How‌ ‌Digital‌ ‌Ad‌ ‌Formats‌ ‌Are‌ ‌Evolving‌

Advertising in today’s world looks vastly different than how it looked in the old days when people used to wait for daily newspapers to look at news updates and enjoy the ads. However, all of that changed with the advent of radio and TV that introduced voice and video into the world of advertising. Today, the advertising realm and brands rely heavily on digital ad solutions and strategies, especially rich media advertising and targeting algorithms, to gain the attention of internet users and potential customers. 

From Aiming for Mass Reach to Personalization through Targeting

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the digital age has irrevocably transformed the way brands and consumers approach advertising. Previously, businesses counted on the mass reach of their ad campaigns to sell their services and products.  

However, that changed with digital advertising. Rather than focusing on selling, brands actively started focusing on problem-solving for the consumer and creating brand awareness. They focused on if and how their product was solving their target audience’s problems. Now, the product was no longer the focal point, but the consumer was, which led to the personalization of ads. 

Today, every brand is more focused on personalization to increase user engagement and boost click-through rates. Businesses try to achieve this personalization by:

  • Segmenting their audience
  • Creating ads that target different geographic locations
  • Tapping into the cultural differences amongst various target segments
  • Hiring a reputable digital advertising company to create interactive, dynamic, and engaging ads for them and so much more! 

For instance, the social media giant Facebook uses 98 personal data points, including gender, location, age, language, educational level, and more, on its worldwide users to enhance their ad experience. 

Additionally, brands also use a wide array of digital ad formats in an attempt to boost their engagement rating. These formats include banner ads, video ads, rich media ads, and more. With ever-evolving advancements in the digital world, these ad formats also continue to evolve. 

So, without any ado, let’s explore how digital ad formats have evolved over the years! 

The Advent of Digital Ads

The computer age, an era that started in the 1970s, brought digital advertising and marketing to life. It also gave rapid rise to the sort of digital advertising that we see and know today – bright, moving, creative, and clickable. With the steady increase in the number of internet users, digital advertising also gained more and more momentum and adjusted to the changing demands of internet users. 

Banner, Video, and Rich Media Advertising

The introduction of digital advertising effectively reduced the effectiveness of TV ads. The ad market is flooded with banner ads, video ads, and rich media ads. Brands started using these ad formats on their websites, while guest posting, and on social media platforms. 

They used programmatic advertising to individualize impressions according to their target audience, determined by language, geolocation, daytime, behavioral, and demographic data. Today, advertisers are more focused on using mobile advertising than desktop advertising since more and more people prefer using their mobile phones over their computer devices. 

Rewarded, Push, and Playable Ads

In 2018, Google put restrictions on certain ad types and dimensions that were affecting the user experience. Meanwhile, the ad blockers were also banning the ads from appearing on websites. Realizing that their money was effectively going down the drain, brands actively sought ways to overcome the restrictions of the ad blockers. 

It’s when playable ads, rewarded ads, and push ads appeared. Due to their interaction specifics, these ad formats do not get blocked by ad blockers. An excellent example of this type of ad format is a push notification that appears as a system alert. Previously, push notifications served the purpose of sending system notifications. However, today, they serve advertising purposes, such as creating higher engagement and opt-in rates and a seamless ad experience. 

Social Media Advertising via User-Generated Content 

Research shows that Millennials don’t respond to ads and are highly skeptical of them. However, since they are also the first generation to grow up with access to the internet, social media, smartphones, tablets, etc., they have significant purchasing power. To counter their skepticism, brands actively try to connect with them via user-generated content.

Essentially, user-generated content makes consumers an active part of the advertising wheel. Today, businesses use social media influencers, bloggers, and celebrities to run their ad campaigns. It works in boosting engagement and brand recognition because people trust these individuals, and their reviews and brand endorsements help businesses gain positive recognition, enabling them to sell their products and services. 

Interaction and Cross-Chanel Reach Are the Future of Digital Ad Formats

Today, the difference in ad unit sizes and the popularity of numerous screen sizes have led advertisers to focus on cross-channel advertising. The trends in mobile ad development indicate the active need to engage customers through rich media ads across multiple industries, including food, e-commerce, music, and more. 

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, ad agencies and businesses are also using hyper-targeting to access data points, such as location, age, interests, relationship status, occupation, and more, to show highly relevant ads to internet users. Brands enrich these personalized online ads further by turning them into rich media ads that increase user engagement and click-through rate while ensuring a positive user experience, leading to positive brand recognition. 

The way forward is to continue creating interactive, personalized ads that attract people and entice them to engage with your brand, eventually making a purchase and becoming loyal customers. 


PadSquad is a digital media company wholly focused on high-impact creative providing rich media, connected tv advertising etc. We believe in humanizing the advertising experience, speaking to consumers as humans, not users. Our mission is to enable Brands to connect to people through more memorable advertising that stimulates the senses and inspires action. PadSquad is led by founder Daniel Meehan, an entrepreneur and change agent who began in publishing where it’s critical to deliver readers what they crave. Formerly, Dan was the founder and CEO of Haven Home Media, LLC, the first vertical content network in the Home & Garden category which sold to Reader’s Digest Association in 2011.