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Marketing Glossary / Online Advertising

Online Advertising

Definition, Formats, and Steps to Create Online Ad Campaigns

Online advertising is now the dominant channel for global media expenditures. B2B marketers must, therefore, learn how to use online ads to grow their business.

This in-depth guide will explain what is online advertising for business and the popular ad types or formats B2B marketers use in media plans. We’ll also discuss crucial steps to develop an effective online advertising campaign for business.

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Search engine ads 

Paid search engine advertising allows B2B marketers to target text-based ads to audiences searching for keywords related to their business via a search engine like Bing. Marketers can set a maximum bid or cost-per-click (CPC) price they are willing to pay for these ads in an ad auction, where advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. 

For example, a business selling accounting software can bid on keywords like “Accounting software” or “Small business tax returns.” They’d also create ad text, including a headline and a few lines of copy with a link to appear alongside search engine results whenever someone searches for those keywords.

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Social media ads 

When advertising online, B2B marketers can target users on social media networks like LinkedIn via various ad formats. Social media ad types include online Text, Display, Video, Sponsored Content, and Conversational Message ads. We will explain these types of online advertising formats shortly. 

Social media ads can also be purchased via an ad auction and developed within a campaign management tool, enabling B2B marketers to select target audiences and track online advertising performance – optimizing their campaign bids and strategies in real-time. 

Marketers will choose the most suitable online advertising platforms and payment options for their social media campaigns within the auction. Suppose the campaign aims to raise brand awareness for an accounting software company. In that case, they might choose online display ads and video ads purchased on a CPM basis to reach as many target customers as possible via ad impressions (or ad views).

Dynamic ads 

Online dynamic advertising allows marketers to enage their target customers with automatically personalized messages and imagery. 

Dynamic Ad formats pull in individual LinkedIn user profile data, like their photos, company name, and job title. These automated display ads enhance the user experience and help advertisers scale custom-tailored campaigns that build brand awareness, drive traffic, and convert more prospects.

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Video ads

Brands looking to build awareness and loyalty invest in online Video Advertising strategies and formats to share their story with sight, sound, and motion. LinkedIn online video ads appear in a user’s feed via desktop and mobile screens, allowing marketers to engage and deepen relationships with new prospects.

Sponsored content ads

Sponsored Content Ads, or Native Ads, look and feel less like traditional online ad spots by blending in with the existing content on the web page. LinkedIn’s Native Ad formats, for instance, improve the overall user experience while engaging prospects to build brand awareness or drive more leads.

Marketers can promote branded LinkedIn posts that went viral to reach and engage more users, highlight new products or share best practices to drive interest and engagement, or attract registrations for upcoming events.

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Email or conversational message ads

A choose-your-own-path Conversation Ad experience lets B2B marketers automatically start quality InMail conversations with targeted LinkedIn users. This email ad format is created via easy-to-use message templates that drive high-quality leads into the sales pipeline via auto-generated qualifying questions within a user’s InMail.

Multiple call-to-action buttons are auto-displayed within the same Conversation Ad message, allowing prospects to access related content and offers, such as event signups or ebook downloads via Lead Gen Forms. These forms come pre-filled with accurate LinkedIn profile data and let members input their professional info with just a few clicks, creating a fast, easy lead collection workflow.


Account-based marketing (ABM) on LinkedIn lets marketers automatically upload a contact or company list of decision-makers at their highest-valued accounts. Coupled with LinkedIn Retargeting Ads, ABM campaign ads are auto-delivered to matched audiences based on their meaningful online brand interactions and behaviors.

Retargeting uses data about a target buyer’s previous interactions with ads on platforms like LinkedIn. It helps B2B marketers strengthen customer relationships using more specific and relevant social media ad messaging.

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