Online Advertising

Prior to the internet, marketing had many physical obstacles, ranging from time zone differences to currency exchange rates. Today, the physical store has evolved into a virtual marketplace where sellers and buyers can do business all without ever leaving their home. The advent of web business also brought on web advertising.

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A collection of web adverts

Online Advertising, also known as Web Advertising, is a type of advertising that utilizes the internet to promote a product or message to the consumers. With the internet so crucial in today’s society, online advertising has many different components, not limited to but including: email, mobile apps, search engine marketing, and numerous versions of display advertising.

The two main parties involved with online advertising are the advertiser and the publisher. The advertiser is the creator of the ad, be it a web banner or a logo. The publisher is the one who puts, or publishes, the advertisement to the internet for the consumers to see.

Search ads and display ads are the most widely used forms of online advertising. In search ads the publisher, search engines such as Yahoo! and Google, require the advertisers to “bid” on how high or low they want their ad to be displayed. The higher the bid, the higher the ad is placed when the consumer searches keywords on the engines. For companies like Google, revenue from displaying search ads make up most of their income. Display ads are used in web pages where the publisher charges the advertiser to display their own banner on the display of the publisher’s web page (Prussak, 2013).

john 2Social media advertising is currently rising in popularity. With many different social media platforms and their worldwide usage, companies are coming up with innovative ways to advertise through social media. This type of online marketing is a “medium in which billions of dollars are spent in the U.S. and around the world” (Sconyers, 2017). In this case, the advertiser will pay the publisher, a celebrity, or social media influencer with a large media presence, to promote their products on the publishers platforms ranging from Facebook to YouTube.

Still, not every consumer wants to see ads every time they go online. Ad blocking has made an appearance in which consumers can pay or install software to stop from seeing online ads. “Ad blockers had been available for some time, but their potential use in the world’s most popular mobile browser heightened their saliency and brought the debate over their use into mainstream media”(Wicker & Karlsson, 2017).  This brings a big hamper to the online advertising industry because ad blocking can cost advertisers tens of billions of dollars. The argument that ad blocking violates an implicit contract between the viewer and publisher actually falls under legal grounds. Ad blocking has been referred to as a form of theft from Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. It is still under much debate as to whether such rules have integrity on the Internet.


Prussak, A. Y. (2013). The Income of the Twenty-First Century: Online Advertising as a Case Study for the Implications of Technology for Source-Based Taxation. Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property, 1639-77.

Sconyers, A. (2017). Corporations, Social Media, & Advertising: Deceptive, Profitable, or Just Smart Marketing. Journal of Corporation Law, 43(2), 417-436.

WICKER, S. B., & KARLSSON, K. (2017). Internet Advertising: Technology, Ethics, and a Serious Difference of Opinion. Communications of The ACM, 60(10), 70-77. doi:10.1145/3048384

Image Attribution: The images used in this post are part of the Public Domain

Written by John Kim, 2018

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