Best practices for effective online advertising: Studies

Best Practices for Effective Online Advertising: Studies

Online advertising is one of the major types of digital marketing activities centered on the paid or sponsored placement of different ad formats and contents such as banners, website snippets, and social media posts on different platforms such as websites, social networking sites, search engine, and mobile apps.

For organizations and digital marketers, it is important to note that purchasing ad spaces and placing ads online does not guarantee absolute response from the target audience. However, several studies have highlighted the best practices for effective online advertising campaigns.

The Best Practices: Evidence-Based Tips for Effective Online Advertising

1. Develop Visually Appealing Online Ad Contents

A number of studies have noted the importance of using visual appeal on marketing paraphernalia to attract the attention of the intended audience. Hence, online ads follow the same fundamental rule. Note that there are studies that have highlighted the phenomenon called ad avoidance in which tenured Internet users instinctively look away from online ad spaces.

Nevertheless, when applied to online advertising, visual appeal involves using catchy headlines, textual contents with appropriate marketing messages or sales pitch, and captivating graphical contents such as images or videos.

2. Consider the Importance of Placement on Ad Spaces

As noted above, ad avoidance is a key issue in online advertising, as well as in advertising through traditional mediums of communications. Researchers E. Higgins, M. Leinenger, and K. Rayner reviewed several studies centered on eye movements when viewing ads.

In the specific section about online advertising, the review study noted that the placements of ads on online spaces should vary from time to time to avoid habit formation. Variety of ad formats should also be taken into consideration. Furthermore, organizations and marketers should take advantage of revenue reports to determine ad spaces that generate a positive response from the audience.

3. Stimulate Personal and Social-Interactive Engagement

Digital users also ignore online ads because they are not engaging enough. Researchers B. J. Calder, E. C. Malthouse, and U. Schaedel investigated the relationship between online engagement and the effectiveness of online advertising.

Results revealed that one of the ways to improve response, as determined by user engagement, is to develop online ads with engaging features that encourage personal engagement and social-interactive engagement. Examples of these include the use of visual and emotional appeals, as well as the use of interactive online ads.

4. Place Ads On Different Online Channels or Platforms

In his book, marketing practitioners S. Klapdor studied how to launch online ad campaigns effectively. To be specific, he focused his investigation on identifying the best practices in online advertising using multiple channels and platforms.

The conclusions of the study collectively suggest that an online advertising campaign becomes more effective it is placed on different online channels and platforms such as websites via ad networks, search engine, and social media. Specific results revealed that the audience responds favorably to online ads through repeated exposure.

5. Integrate Established Brand Identity to Improve Response

A large-scale study conducted by X. Drèze and F. X. Hussherr noted that response to online ads as determined by click-through rates are usually low because of the phenomenon called ad avoidance in which Internet users habitually ignore areas where ads are typically placed.

To improve response, the study concluded that organizations or digital markets should bank on their established brand identity that includes elements such as familiar branding and trademarks, as well as marketing messages used in traditional marketing activities to help the audience easily recognize from which organization the online ad comes from.


  • Calder, B. J., Malthouse, E. C., & Schaedel, U. 2009. An Experimental Study of the Relationship Between Online Engagement and Advertising Effectiveness. Journal of Interactive Marketing. 23(4), pp. 321-331. DOI: 10.1016/j.intmar.2009.07.002
  • Drèze, X. & Hussherr, F. X. 2003. Internet Advertising: Is Anybody Watching? Journal of Interactive Marketing Banner. 17(4), pp. 8-23. DOI: 10.1002/dir.10063
  • Higgins, E., Leinenger, M., and Rayner, K. 2014. Eye Movements When Viewing Advertisements. Frontiers in Psychology. 5. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00210
  • Klapdor, S. 2013. Effectiveness of Online Marketing Campaigns: An Investigation Into Online Multichannel and Search Engine Advertising. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler