The types of ads available to advertisers, affiliate marketers, and ad buyers have changed a lot in recent years. Yes, you can still find “classic” ad types such as static banner ads and popups, but you can also choose from a wide variety of other options. This diverse menu of ad types can be an advantage because it allows you to select the exact sorts of ads that fit your needs. At the same time, you need to understand these different options so that you can make the right choice and get the most out of your advertising budget.

Here is a closer look at the types of ads available to online marketers. Once you understand these different ad types (and their advantages), you will be able to choose the option that best fits your needs for each campaign.

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Display Ads

The original form of online advertising, display ads appear on websites as static images or as animations or videos. Advertisers pay to place their display ads on third-party sites.

As a marketer, you can choose from many different display ad types. The most common option is the banner ad. This type of ad often appears at the top or on the sides of a web page. The banner is clickable and has a link that leads to your landing page or product page.

Popup and pop-under ads open in a separate window either above or below the web page. These ads are especially noticeable because they open in a different window, so they are hard to ignore. Internet users may complain about popups and popunders, but they are often quite useful.

Floating banners or interstitial ads appear over a webpage for a few seconds before disappearing to reveal the content. These ads may cover the whole screen, or they may “float” across the screen. Most of these ads close or disappear automatically, though some may require visitors to click to close them.

Wallpaper ads appear behind the content. They may cover the entire background. The advantage is that the ad is visible for the whole time that the viewer is on the page, but it does not interfere with the use of that particular page.

Some display ads have static images, while others may use flash animation or videos.

Social Media Advertising

Advertisers can use social media platforms to connect directly with their target audience either through paid ads or through non-paid marketing efforts. In the online ad industry, unpaid marketing is called “organic.”

Paid social media ads can be the display ad types that we just mentioned. These ads appear above, over, or next to the social media content. Social media platforms may also offer sponsored post opportunities. Sponsored posts look just like regular social media posts, but they are marketing content.

Organic social media posts involve using your social media account to interact directly with your target audience. This approach is kind of like word-of-mouth advertising. Your goal is to create discussions and build buzz about the product or service that you are marketing. Yes, this type of marketing is “unpaid,” so it will not affect your ad budget, but it may be very time-consuming.

Search Engine Marketing

Those in the online ad biz shorten the term "search engine marketing" to SEM. Basically, you pay search engines like Google to place your ad at the top or on the side of relevant search results. SEM ad types include Pay Per Click (PPC) ads and Cost Per Thousand (CPM) ads. With PPC ads, you pay the advertiser whenever someone clicks through your ad and visits your site or landing page. With CPM ads, you pay whenever someone views your ad on the search engine results page. You have to pay even if they don’t click on the ad. You usually pay a set rate for every 1,000 views.

Native Ads

If you have spent time on the internet over the past few years, then you have seen plenty of native ads. They often appear as “recommended links” at the end of a blog post or as “sponsored stories.” Paid posts on social media may also be native ads. Some ad networks specialize in native ads.

These types of ads may be compelling because, if you understand your audience, they may see the ad as relevant content, not as an ad that they can easily ignore.


Remarketing involves using cookies (which are digital identifiers) to “tag” the people who visit your website or land pages. As they travel around the internet, they carry your cookie with them, and you can show them your ad as a display advertisement when they move to different sites.

Why might this be effective? The person who visited your site is likely interested in your product or service. Since you already know that they are a member of your target audience, you can keep advertising to them, which might be more effective than advertising via display ads to generic site visitors who might or might not be members of your target market.

Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-roll ads are video ads that appear before video content. The idea is not unlike advertising with a television commercial. Ideally, you can target your marketing with pre-roll ads so that they only appear on videos that are somehow related to the product or service that you are marketing.

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending sales emails, often in a series, to email addresses that you previously collected. This type of advertising can be useful if you execute it correctly. Ideally, you have an email campaign that uses emails that people gave to you voluntarily. Since they already provided their email address, you know they are already interested in what you have to say, so they are members of your target market. So you know you aren’t wasting time and money marketing to people who might not be interested in your content.

Which Types of Ads Should you Choose?

Which types of advertising should you choose? It depends on your marketing goals, your experience, and the kind of advertising that best fits the kind of ad content you create. You may decide to choose several ad types for your campaign so that you can reach the maximum number of people.