A Custom Fit: Whatever your needs, online advertising offers just the right size

Like the many options for price customization we looked at a few weeks ago, online advertising comes in a wide array of shapes, sizes and formats, making it a snap to customize an online campaign for specific customers and mediums.  While these online ads vary in form and function, they all fall into two main categories:  display ads and text ads.

Display advertising uses images, sometimes static, sometimes animated, to communicate your messages to customers, and can have special appeal for those visitors who happen to be more visually or right-brain oriented.  These ads may include Flash animation, video, or may incorporate special interactive technologies known as ‘Rich Media’.  They range in shape from tiny rectangles called ‘microbars’ to large, nearly full-screen ads called ‘interstitials’.  The specifications for these ads are standardized by the  Interactive Advertising Bureau.  You can see a full list of the IAB’s ad specs here.

Text advertising is exactly what it sounds like.  These ads use plain old words to communicate your messages across the web, but the technology behind them is far from old-fashioned, utilizing things like visitor profiling and keyword targeting to showcase your message to specific customers.  Text ads appear most often on the sides of web pages, most notably on the sides of search engine web pages (like Google, Yahoo and Bing), and can even appear within the main body copy of an article on a news, magazine or other information-based website.  Text advertising is also called ‘contextual advertising’ and can hold special interest for those visitors who are more left-brained.

This variety of display and text advertising formats is one of the additional benefits of online advertising.  In the coming weeks, we’ll consider the next steps in understanding online advertising:  targeting audiences and search advertising.

While you’re considering the art of creating online advertising campaigns, grab a few moments to gain greater appreciation for the skills of another kind of artist and read “Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier (or you can look at the painting or see the movie)!

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