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What Are the Different Online Advertising Formats?

Alex Tree
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are many different online advertising formats, including banners, ads that look like website content, and video ads. Banner ads are like billboards of the offline world; they are traditional and effective methods of advertising that most people expect to see. Ads disguised as website content can be misleading, especially for people unfamiliar with the Internet. Compared to many other online advertising formats, video adverts are relatively new. In addition, pop-up ads and interstitial ads are common online advertising formats.

Banner ads are particularly common, but placement matters to advertisers and potential customers. Sometimes the ads are put next to the logo of the website, which does not interfere with the rest of the page’s content. The drawback of placing the logo here is that the website’s logo is not the center of attention; instead, the ad demands the viewer’s attention. Plain banner ads are one of the less obtrusive online advertising formats.

Ads that look like content are among the most common online advertising formats. They are designed to match the layout of the website so viewers will interact with the ad and accidentally leave the original website. These ads are popular because their deceptive tactics can lead to a larger mailing list or purchase for the advertiser.

Video advertisements have taken the place of some banner ads. These advertisements are difficult to ignore because the movement is quick to catch the eye; plus, the video usually has audio. Some advertisers make the video hard to pause or exit, making website visitors view or hear the ad until its end.

Pop-ups are advertisements that usually appear in a separate window. A website might have one or more pop-ups, each advertising a different product or service. This kind of online advertising can be minimized with a pop-up blocker, but not all pop-ups are blockable. Some studies show that website viewers consider pop-up advertisements as one of the most annoying type of online advertising formats.

Also known as in-between ads, intersitital advertisements interrupt the viewing of a website to introduce a product, service, or another website. These ads take over the entire page, and the viewer is usually asked to click "next” to continue doing what he or she came for. Sometimes this kind of ad includes videos and does not give the viewer an option to skip it. Like most ads, intersitital advertisements can be an unwelcome sight if not cleverly integrated.

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Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and SmartCapitalMind contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
By Mor — On Aug 22, 2011

Unfortunately there is no other way for some people to earn money from their online content.

I don't mind ads as long as they aren't intrusive. I'll even click on them, if they look trustworthy and the link is interesting.

But, I think that more often than not people just ignore them.

I'm not sure what the solution is, although I'm pretty sure it's not intersitital ads which can be very intrusive and don't make me want to buy the product at all.

By irontoenail — On Aug 21, 2011

@croydon - The worst kind of ad is a popup ad. If I don't absolutely have to be on that website, I will navigate away immediately if they host popup ads.

I also don't like it when they have in text ads. Those are the ones that look like useful highlighted text, but just bring up another ad if you click on them.

I understand that websites need to generate revenue, but I don't think that spamming people with advertising is the right way to go. In the end you just annoy them and make them less likely to click on anything!

By croydon — On Aug 21, 2011

You have to be so careful with the placement of your ads these days. People can get really turned off by a bunch of ads all over the place. I know that I often think if there is a lot of Google tet ads, that it probably means the content of the site is user generated, and not as reliable as it might be.

However, a nice clear banner ad is just background noise and doesn't make me think any worse of the website.

When you are thinking about placing ads, just think to yourself what would make you look twice.

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and SmartCapitalMind contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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