer about the target market for these products?