The Evolution of Online Advertising

Before the computer age, advertisers relied heavily on print ads and television commercials to make consumers aware of products and services. With the birth of the internet, advertisers soon became aware that online ads were another lucrative way to get consumers’ attention. In the beginning, banner ads were the ad form of choice for most companies and website owners. Banner exchange programs quickly grew in popularity.

These programs provided free advertising, as long as a website was willing to host other advertisers’ banners on their website, in exchange for their banner to show up on other sites across the web. Many paid banner programs also existed, and these were more popular for larger companies who did not wish to run other companies’ ads on their site.

Within the past decade, advertising has transformed significantly. Much of that transformation can be attributed to social media. Indeed, a great majority of television ads now appeal directly to an Internet audience, whether through stylized social media buttons or simply basing the content on web-surfing.

Google has also played a big role in the evolution.

Google’s introduction of AdWords and AdSense, as well as their acquisition of popular sites, such as Youtube, had a big effect on the quantity of ads being displayed. Companies pay Google to run clickable text ads or banner ads, and website owners displaying these ads get some revenue for clicks or page impressions.

Once upon a time, Youtube videos were ad free, but now many run ads. For Youtube members who are in Youtube’s Partner Program, running these ads brings in money. These advertisements are video ads and, just like with any commercial, there is a lot of pressure to get a consumer’s attention via humor, cleverness, sexiness or surprise.

Despite this, most viewers who have to sit through an ad before they can view a video are not pleased.

Youtube videos are not the only videos showing ads. Even news outlets, such as Yahoo! News, show advertising before a news video. Indeed, it has become nearly impossible to escape advertisements while browsing the internet. Both of these companies’ advertising campaigns have changed this year as well. Not only has Yahoo changed the configuration of its homepage, it is working to incorporate more contextual advertising.

The advertising boom that is beneficial for companies and affiliates is also a turnoff for the average consumer. It can be annoying to have an ad for personal care products displaying next to an article one is reading or a game.

Some business entrepreneurs, such as those responsible for Phorm technology, paid attention to this fact and created ways to personalize a consumer’s ad experience. It may be impossible to have an ad-free browsing experience, but with new technology, ads can be tailored to the consumer’s lifestyle.

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