Online ads have become a daily part of internet life. For new marketers, it can be confusing getting a grasp on the scope and variety of online ads available. Companies around the world are seriously trying to find the good way to advertise, and today mostly small business owners are using online advertising to market their goods. Even though there are many free methods that you can use to drive traffic, it’s hard to beat the speed and ease of using a paid advertising campaign. As long as you have a reasonable budget and are willing to go through a learning curve, you’re ready to check out these options for online advertising.

Compensation Methods

1. CPM (Cost Per Mille)

Cost per mille, often abbreviated to CPM, means that advertisers pay for every thousand displays of their message to potential customers (mille is the Latin word for thousand). In the online context, ad displays are usually called "impressions." Definitions of an "impression" vary among publishers, and some impressions may not be charged because they don't represent a new exposure to an actual customer. Advertisers can use technologies such as web bugs to verify if an impression is actually delivered.

Publishers use a variety of techniques to increase page views, such as dividing content across multiple pages, repurposing someone else's content, using sensational titles, or publishing tabloid or sexual content.

CPM advertising is susceptible to "impression fraud,” and advertisers who want visitors to their sites may not find per-impression payments a good proxy for the results they desire.

2. CPC (cost per click)

CPC (Cost Per Click) or PPC (Pay per click) means advertisers pay each time a user clicks on the ad. CPC advertising works well when advertisers want visitors to their sites, but it's a less accurate measurement for advertisers looking to build brand awareness. CPC's market share has grown each year since its introduction, eclipsing CPM to dominate two-thirds of all online advertising compensation methods.

Like impressions, not all recorded clicks are valuable to advertisers. GoldSpot Media reported that up to 50% of clicks on static mobile banner ads are accidental and resulted in redirected visitors leaving the new site immediately.

3. CPV (cost per view)

Cost per view video advertising. Both Google and TubeMogul endorsed this standardized CPV metric to the IAB's (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Digital Video Committee, and it's garnering a notable amount of industry support.

4. Other performance-based compensation

CPA (Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition) or PPP (Pay Per Performance) advertising means the advertiser pays for the number of users who perform a desired activity, such as completing a purchase or filling out a registration form. Performance-based compensation can also incorporate revenue sharing, where publishers earn a percentage of the advertiser's profits made as a result of the ad. Performance-based compensation shifts the risk of failed advertising onto publishers.

5. Fixed cost

Fixed cost compensation means advertisers pay a fixed cost for delivery of ads online, usually over a specified time period, irrespective of the ad's visibility or users' response to it.

Ad Types

1. Static

Static display ads, which have been around for more than a decade, offer no movement or user interaction. They are simple images hyperlinked to an advertiser’s site. They can contain a combination of still images and text.

2. Animated

Animated ads inject movement in .GIF or Flash formats. Depending on the design, the entire ad can be animated or just a part of the ad while the other part remains static -- it’s up to you. Publishers usually limit the file size of an animated ad and the number of times the animation can loop on their sites.

3. Interactive

Interactive display ads include a long list of tools and games. They offer the user some function while bringing them to the advertiser’s site. The ad’s design and coding determines the number of clicks needed to direct a user to an advertiser’s website or which portion of the ad is hyperlinked.

Here’s an example: An imaginary game ad features animated moles popping out of the ground, and a hammer floating through the air. When a user mouses over the ad, the hammer becomes the cursor and text appears encouraging the user to “Whack a Mole!” As the user “whacks” the moles, they are taken to the advertiser’s site after a specified number of whacks (clicks) -- whatever way the ad is set up.

Other interactive ads can accept information from users, such as email addresses or ZIP Codes. The ads’ functions are limited only by the programming and the file size permitted on the publisher’s site.

4. Video ads

Video ads play a short video for the user. The video can be programmed to play automatically when a Web page opens, or it can be user-activated. Their functionality varies greatly. Some allow users to rewind, fast-forward and adjust the volume; others offer no controls. One thing almost all these ads do is link to an advertiser’s site.

5. Expanding ads

Expanding ads increase in size when moused over or clicked. Their expansion varies. They can start as a static image ad and expand into something as complicated as a fully interactive video. Or they can start as an animation and expand into a list of product features.

Ad Sizes

1. Leaderboards (728x90 pixels)

Leaderboards are the most common Web ads, making up 30% of all online display ads, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. They are frequently found at the top or bottom of a website and stretch across a page from end to end.

2. Medium/large rectangles (300x250 pixels and 336x280)

These box-like ads are often used to interrupt text content; paragraphs form around them. This gives the ads a stronger chance at being seen since users read around them.

3. Wide skyscraper and skyscraper (160x600 and 120x600)

These aptly named tall ads usually run down the left or right side of a site.

