15 Engaging Types of Online Advertising for Businesses to Increase Traffic

15 Engaging Types of Online Advertising for Businesses to Increase Traffic

Various types of online advertising remain to be a tried and true ways for creating brand awareness. They’re also the best way to generate leads and bring in sales. In 2016, digital marketing spending beat TV ad spending for the first time ever. Ever since then the growth trajectory has been clear – online advertising is leading the way.

types of online advertising

And yet, we see that ad blocking software continues to grow. We saw how Apple added an ad blocking feature to their mobile devices and computers, which made it more difficult for businesses to reach out to their target audiences.

So why does digital marketing continue to prevail in the realm of advertising?

The main reason is that it’s cost effective for what you get in return.

Benefits of Online Advertising For Small Businesses

  • Gets traffic coming in fast.
  • Better targeting, even if your budget is limited.
  • Easily collect data to analyze consumer behavior trends.
  • Allows new small businesses to compete and create brand awareness, even in competitive online spaces.

But in order to reap these benefits, your types of online advertising must connect with your target audience.

Each method has its own quirks and “must know” tips which we’ll discuss below.

Any of these 15 types of online advertising, when done correctly, will increase traffic to your website.

We’ll start with the most common online advertising method – display ads.

15 Types of Online Advertising

  1. Display Ads

So how can you create engaging online ads that don’t beg to be ad-blocked?

First of all, it’s a good idea to start with solid research to come up with some conclusions. According to research by and Lumen, all types of online advertising must include the following:

  1. simple
  2. bold
  3. relatable
  4. image or video
  5. mirror the target audience/demographic

In addition, if you’re using a photo ad, you should use a bright, crisp photo. The branding should also be clear. In less than 3 seconds, the user should be able to figure out who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.

An example of these principles in action: image led ads of elderly couples were viewed more by older generations. 1/2 of the viewers were 55+, 38% were 35-54, and just 1/3 were 18-34.

display ads

What these numbers show is that the image was simple and relatable to the target audience, because it mirrored them!

Visual content can also define your business’s identity. As an example, just look at your Facebook newsfeed. Over the years, Facebook newsfeeds have become dominated by visuals such as memes, animated gif images, and auto playing videos. Many big companies share out these visuals too.

What do all these things have in common?

They grab attention!

Tips For Attention Grabbing Visual Content

It’s important to catch people’s eyes quickly. Keep these tips in mind when designing your ad:

  • Faces are the first thing that people look at.
  • If your image is too “busy,” it will split people’s attention, which isn’t a good thing.
  • If there’s no key focal point in the image, then people’s attention will start in the middle and spread to the rest.
  1. Paid Search

With paid search CPM or CPC, the first thing you must understand is that you have to adjust your strategy based on your goals. Do you want more traffic? Or are you primarily trying to get more conversions? Think carefully about what your expectations are before you pay for your keyword.

On the other hand, if you want more traffic AND more sales, then you must target high commercial intent keywords. Yes, the competition might be fierce, and expensive, but the payoff can be worth it.

If you need ideas for such keywords, look at your competition. See what topics are resonating with their readers and which social media sites they’re trending on. You can emulate that kind of content to bring in traffic.

  1. Social Media Participation

Whenever you participate on social media, you’re actually advertising your business. In other words, using social media as it was originally intended is actually a good thing for your business to do!

So, be active and participate in relevant online communities. For example, if your audience is leaving comments on your posts, answer their questions and engage with them. It’s best to do this within 24 hours to show you’re actively listening as a brand.

Don’t just make posts and leave it at that; social media pages that just act as “broadcast channels” are actually a turnoff.

Now, let’s get into more types of online advertising: paid ads. Paid ads are one of the best ways to increase traffic. However, each paid channel has its own pros and cons.

Let’s first look at Pinterest as a model for how to create engaging ads online.

  1. Pinterest Ads

pinterest ads

Pinterest facts:

  • Positioned to be one of the largest potential IPOs.
  • Grew a large scale monthly user base at a 70% faster rate than Facebook and twice as fast as Twitter.
  • Active user base 81% female (but new signups 40% male/60% female)

Pinterest is defined by its focus on images, which could be fulfilling a consumer need. After all, image based search stimulates the right side of the brain more than traditional text based search.

Pinterest Advantages:

  • Especially for B2C businesses, image heavy sites like Pinterest and Instagram usually work very well.
  • Pinterest also allows for unobtrusive link sponsored product pins that generate ad revenue (and doesn’t interrupt the discovery experience). Then Pinterest took it to the next level by adding click-to-online purchase.
  • Pinterest is creating a bridge between real world and the virtual world. The Pinterest lens is included in the mobile app, bringing a whole new meaning to “virtual window shopping.” All you have to do is snap a picture. It’s also an opportunity for advertisers to connect a brand to the discovery experience.
  1. Facebook Ads

facebook ad

Facebook has a mixed user base of billions of users, so it’s one of the types of online advertising that’s viable for all businesses!

