How internet advertising works


For a long time, the ads worked in one direction: the company published an ad that was watched by an uncharted audience. This is still the case with traditional media – radio, television, magazines, billboards, etc. The advertiser has an estimate of how many people can see or hear the advertisement, but the details are beyond his reach – how many people really saw it, how many of them were interested in the product or service being advertised, how old they are, where they come from – and many other questions that could help the company make an audience with customers.

When it comes to digital media, advertisers have powerful tools at their disposal to keep track of the people who have come into contact with the ad. Looking at it from the customer’s point of view, digital media gives advertisers a whole host of opportunities to spy on and successfully sell something you would never want to buy before.

Thanks to digital tools and media, advertising becomes two-way. The result is more effective and focused on the return of your marketing investment. A good online marketing campaign requires the involvement of specialists who will know how to conduct it, publish and monitor it – then the chance of obtaining the expected results is huge. According to eMarketer estimates, global advertising spending will reach $ 674 billion by the end of 2020.

In my post, I will take you on a short journey through digital marketing and tell you how it affects us. You will learn what digital marketing is and how it has evolved. I will also describe the tactics that advertising agencies use to get their toughest clients.

The players

It may seem like everyone has something to sell to you. Publisher, advertiser, partner … anyone can charm you with something. When I hear about marketing and read articles, I often see a lot of confusion around digital marketers. I will try to shed some light on this.

The advertiser (or merchant) has goods to sell. It is a company that needs to organize an advertising campaign promoting its brand, product or service. The advertiser pays for the promotion.

An advertising agency can act as an intermediary. In many cases, the advertiser does not have the appropriate knowledge and experience to create and run an effective marketing campaign. The key is creativity and knowledge, and this is what advertising agencies characterize. They can manage your ad campaign from scheduling to publishing or beyond.

The final piece of the puzzle is the publisher (or partner) – this is the person or organization that places ads on digital platforms. Increasingly, large publishers provide comprehensive advertising services, also taking over the role of an agency.

You may have heard the term affiliate networks as well . These are virtual spaces where advertisers find publishers and vice versa. Advertisers sign up with them, present their campaigns, and then choose which affiliate program suits them best. In turn, publishers join the network and offer their inventory in exchange for money.


There are many payment models. With pay-per-impression  (page -view- cost, CPM), the advertiser pays for each ad impression, regardless of whether or not a user clicked on it.

In another model,  pay-per-click  ( pay-per-click : PPC or CPC), the advertiser pays the publisher for each click on the ad.

There is also a pay-per-action (CPA) model , which is based on performance: here, the advertiser pays each time the user performs the agreed action – they sign up or sign up for a newsletter, buy a product, fill out a survey, etc.

Where there is money, there are criminals

Due to the simplicity of the above models, it may seem easy to deceive the system and generate fake traffic. This is partly true, although the problem is being tackled quite effectively by anti-fraud systems.

One of the simplest methods of generating clicks is paid-to-click , which is basically not a scam: real people are really rewarded for clicking on ads. This „easy money” scheme is well known. People fall for the promise of making a lot of money for doing almost nothing – clicking links several hours a day. In fact, to earn just a few pennies, you have to click all day, fast and without interruption.

Another method uses automated scripts such as ClickJacking . By using this technique, criminals can deceive users and „catch” clicks on certain objects, transferring them to another page.

A malicious program that can create botnets from infected computers  that generate traffic as part of a pay-per-click campaign is in the new place . The most widespread click fraud program is Trojan-Clicker . It resides in system memory and tries to connect to certain Internet resources, such as Internet advertisements. This negatively affects not only the digital marketing system, but also users who unknowingly participate in the scam.

How online advertising attracts scammers and Trojans

All of this is just a substitute for the concept of digital marketing. In the next post, I will describe the evolution of online advertising, from outdated static banners to the latest trends using ad exchange platforms and real-time auctions. In the final article in this series, I will discuss the latest digital tools that have revolutionized the world of online advertising – namely, the ways that advertisers show you and other consumers. Finally, we will consider how you can avoid these ubiquitous spy tools.