4. Non-standard dimension

Not every ad conforms to the IAB’s guidelines. Display ads in this category can be any non-standard dimension agreed on by the publisher and the advertiser. As the fourth-most popular category, these ads illustrate that not every ad needs to conform to standards.

5. Full banner (468x60)

Full banners look like smaller leaderboards.

6. Button #1/Button #2 (120x90 and 120x60)

Buttons are small, box-like ads that usually don’t offer functionality beyond a link to a site. They can feature animation.

Online Ad Types and Formats

1. Google Search Ads

Google search ads are online ads that appear alongside the search engine result page when users search a keyword query on Google. These ads are PPC, or pay-per-click ads, in which advertisers pay for each ad click. Google’s PPC search ads are managed by Google’s AdWords advertising platform, which allows advertisers to bid on keywords, craft ad text, set budgets, and more. To advertise on Google AdWords, you'll need to create a Google AdWords Account.

2. AdWords Ads

AdWords ads are online advertisements created within Google’s AdWords advertising platform, identical to Google search ads.

3. PPC Ads

PPC ads, AKA pay-per-click ads, are advertisements in which the cost of advertising is determined by the number of clicks an ad receives. AdWords and Bing Ads both use a pay-per-click model.

4. Bing Ads

Bing ads are similar to Google ads in that they work on a pay-per-click basis. Advertisers can manage their ads through the Bing Ads service, formerly known as Microsoft adCenter. You can get started with creating Bing Ads

5. Facebook Ads

Facebook ads exist in many different forms, each offering unique pros and cons for advertisers looking to market on Facebook. Marketplace ads appear in the side columns of the Facebook website with a headline, copy, and an image.

Promoted Posts are Facebook ads that let advertisers pay a flat rate to promote a single post on their Facebook business page. The promoted post reaches more fans and friends of fans than a regular post. Sponsored Stories show a user’s interaction with an advertisers page or product to the user’s friends and larger network. Sponsored Stories are also one form of Facebook ads that can appear in a user’s newsfeed. FBX, or Facebook Exchange, are Facebook ads that implement remarketing. These ads take into account a user’s web surfing history data, letting an advertiser show an ad for a product a user was looking at earlier on the advertiser’s website.

6. Twitter Ads

Twitter ads refer to the paid boosts that brands on Twitter can use to extend the reach of their tweets, promote a chosen hashtag, or gain more followers.

Promoted Tweets lets advertisers’ tweets reach more people’s home feeds, and offer a healthy batch of targeting options. Twitter ads also include Promoted Accounts, letting advertisers show up more often in Twitter’s Who to Follow recommendation feature. Promoted Trends gets your custom hashtag in the Trends bar, earning additional attention and notice from the Twitterverse. If you're looking to advertise on Twitter, be sure to measure social media roi.

7. Tumblr Ads

Tumblr ads come in a few different formats – Tumblr Radar and Spotlight allow for “sponsors,” aka advertisers, to be featured in areas where Tumblr highlights unique content and accounts. With 54 million users posting 70 million posts per day that get over half a billion page views each day, the Tumblr community is an active and lively one.

Tumblr also offers sponsored web post ads, which are pieces of Tumblr content crafted by advertisers that appear in users’ main dashboard feed, integrated with normal, user-generated content. These Tumblr ads have small dollar signs to mark them as advertising content. In order to post your online ads onto the Tumblr platform, you'll have to become a Tumblr sponsor.

8. Banner Ads

Banner ads are image-based advertisements that often appear in the side, top, and bottom sections of websites. They can range widely in terms of size, design, and function. You'll typically find them in all sorts of news-based websites, blogs, and specialized web communities. Many websites brokerage their ad space with ad exchanges such as Google's Display Network, or you can buy the ad space in the same manner you'd buy an ad on a newspaper.

9. Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads are a form of contextual banner ads used in the Google Display Network, Google’s collection of network sites that agree to host display ads. The Google Display Network also includes Google properties such as YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, etc. Google Display ads can be text, images, and even video based. To serve online ads on the Google Display Network, you need to start by using Google AdWords.

10. Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads (see similar, Google Remarketing) entice a user to visit a site by taking into account the user’s past web history. When a user visits a website, a retargetting campaign cookie is attached to the visitor, taking note of what pages and products the user visits while browsing the site.

Once the user leaves the advertiser’s site and begins journeying to other websites, targetting ads can be made to appear in certain ad spaces, displaying ads that specifically call out what the user was looking at on the advertiser’s site earlier.

Retargeting ads tend to perform drastically better than regular banner ads, with higher click-through rates and conversions. If you're already using Google AdWords, we have a step-by-step tutorial on creating your own Google AdWords remarketing ad.

