Types of online advertisements
There are different ways to categorize online ads. They can be categorized according to the selection mechanism (the way the ad is selected to appear on a user's screen), their format (text, graphic, rich media) or the distribution channel (direct or intermediation6). These categorizations are discussed below.
With respect to the selection mechanism, there are two main categories: search ads and non-search ads. Search ads appear next to the results of search queries entered by internet users into internet search engines. They are selected on the basis of the search keywords chosen by the user7. Non-search ads can appear on any web page and they can either be contextual ads, selected according to the content of the page on which they appear8, or non-contextual ads. A third category can be identified (on the basis of third party market reports on online advertising, e.g. Jupiter and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)) which includes classified9 ads. These classifieds ads are grouped within specific web pages under headings classifying the product or service being offered (e.g. houses for sale in particular suburbs, plumbers active in a specific town)10.
12. These different selection mechanisms have specific targeting properties. The possibility to discover the individual consumer’s interests, even in an anonymous way, makes online advertising particularly attractive to advertisers as they can concentrate their marketing efforts towards users that reveal certain preferences or needs. While for search ads the targeting is based on the self-revealed interests of the consumer (via the search query), for non-search ads the targeting is derived from an indirect and usually less precise definition of the consumer’s interests. In other words, when the consumer’s interests are clearly identified by search queries, advertisers can profit from a more accurate targeting than when
billion, up from EUR 8 billion in 2006; see the press release of 12 December 2007 at http://www.iab.nl/data/documenten/persberichten/pb071212.pdf.
Some market participants also refer to intermediation as the indirect channel.
For instance a hotel in Brussels advertising on the search page after the user has typed a query for hotels in Brussels. Search ads appear on the web pages of search engines (such as Google or Yahoo!) as well as on publisher websites that have embedded a search "box" on their web pages For example, the website of the Le Monde newspaper has a Yahoo! search tool box on its homepage or the website of the El Pais newspaper has a Google search tool box on its homepage. The mechanism that chooses which ad to place takes into account the price that each advertiser bids for each given word.
In this case, a software reads the content of the page and, consequently, the ads match the words contained in the web page, as is the case of an advertisement for a golf magazine appearing on a web page containing an article on golf.
Offline classified ads are traditionally grouped entirely in a distinct section of the newspaper/magazine and are generally connected with the geographic area of distribution of the given newspaper/magazine. Online classified advertising allows for specific geographic targeting through geographic specifications that the Internet user can enter in the relevant website (e.g. yell.com; pagesjaunes.fr).
The competitive assessment carried out below will focus on the two main categories, search and non- search advertising. The "classified" category is relevant for the purpose of identifying the correct market size as explained in footnotes 15, 20, 62 and 70 below.