Advertisement is an attempt to disseminate information in order to inﬂuence a buyer–seller transaction. Traditional advertising on TV or newspapers is impersonal, one-way mass communication. Direct-response marketing (telemarketing) contacts individuals by means of direct mail or by telephone call sand requires them to respond in order to make a purchase. The direct-response approach personalizes advertising and marketing, but it can be expensive, slow,and ineffective (and from the consumer’s point of view, annoying).
Internet advertising redeﬁnes the advertising process, making it media-rich, dynamic, and interactive. It improves on traditional forms of advertising in a number of ways: Internet ads can be updated any time at minimal cost, and therefore can always be timely. Internet ads can reach very large number of potential buyers all over the world and they are sometimes cheaper in comparison to print (newspaper and magazine), radio, or television ads. Ads in these other media are expensive because they are determined by space occupied (print ads), by how many days (times) they are run, and on the number of local and national stations and print media that run them. Internet ads can be interactive and targeted to speciﬁc interest groups and/or to individuals. Finally, the use of the Internet itself is growing very rapidly, and it makes sense to move advertisement to the Internet, where the number of viewers is growing.
Nevertheless, the Internet as an advertising medium does have some short-comings, most of which relate to the difﬁculty in measuring the effectiveness and justiﬁcating the ads. For example, it is difﬁcult to measure the actual results of placing a banner ad, or an e-mail and the audience is still relatively small (compared to television, for example).
The most common advertising methods online are banners, pop-ups, and e-mails. The essentials of these and some other methodsare brieﬂy presented next.
Banners are, simply, electronic billboards, and banner advertising is the most commonly used form of advertising on the Internet. Typically, a banner contains a short text or graphical message to promote a product or a vendor. It may even contain video clips and sound. When customers click on a banner, they are transferred to the advertiser’s home page. Advertisers go to great lengths to design banners that catch consumers’ attention.
There are two types of banners:
1. Keyword banners
Keyword banners appear when a predetermined word is queried from a search engine. It is effective for companies who want to narrow their target to consumers interested in particular topics.
2. Random banners
Random banners appear randomly and might be used to introduce new products to the widest possible audience, or for brand recognition.
A major advantage of using banners is the ability to customize them to the target audience. Keyword banners can be customized to a market segment or even to an individual user. If the computer system knows who you are or what your proﬁle is, you may be sent a banner that is supposed to match your interests. However, one of the major drawbacks of using banners is that limited information is allowed due to its small size. Hence advertisers need to think of creative but short messages to attract viewers. Another drawback is that banners,which were a novelty in late 1990s and so were noticed by viewers, are ignored by many viewers today. A new generation of banner-like ads are the pop-ups.
Pop-Up, Pop-Under, and Similar Ads.
One of the most annoying phenomena in Web surﬁng is the increased use of pop-up, pop-under, and similar ads. These ads are contained in a new browser window that is automatically launched when one enters or exits a site, or by other triggers such as a delay during Internet surﬁng.
A pop-up ad appears in front of the current browser window.
A pop-under ad appears underneath the active window, and when users close the active window, they see the ad.
Pop-ups and pop-unders are sometime difﬁcult to close. These methods are controversial: Many users strongly object to these ads, which they consider intrusive.
E-mail is emerging as an Internet advertising and marketing channel that affords cost-effective implementation and a better and quicker response rate than other advertising channels (such as print ads). Marketers develop or purchase a list of e-mail addresses, place them in a customer database,and then send advertisements via e-mail. A list of e-mail addresses can be a very powerful tool because the marketer can target a group of people, or even individuals. For example, Restaurant.com use e-mail to send restaurant coupons to millions of customers. However, as with pop ups, there is a potential for misuse of e-mail advertising, and some consumers are receiving a ﬂoodof unsolicited mail.
Electronic Catalogs and Brochures.
Printed catalogs have been an advertising medium for a long time. Recently electronic catalogs have been gaining popularity. The merchant’s objective in using online catalogs is to advertise and promote products and services. From the customer’s perspective, online catalogs offer a source of information that can be searched quickly with the help of special search engines. Also, comparisons involving catalog products can be made very effectively.
Sometimes merchants ﬁnd it useful to provide a customized catalog to a regular customer. Such a catalog is assembled speciﬁcally for the particular buyer,usually a company but sometimes even an individual who buys frequently orin large quantities.
Other Forms of Internet Advertising.
Online advertising can be done in several other forms, including posting advertising in chat rooms (newsgroups) and in classiﬁed ads. Advertising on Internet radio is just beginning, and soon advertising on Internet television will commence. Of special interest is advertising to members of Internet communities. Community sites are gathering places for people of similar interests and are therefore a logical place to promote products related to those interests.