With the average online user being exposed to over 60 ads every single day, it’s safe to assume that digital advertising is here to stay. Google’s ad revenue exceeded $43 billion in 2012 alone.
If you own an online platform, whether it’s a blog, sales landing page, website, or any other type of digital property, displaying ads is a great way to generate revenue. But with so many ad networks and types of online ad units, which ones are the best choice for your audience?
Read on to learn about 8 unique types of ads that you can use to monetize your online platform.
1) Banner Ads
Banner ads are among the most common type of online advertisement which makes them a double edged sword. On one hand, banner ads are versatile and can range from a static image to an exciting, dynamic ad that comes alive when a user rolls his or her mouse over it. Banner ads come in all different shapes and sizes. For example, there are two banner ads displayed on this page, one near the top (above the fold) and one to the right within the sidebar.
[wpdialog title=”Common Banner Sizes” auto_open=”false” openlabel=”Click here for common banner sizes.” width=”500″]
180 x 150 Rectangle
234 x 60 Half banner
300 x 250 Medium rectangle
468 x 60 Full banner
728 x 90 Leaderboard
120 x 60 Rectangle
120 x 240 Vertical banner
120 x 600 Skyscraper
160 x 600 Wide skyscraper
240 x 400 Vertical rectangle
300 x 600 Vertical rectangle
125 x 125 Square button
250 x 250 Square pop-up
The disadvantage of banner ads is that they’re everywhere.
Banner blindness, which occurs when users get so used to seeing banner advertisements that they essentially don’t notice them, is a real phenomenon. Online ad networks like Google AdSense or the Yahoo!Bing network are constantly coming up with creative new elements to enhance the classic banner ad.
Many banner ads now offer an interactive element to them. For example, when users hover their mouse over an interactive banner, it expands, or begins to play a video. These hybrid banner ads are still fairly new so their performance isn’t fully understood in contrast to the classic image banner.
2) Text Ads
Text ads are exactly what they sound like – hyperlinks that when clicked, usually take users to a sales landing page. Some ad networks like Infolink offer a dynamic feature to text ads by scanning the content on a page and inserting hyperlinks over keywords that when the user hovers over, displays an ad.
Text ads can be a mixed bag from a user experience standpoint. Although they’re less intrusive than a pop-up ad or some other types of ad units, unless they’re clearly marked, they can damage your site’s credibility if a user clicks through them thinking they’re just a regular hyperlink.
Most ad networks offer text ad units including Google AdSense, Yahoo!Bing, Infolinks, Kontera, and more.
3) Pop Behind or Pop Under Ads
The pop behind or pop under, is a twist on the classic pop up ad. Instead of popping up to the forefront of the screen, the ad displays behind or under the page so when users minimize or close out of it, they see the ad.
Pop under ads are pretty effective because it demands the attention of visitors as they close out or minimize a page.
The main disadvantage of pop under ads is modern browsers are more likely to automatically block any types of pop up (or under) dialogues so your visitor may never see the pop under ad and thus won’t be very likely to click on it. Not all ad networks offer pop under units as many people frown upon them as sneaky.
Although not every pop under is a scam, they’re pretty common with adult websites and appear frequently in shadier neighborhoods of the internet so use them with discretion.
If you’re interested in exploring pop under ads for your online platform, the following networks are good places to start (note – I’m not endorsing any of the following networks, just listing them here for your convenience):
- Infinity Ads
- Advantage Global Marketing
4) Interstitial Ads
Interstitial ads display in in between pages (interstitial literally means in between spaces). These types of ads range from a simple pop up element that requires the user to exit out before proceeding to the destination page and also includes full blown superstitial ads. Superstitial ads are full sized ad pages that display between two pages of a site.
There are also prestitial ads which display before users can even enter your site. Although these are commonly used to verify a user’s age (common for adult sites, and alcohol/tobacco/firearms niches), they can also be optimized to display an ad.
I would never use a prestitial ad unless I was promoting a product or service that I offered directly. I find it to be in poor taste when a website serves me a 3rd party ad before I can even access their content.
5) Video Ads
These are self exantaintory and a growing force in digital advertising. Videos add a whole new dynamic element to advertising and can engage with a potential customer in ways that traditional image or text based ads can’t. Video ads come in different flavors that can be optimized depending on the audience.
For example, sites like Hulu require visitors to watch 1-3 video ads before allowing them to watch content. While this approach makes sense for Hulu, it would probably be too annoying and intrusive for other niches. Some video ads only require visitors to watch a certain length of the ad before giving them the choice to skip to the content (i.e. YouTube).
6) Floating Ads
Floating ads are a relatively new type of digital advertising. They can best be described as hybrid pop up. Floating ads can be triggered upon a page load or a specific user action(like clicking or hovering over it) and are generally prominent for a brief amount of time (usually 10-30 seconds) before fading into the background.
Not surprisingly, floating ads are gaining prominence as they have a higher click through rate (CTR) than traditional banner ads. In part, this is due to the fact that these ads force users to look (and sometimes listen) at an ad before it fades back onto the page or the user clicks the exit button (if one exists). For some clever examples of floating ads, click here and filter by the floating expendables option.
7) Expanding Ads
The expandable ad taps takes traditional banner advertisements one step further by expanding to various lengths whenever a specific event occurs. Common triggers include mouseovers, clicking, or sometimes initiating on page load. Expanding ads sometimes appear on both sides of a page and can include teaser elements (like a corner of a page shaking) to attract attention. Like floating ads, expanding ads do a great job of getting the visitor’s undivided attention and often times have better CTR’s than banner ads.
8) Trick Banners Ads
Trick banner ads are among the most hated ad type and should be avoided.
I included in this list because of how effective they are. It’s your choice if the higher click through is worth the potentially harmful reputational impact these ads generally result in.
Trick banner ads are almost always pop up ads that are designed to look like they came from your operating system or antivirus program. They usually include common dialog buttons like OK and Cancel that, when clicked, take users to the ad landing page.
I hope this list has got you thinking about your audience and what type of ad or combination of ads would be best for them.
Ultimately, advertisements are another way you can give value to your audience while simultaneously generating income from them. Remember not to go overboard with the amount of ads you display on each page of your online platform and if you want to increase your knowledge of monetizing online platforms.
Alright, now it’s your turn, what kind of ads do you use on your online platform(s)? Do you have a go to strategy for using specific kinds of ad units or just go with whatever pays the most? Let me know by leaving me a comment below!