Skip to Content

The New Era of Advertising

The New Era of Advertising

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.” — Don Draper, an advertising executive on

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.” — Don Draper, an advertising executive on the television show Mad Men

Advertising follows us like a shadow, though people may not always be aware of it. To get their messages across, advertisers use every possible channel, from the traditional ones, such as television, print, and radio, to those that are more exclusive, such as private events or partnerships with celebrities to endorse products.

As the remarkable craft of ’90s commercials started to change on the eve of a new millennium, advertisers were empowered to create more engaging, yet subtler ads. And the best part is that now they can better target people who are truly interested in a product or service.

Surprisingly, most people still think of advertising as mostly television commercials, radio ads, direct mail, and flyers. Today, marketing and advertising join forces, morphing into a digital model that has taken on many different forms, including:

  • Digital display ads
  • Social media ads
  • Paid search marketing
  • Native ads
  • Retargeting
  • Video ads

Read on to learn about the different advertising options available to companies today, the pros and cons of each option, and a general explanation of costs (if it can be generalized). This article can serve as a guide for companies that want to advertise but aren’t sure of how to allocate their budget.

The Current State of Affairs

Before we dissect every type of digital ad, let’s take a step back and see what’s going on in the industry.

Digital ad spending was projected to hit $333.25 billion by the end of 2019. It will likely surpass 50 per cent of the global ad market for the very first time in its history. Experts predict that by 2023, digital ads will be dominating traditional advertising by owning 60 per cent of the global ad market. Google will keep its crown as the world’s largest digital ad seller in 2019 with 31.1 per cent of worldwide ad spending, which translates to $103.73 billion. Facebook is breathing down the search engine’s neck, boasting $67.37 billion in net ad revenues — which is impressive, considering its billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram in 2012.

Let’s take a look at more thought-provoking numbers.

As video content is becoming more influential, the big trinity — Google, YouTube, and Facebook — seem to control the digital advertising cosmos by gripping 66 per cent of digital ad spend. The expansion of these channels is impressive, as they represent 63 per cent of total ad spend in North America.

Another number that indicates the popularity of video content is that 65 per cent of companies boosted their video advertising in the last year. As new tech adoption penetrates consumers’ lives, advertisers are trying their hand at reaching audiences in new and unique ways. In fact, 44 per cent of advertisers are currently using smart TV technology to connect with their consumers, and 39 per cent make use of virtual assistants to get closer to their audience.

Digital Marketing Ad Types

Advertising works best when your brand can meet your customers anywhere they are. A modern consumer, regardless of whether they represent a business, interacts with your brand across various channels and devices. Those interactions need to be personalized and to appear at the right place and at the right time.

Digital ads come in all shapes and sizes and allow you to instantly reach your audience and expand your brand presence.

Display Ads

Display ads are shown to users on sites that are part of the same advertising network. One of the most prominent display networks is, unsurprisingly, run by Google. These ads come in an array of formats, including text, images, video, and Flash, and can be used in two primary ways:

  • To attract new leads
  • For remarketing and retargeting

With the rise of the banner blindness phenomenon, in which “users have learned to ignore content that resembles ads, is close to ads, or appears in locations traditionally dedicated to ads,” display ads are giving way to other digital advertising formats.


  • One of the cheapest means of digital advertising, as it’s based on cost per impression
  • You can hand-pick the sites where you want your ads to be displayed. You can even reach out to site owners and ask to place your banners on pages that feature content that is relevant to your product or service.


  • Banner blindness and ad blockers are very hard to combat.
  • To get the best spots, you need to be very proactive with your bidding. You can be outbid at any moment and your rivals’ ads will be shown instead of yours.

Social Media Ads

You are likely familiar with the most popular social media platforms.


Facebook is a powerful social network, regardless of its recent security snafu. The key is to find a balance between offering content that will strengthen your brand with content that’s fun or interesting enough for your audience to share with their friends.


As attention spans toward advertising shorten, videos are gaining in popularity. YouTube has a few ad types on its menu. In-stream ads are shown to a viewer before the actual video starts. In-search and in-display ads come up directly in the platform’s search results as recommended videos. In-video overlay ads are banners that show up at the bottom of the streaming video.


A picture is worth a thousand words — or impressions. To run a successful Instagram ad, you need to make it look organic and do your audience research to make sure it fits seamlessly into the user’s feed.


