Online advertising, also called Online Marketing, Digital Marketing or Internet advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. It 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 both 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 who technologically delivers the ad and tracks statistics, and advertising affiliates who do independent promotional work for the advertiser.
In early days of the Internet, online advertising wasn’t allowed. For example, two of the predecessor networks to the Internet, ARPANET and NSFNet, had “acceptable use policies” that banned network “use for commercial activities by for-profit institutions”.The NSFNet began phasing out its commercial use ban in 1991
Email. The first widely publicized example of online advertising was conducted via electronic mail. On 3 May 1978, a marketer from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Gary Thuerk, sent an email to most of the ARPANET’s American west coast users, advertising an open house for a new model of a DEC computer. Despite the prevailing acceptable use policies, electronic mail marketing rapidly expanded and eventually became known as “spam.”
The first known large-scale non-commercial spam message was sent on 18 January 1994 by an Andrews University system administrator, by cross-posting a religious message to all USENET newsgroups. Four months later, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, partners in a law firm, broadly promoted their legal services in a USENET posting titled “Green Card Lottery – Final One?” Canter and Siegel’s Green Card USENET spam raised the profile of online advertising, stimulating widespread interest in advertising via both Usenet and traditional email. More recently, spam has evolved into a more industrial operation, where spammers use armies of virus-infected computers (botnets) to send spam remotely.
As advertisers collect data across multiple external websites about a user’s online activity, they can create a detailed picture of the user’s interests to deliver even more targeted advertising. This aggregation of data is called behavioral targeting.Advertisers can also target their audience by using contextual and semantic advertising to deliver display ads related to the content of the web page where the ads appear.: 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 banners or banner ads typically are graphical ads displayed within a web page. Many banner ads are delivered by a central ad server.
Banner ads can use rich media to incorporate video, audio, animations, buttons, forms, or other interactive elements using Java applets, HTML5, Adobe Flash, and other programs.