11. Flash Ads

Flash ads are banner ads that use Flash design, often featuring interactive elements to entice users. While flash is still used subtly in certain display ads, the playful, interactive, and somewhat hokey flash ads that were common in the millennial years are no longer considered a popular form of banner ad.

12. Reddit Ads

Reddit ads are advertisements featuring a headline title, destination URL, and an optional photo. Reddit ads work on a bid-based system, in which advertisers can set campaign budgets and choose how long they want their campaign to run for. Reddit ads allow for some unique targeting options and are often fairly cheap, with low cost-per-impressions.

What really makes Reddit ads unique are the comments and voting – users can upvote or downvote your ad, giving advertisers an easy read on if users like or dislike an ad. Each ad, like all other posts on Reddit, has a comment section. This can be useful for advertisers because it allows users to provide direct feedback that goes straight to the advertiser.

The best Reddit ads take their audience into consideration – Reddit is predominantly frequented by a young, tech-savvy audience, mostly males. On a whole, the Reddit community is very wary of blatant marketing, so posting a Reddit advertisement can be a bit like playing with fire. If done properly, Reddit ads can bring a lot of attention for low cost. You can advertise on Reddit through their website.

13. Mobile Ads

Mobile ads are ads that appear on smartphones, tablets, and any other mobile device. Many social media platforms, websites, and apps offer their own unique mobile ad options. If you advertise on Google AdWords, you can advertise to mobile devices by taking advantage of Enhanced Campaigns.

14. In-Game Ads

In-Game ads are advertisements that exist within computer or video games. One of the most common examples of in-game advertising is billboards appearing in sport games. In-game ads also might appear as brand-name products like guns, cars, or clothing that exist as gaming status symbols.

15. AdMob Ads

AdMob Ads are advertisements that appear within mobile apps. AdMob itself is Google’s mobile advertising platform, enabling app creators to make revenue off of free games by offering ad space, and allowing advertisers to get ad spots in the most popular mobile games and apps.

AdMob ads can appear as mobile-optimized text ads, image-based banner ads, or even interstitials ads, which use rich HTML5.

16. Email Ads

Email ads are advertisements sent to users via web mail. Email ads can be used to notify subscribers of certain promotions, discounts, or new features, among other uses.

Most email advertisements feature a large image with minimal text; users will not waste large amounts of time reading email ads, so it’s important to make your message as clear and concise as possible. Email ads also rely on a compelling subject line to ensure that a user will open the email.

17. Gmail Ads

Gmail ads in Google’s online email service are contextual ads that are generated by an automated process that scans a user’s emails to discover interests and topics that are relevant to the user. If a user is writing and receiving many emails about air conditioners, that user may see ads about air conditions appear within the Gmail client.

While privacy advocates are wary of such practices, Gmail advertising is fully automated and Google asserts that no humans read user emails, only robots.

18. Video Ads

Video ads are growing in popularity as better internet speed performance and online advancements make it fast and easy to watch videos on the web. The most successful video ads avoid blatant advertising, opting instead for educational, how-to video content that naturally appeals to users, with some (if any) product suggestions discreetly integrated. Humorous video ads also perform well, with some funny video ad network campaigns finding enormous success, especially when an interactive element is added.

19. YouTube Ads

YouTube ads are ads that appear on Google’s video-sharing site. Since Google obtained ownership of YouTube, advertising on YouTube has become nearly as easy and customizable as advertising on AdWords.

YouTube ads provide a number of targeting options and several different ad formats. YouTube advertisements can appear as banner ads, in-video overlay ads, in-stream video ads (which are video ads that appear before or during another YouTube video), as well as several other setups.

20. Pinterest Ads

Pinterest ads are simply pieces of content pinned by brands and advertisers. When marketing a specific product, marketers create Pinterest advertisements by adding a dollar sign before the price amount to the description. This tells Pinterest that this item is for sale at that specific price. Pinterest marketers can then link the pinned item to the official product page to drive retail traffic.

Some marketers also implement their own form of Pinterest advertising by hosting contests on Pinterest. While this doesn’t result in direct sales, contests are a great way to drum up user attention, engagement, and boost site traffic, depending on how the contest is organized. Take note that while you do not have to pay Pinterest to create ads, you will have to spend significant time and effort to create beautiful online ads to attract lurking buyers on Pinterest.

21. Instagram Ads

There are at the moment no “official” Instagram ads – just brands being creative and producing Instagram pics that can be shared right alongside user-crafted content.

22. Vine Ads

Vine ads operate the same way Instagram ads do – there are no official Vine ads at the moment, but many brands and advertisers produce Vine video ads that serve as natural content-based advertising, integrating with regular used-crafted content.

Good Vine ads take a clue from other successful Vines by creating 6-second content that stands out, often implementing stop-motion techniques.