Television commercials, radio ad spots, telemarketing, and electronic billboards are all considered fairly low-tech forms of advertising compared to today’s Internet advertising technology. As advertising technology has become more advanced, it has also become more customized, and virtually any target market is reachable on the Internet.
One of the most cost-effective and efficient forms of harnessing Internet advertising technology is search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization helps ensure that the advertised product or service’s website is easily located by its target market via search engines such as Google. SEO techniques include placing related keywords frequently and prominently in the website’s text, so that the desired demographic will be directed to the website if they use those keywords in a search engine.
Link exchanges are another important component of SEO advertising technology. A form of cooperative advertising, link exchanges occur when websites with related content and similar demographics agree to advertise each other’s website on their own via a URL link or ad banner. The more websites one website is linked to, the more it is considered relevant by search engines such as Google, and the higher it places in search rankings.
More direct and costlier forms of marketing on the Internet include some of its oldest forms of advertising technology: ad banners and direct mail. Ad banners feature the product or service’s advertisement in banner form, typically at the top of the site. They encourage the audience to click on the banner, which re-directs the audience to the product or service’s website. Direct mail or “opt-in email” is simply an advertisement sent out in bulk form via email. If the recipient has not voluntarily given his or her email address to the sender or consented to receive direct mail, then the emails are considered “spam.”
Spyware is another type of advertising technology on the Internet that is more covert and potentially damaging to a computer. Clicking on an unknown link or downloading unknown software on the Internet can activate spyware, which gathers personal information such as the user’s location, and then presents the user with ads relevant to this information. Social networking sites utilize a similar strategy by encouraging the user to state their age, gender, interests, etc. and then targeting him or her with ads tailored to those specific demographics.