What is Internet Advertising?

Internet advertising is a way of marketing services or products on the World Wide Web. This can be done through search engine optimization, banner ads, affiliate marketing, email marketing, SEM marketing and Web 2.0 strategies. It is also known as Internet marketing, eMarketing, web marketing and online marketing.

Internet advertising allows a product or service to quickly reach a global audience. A major advantage is that Internet advertising is usually far cheaper than advertising through more traditional means such as newspapers, radio or television.

Types of Internet Advertising

To better answer the question, “What is Internet advertising?”, we need to first look at all the ways which it can take place.

  • Affiliate Marketing – This occurs when one website runs ads for another (usually larger) site. If a visitor to the site clicks on the ad, he’ll be taken to the other site to make a purchase. If a transaction occurs, the site hosting the ad (known as an affiliate) will receive a commission on the sale. This allows smaller sites to make money by associating with larger sites such as Netflix, AllPosters and Amazon.
  • Lead-based Websites – Sales leads are generated from a company’s website. The company then follows up (usually via phone) in order to make a sale.
  • E-commerce – The direct sale of goods to a consumer. Amazon would be an example of an online company that employs the e-commerce method.
  • Publishing – A website sells advertising space, much in the same way that a newspaper or magazine would do so.

Geo Marketing

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Internet advertising has advanced so far that online businesses can even designate ads to appear based on the user’s state, city, zip code or IP address. This is known as geo marketing (or geo targeting).

In the distant future, one has to wonder if this form of marketing won’t be tailored specifically to the person logging on to the Internet. In some ways, this is already a reality, as many advertisements are designed to appear based on the keywords entered by the user into a search engine.

Specific Clientele

So what is Internet advertising? and how does internet advertising work? Well, besides allowing a company to specifically target a user based on search engine phrases and geographical location, Internet advertising can also allow a business to focus on a specific clientele.

For example, let’s say you own a company which sells tents. If you run a print or television advertisement, your message will be viewed by many people who have no interest in your product.

With the Internet, however, you can place ads on sites specifically geared towards your potential clients. Sites involving camping or the outdoors allow you to directly target those who might need to buy a tent. While it doesn’t guarantee a sale, Internet advertising does allow you to narrow your focus and get the most for your advertising dollar.

Continued Growth

Internet advertising can be tracked and tested in ways unavailable to regular methods of advertising. This allows the advertiser to immediately know what works and what doesn’t. For this reason, Internet advertising is the faster growing form of marketing.

Disadvantage of Internet Marketing

Many consumers like to be able to physically touch or see a product before they buy it. Others may have a dial-up connection and be unable to view all available advertising. Both of these are disadvantages of Internet marketing, although they will most likely disappear in the coming decades.

Security is also a concern for many consumers. Everyone has heard horror stories about people having their identities stolen after making a purchase on the Internet. While most of these stories are exaggerated, all major Internet businesses have responded by installing state-of-the-art encryption systems to protect sensitive customer information.

Summary of Internet Advertising

What is Internet advertising? It’s a way for retailers to advertise products and services online. Ads can target people with particular hobbies or interests, or they can even focus on customers in a specific country or state. The success of an Internet advertising campaign is easier to track, and numerous methods are available to businesses.