Similar to Facebook, Twitter offers highly customizable and targeted advertising options. For example, promoted tweets are a form of paid ads that will show up in feeds of users who fit your criteria.

In Canada, Facebook is the most popular social media platform, so using social media ads on that site may be your best bet. However, you’ll only know what works after trial and error. After all, your ads on Instagram may have better conversions, even though it’s not as popular as some of the other platforms.


  • It’s easy to set up a campaign. No in-depth knowledge is required.
  • Your users spend a lot of their time on social media. Social media penetration is at record levels.
  • For brands that have already established communities on their target social platforms, the cost of running ads is lower.
  • Some social networks allow you to target a particular group of users. For instance, on Facebook, you can build a lookalike audience based on the profiles of your current customers.


  • Despite such a relatively easy ad creation process, some platforms are incredibly particular about ad formatting. Facebook asks for a featured image that must be a certain size. There’s also a limited amount of text you can display – no more than 125 characters. Repeated failure to comply with these rules may permanently end your advertising endeavors on Facebook.
  • Even though you can target a very specific audience, doing so won’t necessarily earn you new leads. Advertising either supports your brand awareness or helps you find those users who have already visited your site.

Paid Search Marketing

Search marketing ads come up in the search engine results pages when users query something online. This is paid advertising that is displayed above organic search results. Among all existing search engines, Google reigns supreme, and its advertising business is predicted to reach $211 billion by 2022. Apart from Google, there are additional search engines, including Bing and Yahoo, that also offer ad placement.


  • An excellent avenue for reaching users who may immediately make a purchase
  • Your ads show up for a specific set of keywords you select.


  • Takes a great deal of time because the pay-per-click will depend on how carefully you choose your keywords.
  • Requires expert knowledge due to the nuances you need to know to avoid reaching the wrong audience. For example, you have to select negative keywords and create landing pages for every individual group of ad words.

Native Ads

Often referred to as ads in disguise, native ads are camouflaged to look like part of the editorial flow of the page. They smoothly match the look, feel, and function of the media platform, and often appear as recommended content.


  • A unique alternative to regular banners, native ads grab users’ attention while they are looking for related content.
  • A great channel to develop brand awareness.


  • Not suitable for trying to attract customers who are willing to purchase as they browse
  • You need to meticulously plan conversion funnels. For example, include in-line CTAs and develop an email marketing strategy for users who come through native ads to make sure they don’t slip away.
  • Requires high-quality content.


This ad type can include social media platforms because they allow companies to target a very specific group of users who have previously visited the company’s site. With retargeting, a tag or a piece of code, also called a cookie (or, specific to Facebook, a pixel), is placed on your website to register each user’s journey. Using the data from anonymously placed retargeting cookies, you can keep track of those window shoppers and display your retargeting ads to them as they browse other sites.


  • This method boasts increased conversions and low customer acquisition rates.
  • With the cookie, you know exactly which pages on your site a user visited. This allows you to make a highly personalized offer.


  • If your business has both an online and offline presence, sometimes the cookie continues to cause retargeting ads even after your customers bought that item from you.
  • You maximize your profits, but don’t grow your customer base.

Video Ads

Video ads are on the rise. They are typically placed before, during, or after a video stream. Similar to what people experience while watching television, with video ads companies are given the opportunity to take advantage of precise targeting and tracking. The most popular platforms for video ads are social media networks, with YouTube at the top of the list.


  • A well-crafted video ad can not only bring you a new client, but also sometimes turn into a viral piece of content.
  • It is relatively affordable, primarily when compared to the prices of television commercials, and the audience reach can be worth the effort.


  • Video is still the most expensive type of content. Plus, you need to spend the effort to create an ad that will truly capture your audience’s attention.
  • Many people skip video ads.

To Wrap Up

While some marketers think digital advertising isn’t worth the effort, this type of advertising can help you reach your goals. When paired with other marketing strategies, ads can improve the performance of those activities and campaigns.

The key to digital advertising, just like other marketing campaigns, is accurate targeting. A lack of website traffic and targeting the wrong audience can leave even the most creative ad or landing page floundering. Consider which options work best with your audience, research how to use the channel for your company’s campaigns, then give it your best shot. As advertising evolves, marketing professionals must be willing to

Share “The New Era of Advertising” On Your Site

Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.