Learn the Lingo for Online Display Ads

If you’re serious about online marketing, and you’ve already crafted a solid search engine optimization strategy, launched a Pay-Per-Click campaign, and undertaken a link building campaign, your next step just might be a display ad campaign (or banner ads).  However, knowing the lingo and technical jargon can mean the difference between the success and failure of your ad campaign.

Traditional Online Ads and Banner Ads

Banner ads come in a variety of “standard”sizes; this means that you’ll be able to use the same ad on multiple websites. The top performing banner ads that advertising should know about are leaderboard, skyscraper, and boombox ads.  Since larger ads typically generate more clicks, this is not surprising.  However, there is still some value in smaller ads, such as generating awareness and impressions.

– 728 x 90 pixels
Skyscraper – 120 x 600 pixels
Boombox – 336 x 280 pixels
Wide Skyscraper – 160 x 600 pixels
Full Banner – 468 x 60 pixels
Half Banner – 234 x 60 pixels
Square Button – 125 x 125 pixels

View all standard display ad sizes at the IAB’s website.

Besides multiple sizes, your online ads can come in a couple of different formats – text ads or standard graphic display ads. Text ads are pretty self-exlanatory – they are text with links to your site. The most common text ads are the sponsored Google Ads displayed in search results. Graphic display ads are what people typically think of as banner ads.  They typically have a logo, image, and text message, and they can sometimes even be animated.  These display ads come in several file formats – .JPEG, .GIF, or .SWF.

Finally traditional online ads typically measure success (as well as how much they will charge you) by two metrics: Click-Thru Rate (CTR) and Impressions (CPM). CTR is defined as the ratio of clicks to the number of ad impressions that are displayed. The higher your CTR, the more visits that were generated to your website. Impressions refers to how many website visitors “saw” your ad, or in other words visited the page your ad was displayed on. CPM refers to cost per mille (thousand).

New Online Advertising Trends

Many of the newest online display advertising options are referred to as rich media ads.  They are more interactive, immersive, and sometimes even more user-friendly, resulting in better results for both advertisers, publishers, and consumers.

Billboard Ad – This type of ad is very large and appears at the top of a website. A typical example is visable at the top of YouTube’s home page. Often this type of ad shows movie trailers, but another important feature is the ability for consumers to dismiss the ad by closing it in the upper right-hand corner.
Pushdown Ad – This type of ad is interactive and contains video. It is also social-media friendly, by giving the option to share the ad directly onto Facebook and Twitter. It gets its name because it “pushes down” the website’s content while the ad runs, and then when it closes the web page content gets pulled back up.
Slider Ad – This ad is initially smaller than the rest. It pops up in a small strip from the bottom of a web page; however, when it is clicked on a full size interactive ad appears.

Rich Media Terms

Interactions – The number of times a user interacts with a rich media ad. Interactions include when a user mouses over an ad for one continuous second, clicks an exit link, makes the ad display into full-screen mode or expands the ad.

Interaction Rate – The ratio of rich media ad interactions to the number of rich media ad impressions that are displayed.

Average Interaction Time – A self explanatory definition, the average amount of time (seconds) that a user interacts with a rich media ad, with multiple interaction times being combined together.

Expansion Rate – The ratio of rich media ad expansion to the number of rich media expanding ad impressions displayed. Expansions are counted when a user expands an ad by mousing over or clicking it.

Average Expanding Time – The average amount of time (seconds) that an expanding ad is viewed in its expanded state. Expansion time is capped at four minutes in order to prevent imprecise results.

Average Display Time – The average amount of time (seconds) that a rich media ad is displayed to users

Video Plays – The number of times a video is started to play.

Video Complete Rate – The number of times a video is completely watched divided by the number of times the video is played.