First, you should determine who your target audience is and focus your ads specifically on them.

Facebook Advertising Tips

  • You can put ads that target demographics, and not just key phrases.
  • You can get the most out of your Facebook ads by modeling your Facebook page after your top landing page. You can send Facebook traffic there first.
  • Use images in promoted posts to get more links/encourage sharing.
  1. Twitter Ads

twitter ads

Twitter is the as-it-happens/real time social media network. It’s one of the main ways that people get updates about what they care about. Therefore it’s ideal for building up an audience of interested and engaged followers.

Twitter Advertising Tips

  • Twitter ads are ideal for short and sweet links.
  • You can join in to group discussions and post relevant hashtags.
  • Use promoted posts for tweets that share interesting content and put a link going back to your site. Use a promoted account to get followers and build your twitter base. Use promoted trends to get a relevant hashtag of your own. Get it trending and it will be seen by thousands.
  • There is another strategy to reach your target audience via Twitter – the Tweet engager targeting. In this form of advertising, it allows you to remarket to users. And you should really take advantage of this as it will not only target those users who have seen your Tweets, but you can also reach those people who engaged with it. That means, they are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
  1. LinkedIn Ads

linkedin ads

LinkedIn has carved out a dedicated online niche for professionals who are looking to network or get a job.

If you’re looking to become well known online in your niche, then LinkedIn is one of the best types of online advertising to get started with.

LinkedIn Advertising Tips

  • It’s similar to Facebook ads in that campaigns (which can include banners and sponsored posts) can be targeted to be seen by specific LinkedIn groups with similar interests.
  • Maximize ROI and use an image for higher CTR. Bid at the high range of the “suggested range” for better placement and more impressions.
  • LinkedIn is also a valuable publishing platform, so post there on a regular basis. Doing so can boost traffic to your site and increase your profile within your industry.
  1. Retargeting Ads

Retargeting aka remarketing is one of the types of online advertising that will show your business to bounced traffic after they leave your site. This is a good advertising strategy since on average just 2% of visitors convert on their 1st visit.

types of online advertising

How Does Retargeting Work?

You put a piece of small unobtrusive code into your site (aka a pixel). It’s unnoticeable to visitors and doesn’t affect your site performance.

Whenever a new person visits your site, it leaves a browser cookie. When the cookied person browses the internet later, your retargeting provider will serve ads only to the people who visited your website before. Pretty neat, right?

  1. Email Marketing

But don’t forget about the more traditional types of online advertising.

email markeing assessment

Email Marketing Tips

  • Even just a mediocre email blast can boost traffic to your website.
  • Just be careful not to annoy people about every single update in your business.
  • Sending out friendly email newsletters regarding new services or products can increase your traffic too.
  • Send out automated trigger emails to customers who have abandoned their cart to remind them to make their purchase.
  1. Blogging

After you create a well thought out content marketing plan for your business, following these tips can help your blogging efforts:

types of online advertising

  • Keep things varied. Vary your content length and content type to make your content appeal to as many different types of readers as possible.
  • Use shorter, news centric write-ups, and use longer content types too. Also use data driven pieces (infographics work well here) and videos for best results.
  • Headlines are very important. If you don’t have a compelling headline, then even your best written blog post can go unread. Buzzfeed writers often write at least 20 different headlines before choosing the best one. So, take your time before you publishing.
  1. Webinars

People love to learn, and people eagerly wait to learn on webinars.

parenting webinarCombined with a good promotional campaign, doing a webinar is a great way to increase traffic to your website.

Webinar Advertising Tips

  • Promote your webinar through all your social media channels.
  • Send out an email a week or so ahead of time, and a “last chance to register” email reminder a day before the webinar.
  • Make sure to archive the presentation for later viewing.
  1. Contests

online advertising contest

Contest Advantages

  • A great tool for building your fan base.
  • Good for getting lots of likes on your Facebook page.
  • A UGC (user-generated content) contest is a great way to deepen user connection. It taps into the human drive to compete and gives everyone a chance to experience their 15 minutes of fame. Also, when users upload their personal content (photo or story) to your page, they’re naturally investing themselves into your brand.

