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Things I’ve Learned: The Many Types Of Online Ads

July 27, 2018
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I joined the Diamond + Branch team as the Client Services Manager with an extensive and varied background of working with people, from being a professor to a community organizer and lots in the middle. What I didn’t have a ton of experience in was…digital marketing. So, I’ve had to learn on the job!

I wanted to understand what it is we actually do for our clients at Diamond + Branch, beyond the buzzwords. Listening to our campaign strategy, I learned pretty quickly that there are a LOT of ways to market yourself online – depending on WHERE and HOW you want to reach potential clients.

Online advertising seemed pretty straightforward to me at first, I mean who hasn’t been browsing a website and come across an ad for a product that clearly paid to be there. Or been on Facebook, let’s say procrastinating writing a blog post for work (just as a for instance), and seen ads for products interspersed with your friend's posts. But, when I first started at Diamond + Branch, It seemed to me that all these ads were the same regardless of where you saw them….it won’t be the last time I’m wrong.

I’ve done my research now and like all new students, I’m excited to share the many types of ads we have in our Diamond + Branch arsenal and what they contribute to a marketing campaign!

Display Ads

Those ads I was talking about above, the ones that appear on almost every website you come across, advertising related (or sometimes seemingly very unrelated) products or services, those are display ads. They’re the original online advertising, visual ads that appear on third-party websites.

Originally these ads were comprised of static banner images on the top and along the sides of web pages. But, times (and graphics) have changed, so display ads now come in many different flavors, from static images to ads that move to get your attention, such as floating banners, pop-ups, and even videos that autoplay as you enter a website.

For advertisers, third-party services, like our good friend Google, make display ads easy and affordable to set up to YOUR target audience, with filters for demographics like the location.

Social Media Ads

Social media ads
are similar to display ads, but, as the name implies, are focused specifically on social media channels, because let’s face it 99% of us are spending large portions of our day on these sites and apps!

Like display ads, social media ads can now be anything from a simple banner to a flashing image or a full video that autoplay as you scroll through your favorite app.

For the advertiser, social media channels offer even better targeting for your consumer audience, with the information given to these channels about a person’s age, location, interests, education, work, and more.

One type of social media ad we use for a lot of our clients is Facebook’s boosted post, which are ads on posts already created as part of a business’ page. They pull double duty, living on this business page, gathering organic engagement and loyalty to the brand from customers. Then, as they are boosted, they reach a much wider targeted audience, bringing potential customers to their company page and messaging.

Native Advertising

Sometimes you’re reading a blog post or a social media feed and you see a related post that looks exactly like all the other content on the page with the addition of a ‘Sponsored’ label.

These are native ads, a special type of display ad, in the form of sponsored listings in places like article index pages, at the end of blog posts, or in social media feeds that integrate into the platform they appear on.

The immersive user experience these types of ads create can result in high click-through rates for the advertiser.

Search Engine Marketing (aka Google Ads)

Search engine marketing
sounds like a complex term, but it’s just the generic way to refer to the advertising we see in action every day when we search the web (usually on Google, hence the name brand Google Ads). When you ask Google to say ‘the best tacos in San Diego,’ some of the top results will include restaurants who have paid and optimized to show up in that spot.

From the advertiser perspective, these ads don’t magically appear in search results, they correspond to KEYWORDS about the products and services you offer that you choose to be displayed for. And, you only pay when people actually engage with your ad, by clicking on the link to your website or to call the business.

Retargeting Ads

Has this ever happened to you, you go online to check out a possible hotel for that vacation you’re planning, then you go on to Facebook later that day and see ads and promotions for that hotel. No, Facebook can’t read your mind, these deja vu moments are brought to you by retargeting ads.

As a business, when people visit your website, you can put a cookie to follow their activity online, so that your ads will appear wherever they go next on the internet, reminding them about your product or service.

This type of ad is relatively inexpensive and has a high rate of conversion as it targets an audience that already knows and has shown interest in what you are offering.


So, there are some of the top ad types used at Diamond + Branch and the benefits they have for our clients. Our marketing strategy depends on knowing which of these CHANNELS and METHODS will work best for you when!