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Understanding digital advertising

 Search, social, display, programmatic, newsletter, affiliation... you are a bit lost in all this terminology! So what is digital advertising? What is the difference with traditional advertising? Is digital advertising effective? Here are a few things that will help you understand this whole environment.

History of Digital Advertising

The term digital in advertising refers to all advertising on the internet. This term represents all the devices available on the web allowing companies to advertise.

It was the creation of the World Wide Web in 1991 by the computer scientist Tim Berners Lee that really gave birth to the Internet. Three years later, the American mobile telephone operator AT&T broadcast the first advertising banner on the online site of Wired magazine. A format that would become the norm.

Between 1994 and 1995, the search engines Yahoo and Altavista developed and integrated advertising space on their platform. In 1997, the interstitial or pop-up (an advertising window that opens automatically on the user's screen) made its first appearance. The first one was reportedly on CBS SportsLine and was an advertisement for the company Berkeley Systems. This format is now widely used on smartphones.

In 1998, Google made its entrance into the market. It was not until 2000 that broadband was introduced. 2000 was also a key year for Google, as it launched its online advertising service: AdWords (this service allows advertisers to have their ads appear according to a list of determining keywords). 2001 saw the boom of the pop-up. The format is used by nearly 1/3 of the sites worldwide. This highly intrusive advertising led to the creation of Adblock (a tool for blocking ads) in 2002.

In 2004, Google launched developed targeting. A keyword function in Gmail. Then in 2005, Google Analytics was launched, allowing websites to analyse their performance. In 2011, native advertising (an advertising format that is more integrated into websites and resembles editorial content) made its appearance and in 2012 the number of internet users exceeded one billion.

What is digital advertising today?

Digital advertising used to include search and display. But in recent years, this term has evolved a lot and today we can define digital advertising as any advertising carried out on the Internet on any medium (computer, mobile, tablet). In 2020, digital advertising has passed a milestone as it now represents more than 50% of advertising investments.

>>> Read our article Market study on advertising in France in 2020, what future for 2021?

Digital advertising includes the following channels

  • Search
  • Display
  • Social networks
  • Video
  • Affiliate advertising
  • Native advertising
  • Retargeting
  • Newsletters

The variety of advertising formats: one of the great advantages of digital

The development of the internet goes hand in hand with the new devices available. The advertising agencies of pure players and websites are now aware that digital is a real opportunity for advertisers to distinguish themselves and strengthen their image with their target audience.

Advertising agencies are now creating original and creative digital formats and devices. Whether it's dynamic formats, video formats or special formats for social networks... There is something for every taste and every communication objective!

A channel accessible to all budgets

Indeed, in digital, the cost is more affordable than in traditional media, although there is a multitude of more or less expensive formats and thousands of sites on which you can appear. However, the real advantage of digital advertising is in the real-time management of the budget. Indeed, today digital advertising offers advertisers the possibility to reallocate their budget according to the real time performance of the sites used or visuals online.

A simple example: an advertiser wishes to communicate and appear on two sections of a site: the travel section and the relaxation section. 1 to 2 weeks after the launch of the digital campaign, the performance analysis tools and platforms will be able to determine which section has generated the most views or the most clicks. The advertiser will then have the opportunity to reassign the rest of the campaign's available budget to the best performing section according to its KPIs: key performance indicators (click-through rate, CPM, VCPM, etc.).

When should digital advertising be included in the media mix?

Mix Marketing - Publicité digitale

In reality, digital advertising is an excellent complement to almost any communication campaign and will allow you to reach another part of your target. It is important to establish a strategy and determine the benefits of digital communication. In this channel, each solution meets specific needs and objectives. There are 4 major objectives:

  • awareness
  • traffic
  • retargeting
  • conversion

Thus, some formats will be more effective for traffic objectives, others for awareness or conversion objectives. Also in digital, the communication period is important and once again it is linked to your communication objectives and your target. You have to ask yourself the right questions: when is my target group most receptive? What sites/themes interest them the most? How often do they buy?

Digital advertising is already an essential part of advertisers' campaigns. Technological innovations are developing rapidly, giving advertisers many tools to stand out and achieve their objectives.

At Adintime, we support our advertisers in their digital advertising campaigns. Do not hesitate to consult our pages dedicated to digital advertising:

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