Contest Tips

  • A low barrier to entry sweepstakes is often a good way to build a fanbase when starting small.
  • A contest is a great opportunity to collect valuable consumer data. But with that said, don’t go overboard asking too many questions during the entry process. Make the entry requirements and the contest reward balanced.
  • Make sure the prize or reward is something your target audience will want to make sure you are getting true fans of your product. If you sell women’s clothing, it would be best to give away a free shopping spree rather than a free iphone.
  • Before you start the contest, make sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations. Every state has its own contest laws, and some can be tricky.
  1. Collaborations/Influencer Marketing

There are many different types of online advertising methods that fall into this category. We’ll cover some of the most effective ones here:

Guest Blogging

You guest blog on their site: doing a guest post on a well known website will increase your traffic and help build awareness of your business. Just keep in mind that guest posting standards have changed a lot over the past 2 years; spammy tactics will come with big SEO penalties.

They guest blog on your site: it’s a 2 way street after all. So invite others in your industry to post on your site. They will likely share the post with their own readers, further expanding your online reach. Just make sure that you’re only posting high quality content without too many links. Otherwise, Google might crack down.

types of online advertising

Referral Traffic

This is one of the types of online advertising that everyone should strive for. Persuading other site owners to link back to you is less efficient. On the other hand, creating high quality content that gets linked back to is more effective.


Interview industry thought leaders/influencers: you’d be surprised how many will say yes to an interview. Connect with them through email. After doing the interview, publish the interview on your blog. The name recognition of the interviewee will boost your credibility and increase traffic to your site. The interviewee will also probably share the content, bringing in even more traffic for you.

  1. Instagram Live Stories

Instagram is a photo and video sharing network owned by Facebook. You can reach a high number of people in this fast growing social network with the many different types of online advertising that they offer.

Facts About Instagram

  • Instagram Stories launched in August 2016. In 2017 it topped 300 million daily users.
  • People under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram; people over 25 spend more than 24 minutes a day.
  • Instagram reported that Instagram Stories made people stay on Instagram longer and visit the site more frequently.

So how can you incorporate advertising into Instagram Stories? Here are a couple of the best ways:

instagram live stories

Polls In Stories

Instagram added a feature allowing people to add interactive polls to their stories.

Creating polls is a fun and easy way to get users engaged and to hear their thoughts about things. This feature will save your business time, money and energy.

Using Instagram insights, (which lets brands track engagement per post or entire feed activity per time period), brands have tracked an increase in engagement on Instagram Live and Stories after employing polls.

Links In Stories

Stories also take brand connection with visitors’ one step further. Capitalize on this fact by adding direct links to your site.

One way to do this is with the “tag and link”:

  • This is one of the types of online advertising that’s only available to business profiles with more than 10k followers.
  • Link out to your own hosted content assets or product pages if you’re an ecommerce business.
  • You can use a “add to cart instantly” call to action. Followers just have to swipe up on your stories to get redirected to your preferred URL. You can also link to lead generating forms to increase your email list.

Digital Storytelling

Instagram stories is still one of the relatively new types of online advertising. Its implementation also shows that raw, uncut content has value. Because, when you document every step of your business’s journey with stories, you’ll make your business more approachable to people.

Just imagine the power of digital storytelling for people in industries like: restaurants – showing how dishes are made, sports teams – sharing fitness tips with fans, and fashion icons – putting up makeup tutorials online.

These sorts of things can quickly go viral. So, make sure that you set up sms alerts (you can use Cyfe) for when you exceed your daily ad spend to avoid blowing up your ad budget.

  1. SEO: Bring It All Together

Despite what some people say, SEO isn’t dead. Optimizing content for search engines is still valuable. In short, it aids in helping your other types of online advertising work collectively together.

Making SEO improvements doesn’t have to take ages, and it could also boost your organic content.

After adding the obvious things like image alt text and meta descriptions, you’ll want to look into the following things:

Long Tail Keywords

Have you already figured out those high commercial intent keywords? Then next it’s time to focus on long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords account for the majority of searches. So if you aren’t using them in your paid search strategy or seo efforts, you’ll be missing out.

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Schema Microdata

schema microdata

This won’t necessarily increase traffic to your site on its own. But it will make it easier for search engine bots to find and index your pages.

It will also result in better rich snippets, which can improve CTR.

Link Internally

Your link profile strength isn’t just determined by how many sites link back to you; your internal linking structure also factors into it.

Always keep an eye out for internal linking opportunities with your content.

Good internal linking is not only good for SEO, but also for the user experience.


These 15 types of online advertising can all help you bring in more traffic. But with that said, you should be selective about which ones you focus on initially. Put the most effort into the ones that will work best for your business and then slowly add in additional types of online advertising to enhance your already established types.

If you’re looking for help getting started with advertising your business online, we can help. Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you!


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