Types Of Digital Advertising: Complete Guide to Online Ads

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Advertising is among the most important parts of a successful business. If you can not reach out and advertise your product or service to those interested in it, you will fail to get new customers and grow your revenue. While there are many types of offline advertising that have long been used, digital advertising is far more effective for most companies today.

It simply offers much better ROI than things like billboards, TV or newspaper ads, and will also reach many more people where they spend a majority of their time, which is on the internet.

In fact, digital advertising spend is growing by large amounts and companies of all sizes in all industries know just how crucial it is. You don’t want to be late to the party, so ensure you are advertising online in some way. When it comes to how your company should advertise digitally, there is no shortage of options.

But which is right for you and your business?

Without any further ado, read on to check out our complete guide to digital advertising and the various methods available to use.

Search advertising

Search advertising is all about getting your advertisement to the top of the first page on Google. Many people only look at the first few results on search engines, so if you are not there, you are missing out. 

Types Of Digital Advertising

While there are a few types of search advertising, two of the best and most popular are PPC and SEO. PPC (pay-per-click) is when a company will create an ad featuring a headline and meta text, that when clicked, will take the customer to a specific page chosen by the company (often a store link or landing page). Every time someone clicks on the link and visits wherever it goes, you will be charged between $1 and $2 in most cases.

Companies will bid on certain keywords where they want their ad to be shown. If you bid the highest, you will have the top spot for that keyword. A search term or keyword with a lot of traffic will often be more competitive and expensive than one that sees lower volume.

On the other hand, SEO (search engine optimization), is all about using your content to try and get your website and/or blog to the first spot on Google, so it will be seen and read by more people who will hopefully convert for you and become a customer. SEO can be very cost-effective and affordable, but is a much longer process and it can take a while to find the right combination of keywords and phrases to propel yourself to the top spot on Google.

As for which is better, according to Redesign, partnering with experts in both PPC and SEO can be a great way to get more customers and improve your advertising strategy. Both can and should be used by most companies looking to reach as much of their target market as possible.

Search advertising can also fall under the broad umbrella of native advertising, in some cases. These are ads that are based on the online habits of the audience, and generally relate to things they have searched for.  Native ads when it comes to search may often appear to the right of search results on Google, and are generally helpful as they relate to things people have an interest in. 

A strategic approach, integrating both organic and paid efforts, is vital. Understanding and effectively utilizing Google's advertising services not only propels your brand to the forefront of search engine results but also engages a more relevant audience. This dual approach ensures that your marketing efforts yield the most fruitful results in today’s digital landscape.

Display advertising

Display ads are possibly the most basic and easy-to-understand type of digital advertising out there. They are normally either photos and text, but some may feature animation or short videos. These are what you will see as pop-ups, as banner ads, on landing pages or next to the content on blogs.

blog post promotion places

These do not appear in search results like the aforementioned ads, and are often quite affordable to set up and use, which makes them popular for those companies with a potentially limited budget.

There may not be a ton of targeting with these ads, but their affordability still makes them a popular choice. These ads are particularly good for products or services that appeal to the masses, as targeting isn’t always possible. So if you simply want to reach the most people (even if they aren’t all in your target) affordably, display ads are a good option

Social media advertising

With the number of people using social media expected to grow to nearly 4.5 billion by 2025, there is no doubting how good a place it can be to advertise. With so many people there, you can essentially reach any sort of target you want with social media advertising.

Social media advertising

By using paid social media ads, you can send your promoted post or sponsored ad to a very targeted group of people, and have it appear in their feed just like a normal tweet, Facebook post or Instagram photo/video. It is easy to tell when you see one of these ads, as they will often be labeled as such.

As for the type of ads you will see on social media, it can vary. There may be some videos, some display ads and even some native ads. There are also organic social media ads where you will essentially share or post your own ads and send them out into the world.

While these often don’t have the same reach as the paid ads do, they can go viral and provide some serious results if you get lucky and/or know what you’re doing in the social media space. Sometimes a simple video may change your whole life. If you post a video on Instagram and get attracted by your followers it's possible to get rapid Instagram growth in no time. Unfortunately it does not happen all the time.

