What Are the 4 Main Types of Advertising

Types of Advertising
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 In what way are you trying to qualify to advertise when you ask to know the main types of advertising?

Are you looking at it from the Traditional and Digital forms? If so, let me clear the air, they are basically the same through different technologies.

Or you can choose to look at it another way, by media platforms. You would now have many types including, but not limited to television, radio, newspaper, magazine, out-of-home, online video, online display, search ads, digital native advertising, online classifieds, and email advertising (different from email marketing).

Or, you could look at it in a completely different light, through the lenses of advertising objectives: Engagement, Awareness, and Direct Response.

You could narrow it down to just two types of advertising, and that would be good, and the bad advertising type?

Okay, so I am as curious as you are to know the four main types of advertising, I will bring that knowledge as you read ahead into the article.

Types of Advertising for Your Marketing Campaigns

#1. Display Advertising

Display advertising, also called banner advertising, is a form of advertising that can be displayed as a sort of online billboard.

Display ads can be moving or static, but usually follow the pattern of being at the top of a website in the form of a horizontal banner.

This form of advertising is usually intended to tell a quick story visually while creating a comprehensive identifiable brand identity. Banner ads are fast conversations, not in-depth thought content.

One will typically find display ads on sites and some social media platforms.

4 Types of Display Advertising

#1. Banner Ads: Banner ads are the most popular display ad format. They are so named because of their shape, which is banner-like.

#2. Rich Media Ads: Considering that roughly 30% of web users find traditional banner ads distracting, advertisers are exploring more creative ways to display their ads in front of the users.

The use of rich media is one such innovative tactic that involves using interactive elements such as audio, video, and clickable elements to make the ad more engaging.

#3. Interstitial Ads: These are ads that appear as a distinct webpage before you are directed to the original page that you intended to visit on the internet. They are highly effective in capturing the visitor’s attention as they take up the entire screen.

#4. Video Ads: When it comes to display advertising costs, video ads are a bit more expensive but worth the cost difference.

Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram have made it smooth for marketers to run video ads and attract a lot of attention and engagement on the websites.

#2. Mobile Advertising

Mobile ads are exploding in popularity, and that certainly makes a lot of sense, why? Potential customers stay on their mobile devices more than their standard desktops, so mobile ads are one of the best ways to get quality traffic.

Mobile ads can include display, search, app, video, and social media ads that are targeted specifically to mobile users. Videos are unarguably one of the best ad forms for mobile devices.

Types of Mobile Advertising

#1. Push notifications: These are pop-ups that display on a mobile device screen. These types of ads are delivered to consumers at any time. This means users don’t have to be on an app to get a notification.

#2. Image text and banner ads: Visitors who click on their ads are redirected to the advertiser’s webpage by opening it up on a browser.

#3. Click-to-download ads: When a user clicks on these ads, they will route them to the Apple App store or Google App. The destination is based on the consumer’s operating system and device.

#4.Click-to-call ads: Advertisers allow users to click on their ads to call them directly with their smartphones.

#5. Click-to-message ads: A user who clicks on this form of ad is directed to contact the advertiser directly via SMS.

#3. Native Advertising

Pop-up advertisements and automatic video ads may appear like a quick way to get your product in front of eyeballs, but ask yourself how often you have personally paid attention to disruptive ads like this.

Disruptive ads won’t make my list of preferred ad types if I have to make a recommendation for marketing methods.

Its opposite, native advertising, is considerably better. Native advertising, also called sponsored content, are ads that match the style, flow, and function of the platform where it appears.

These ads are often in the form of articles, videos, blog posts, or photos and are designed to look as if they truly belong on the platform.

Businesses must pay attention to native ad specs to create effective native advertising campaigns.

Types of Native Ads

#1.  Promoted Listings: Promoted listings are used by ecommerce websites to feature sponsored products first, commonly on a category page.

In addition to getting products to the front of the line, promoted listings are growing more cost-effective, too. Platforms like eBay no longer charge customers for promoted listings until the listing generates a sale.

#2. Paid Search Ads: Paid search ads are much like promoted listings except the listings are displayed at the top of customer search results. They are used for search engine marketing (SEM) and within search results for individual domains.

#3. In-Feed Units: In-feed units promote sponsored content inside a publication’s natural index of articles. In addition to seeing authentic content as part of a stream or gallery, visitors see sponsored content from advertisers. The content is branded sponsored, but it matches the publisher’s native experience.

#4. Custom Ads: The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) uses the catch-all term “custom ads” for contextual ads that don’t fit a particular format. For example, if you developed a Pandora playlist for workout music, Pandora might serve up ads for a sports drink or sports products.

#4 Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising is a very well-known type of advertising that is popular due to its low cost.

Businesses can make accounts on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They can then create and post on those networks for free, essentially using social media as a free advertising tool.

Most social media websites also provide paid advertising opportunities that are also fair to the advertisers’ purse but tend to be hard to track efficiently with analytics.

Type of Social Media Advertising

#1. Messenger ads: Messenger ads are ads placed in the Chats tab in Messenger of the Facebook platform rather than on users’ news feeds.

They are part of a 1:1 conversation a consumer has with a business when communicating with them through messenger.

They can be used to start automated conversations with prospects, directly answer consumer questions, or link users to your site.

#2. Stories ads: Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer Stories ads options that can use both videos and photos.

These ads are full-screen and shown for a certain amount of time depending on the ad type and platform.

If an image is used in a Facebook story, it can be viewed for six seconds, while videos can go up to fifteen seconds.

Instagram Stories ads can be as long as 120 seconds for both videos and photos. These ads usually offer users the option to swipe up to access the advertiser’s website.

Stories ads can be viewed for 24 hours and no more, which advertisers can take advantage of when promoting short-term deals on products.

#3. Video ads: As with photo ads, video ads are perfect for visually appealing content. Many users only want to watch short-form video ads, which means you have a small amount of time to keep users interested in your videos.

 Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have options to create short videos that users can view and interact with quickly while going through their feeds.

#4. Static image ads: Photos are often used in social media advertising because they enable you to show your products in a visually appealing way.

Users tend to be drawn to visuals instead of text and will likely be more drawn to photo ads. Photo ads can also add “Shop Now” buttons that take customers directly to your site for easy checkout.

When leveraging photo ads as a part of your marketing strategy, ensure that you post high-quality images and keep ads always with your organic content.


Businesses today have access to a wide stream of advertising options to pick from.  To determine which types of advertising best suit its needs, a brand may need to consider numerous factors, such as marketing objectives; budgets, or the consumers it wants to target.

This article has in great detail rolled out four main types of advertising you can choose from as you embark on your advertising campaign.

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba has over 11 years of digital marketing and specifically focuses on paid advertising on social media and search engines. He loves tech and kin in learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He consults on digital marketing and growth hacking.

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