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online advertising

If you are just beginning to research online advertising and what it can do for your business, one of the essential questions you need answered is: What is online advertising? At  Exact Drive, we realize that not everyone is familiar with the domain of advertising and abbreviations (people in online advertising love abbreviations), so we are headed back to the basics to give you a quick overview of the wonderful world of online advertising.


In a tiny nutshell, online advertising (aka internet advertising, internet marketing, digital media advertising) is exactly as it sounds—the marketing, advertising or promotion of goods or services on the Internet. The umbrella of online advertising is very broad as it comes in many different forms. We could write a whole book on the different types of online advertising but instead we are going to focus on providing a short overview of one of the most popular types: display advertising.

Display advertising

Display advertising includes the use of web banners or banner ads, which are the little boxes of advertisements that you see on many websites. These banner ads increase product awareness and can also drive traffic to a company’s website. Banner ads are can be static, animated, dynamic, interactive, or video. Behavioral targeting, demographic targeting, geographic targeting, retargeting and site based targeting are all common ways in which advertisers choose to target banner ads (we’ll have to dedicate another blog to targeting definitions!). Long-story-short, the ability to effectively target a very specific consumer is a major win for online advertisers.

3 Most Common Ways Online Ads Are Purchased (Media Buying):

  • 1) CPM- Cost Per Thousand: Advertisers pay based on the amount of people who see their ad (called impressions). The pricing is bundled in units of a thousand impressions.
  • 2) CPC- Cost Per Click: Advertisers pay each time a user clicks on the ad and is directed to their website.
  • 3) CPA- Cost Per Action (or Acquisition): Advertiser pays for each specified action (a purchase, form submission, etc)

Advantages of Online Advertising

A major advantage of online advertising is the ability to reach a wide audience for a fraction of what it would cost in traditional advertising. Another beneficial element of online advertising is the ability to easily, accurately and inexpensively measure statistics. Analyzing online advertising campaigns have become somewhat of a science, as there are so many ways to trace, measure and test results. These analytics make it much easier to optimize online advertising campaigns and estimate return on investment (ROI).

If you would like to learn more about online advertising, Exact Drive, or confusing industry abbreviations, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Topics: Digital Media, Internet Advertising, Media Buying & Planning

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI and SouthWest Florida.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.

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Founded in 2011, ExactDrive is a data-driven digital media buying and planning agency. We’re always on the lookout for motivated ad agencies and businesses with a growth and improvement mindset. The more successful you are, the better your business will grow and ExactDrive is here to help.
ExactDrive works best when paired up with an ad agency or business that is looking to optimize and enhance its service offering and campaign performance. It's important to us not just how much you spend, but where your money goes - we love diversifying our efforts across various digital media channels to maximize return on ad spend.
Whether you want to raise awareness, incite action or open new channels, ExactDrive works behind the scene to deliver results so you can focus on operational imperatives. As a result, we become extensions to your daily ad operations and can be trusted with any digital media need because deep knowledge is always at hand.
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