Video advertising

Video is often seen as the king of content, and it is no surprise why. Many people are very visual, and prefer to watch videos about something rather than read about it. Video content often gets a further reach, gets shared more, and can often lead to more sales. Videos are also great for explaining things, even ones that are complex, very quickly and easily.

Video ads can be affordable, and are often great for use on social media. They have high conversion rates in most cases, but you do need to ensure the video is well done, engages well with the audience and isn’t boring.

When it comes to video ads, it is a good idea to keep them short and sweet, too. Get people’s attention immediately, and quickly tell them about your product or service, and the value and benefits it can provide. Try to do so in a way that is exciting and memorable, too. 

Audio advertising

With the growing prevalence and popularity of apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and Audible, audio advertising is becoming more mainstream when it comes to digital advertising methods.

Millions of people listen to ad-supported versions of these platforms, and getting your advertisements here can help them be heard by a ton of people. Also, there are also opportunities to advertise on the content themselves. Reaching out to a podcast within your industry and advertising with them can give you instant access to a large collection of individuals.

Be sure to craft an ad read or make an ad that quickly explains what you do, and why people need your product and service. Many of these ads may only be 15 to 30 seconds long, so you need to take time to ensure you can adequately explain what you have to offer in that short of a time period.

While this is already popular, it is only going to continue to grow as more and more people consume audio content while doing housework, working, going for walks or working out. 

Email advertising

Email ads are not a new form of advertising, as they have been used for decades. However, with them still being commonly used today, they must be doing something right. They are a great way to communicate directly with your audience in a way that isn’t too in-your-face or disruptive.

Email advertising

Creating an email list can be difficult and often involves providing a lot of value for free. But once you have an email list, it is great for everything from testing new ideas, to asking questions to, of course, advertising a certain product or service . Also, creating an email list won’t cost you a thing in most cases and gives you instant access to your most loyal customers.

In most cases, keep the email newsletters you send out short and sweet. Make sure they all provide value in some way, and aren’t just salesly advertising talk from start to finish. Also, avoid sending too many. If you annoy people with a constant barrage of new emails, there is a chance they will unsubscribe and you have just lost your access to a previously loyal customer. 

Influencer marketing

A relatively new approach, influencer marketing is quickly becoming a massively popular way to digitally advertise a product or service. It involves working with an influencer, who will share info about your product or service with their audience. This could be a traditional ad, or they could work it naturally into a piece of their content.

These individuals have a lot of influence over their audience, and their fans will often check out or do just about anything they say or mention. This can lead to a ton more traffic to your site or store, and hopefully a few new customers or subscribers along the way.

Of course, you need to choose an influencer whose audience is made up of those in your target market. This ensures that your product or service will resonate with them, and that you are getting your money’s worth. For example, if you are selling workout clothing or gear, you may not want to work with a beauty influencer as you each may have different target markets and customers.

Also, you don’t only need to work with major influencers with millions of followers. Sure, these can provide brilliant results, but they are also very expensive to work with. These are smaller micro-influencers that will cost a fraction of the price, and still have a great connection to their audience.

No matter your budget, there is certainly an influencer out there who is right for you. Also, going with a cheaper influencer often lets you work with multiple, instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket. 


Retargeting, which is also known as remarketing, is a unique digital advertising approach, but one that is fantastic at the same time. This strategy involves reaching back out to those who have visited your store or website in the past, but didn’t become a customer or convert.

Launch remarketing campaigns

A large majority of people leave a site without becoming a customer, and retargeting gives you a second chance with them. This type of ad will remind an individual about your product or service, and remind them of the value that they can provide. There are many platforms that can help you with this retargeting, too.

Some companies may use static retargeting ads that send the same ad to every individual who didn’t become a customer the first time they visited your site.

However, a better option is to use dynamic retargeting. Dynamic retargeting is all about creating customized and tailored ads for each person based on their behaviors and preferences. This maximizes the chance that the ad will resonate with them and that they will become a customer.

While this method and idea don’t always guarantee success, having two chances to help an individual convert and become a customer is always better than one, and you should see more customers by using this strategy. 

Conclusion: types of digital advertising - complete guide to online ads

In conclusion, we hope that this extensive guide has been able to help you learn more about digital and online advertising methods, and decide which might be right for your business.

Each method has their own pros, cons, strengths, and weaknesses, so be sure to try out a few and see what works the best for you.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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