What Is Digital Advertising?

If you checked your email this morning, you may have seen a digital advertisement, a paid marketing message designed to persuade potential consumers to buy a product or service. Continue reading to learn more about the different types of displays and formats, as well as career options and requirements for digital advertising professionals. Schools offering Advertising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Digital Advertising Defined

Digital advertising is the means by which companies and sponsors use the Internet to promote and sell their products and services. While some digital ads may be created by in-house art or design departments, some clients use advertising agencies to create and place their messages with online publishers. Technical assistance is provided by ad serving companies, who use software to integrate the advertisements and monitor them for effectiveness and traffic. Digital advertisements typically include a graphic or visual, such as an illustration or a photograph, as well as the copy or printed text.

Important Facts About Digital Advertising

Similar Occupations Graphic Designer, Sales Manager, Public Relations Specialist
Key Skills Client consultation, advertisement planning, brad evaluation
Professional Certification/Licensure None required
Common Courses Those dealing with marketing, sales, consumer research, and communication methods

Digital Advertising Formats

Digital promotions can utilize both display and mobile advertising. Display advertisements typically include frame, 'trick' and Web banners, as well as floating and interstitial or interruption ads. In addition to email promotions, digital advertising can also take place on social media websites, by way of text ads with hyperlinks or though affiliate or third-party marketing initiatives. Pop-up ads may appear on some of your most visited websites, and advertisers may also use search engine optimization (SEO) technology to promote their merchandise.

While department and grocery store coupons can by found in the Sunday newspaper, you can also download these discounts and promotions online. Additional forms of digital advertising include the classifieds posted on eBay and Craigslist.

Career Options and Requirements

If you are interested in a career in digital advertising, you may want to consider a position as an advertising art director or copywriter, or as an advertising and promotions manager. While art directors and copywriters create the look and write the words for advertisements, advertising and promotions managers work in concert with creative teams and finance professionals to research and organize promotional campaigns. Art directors and clients may also collaborate with graphic designers, who use computer software and traditional design techniques to create audio and visual images for websites. In general, a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining a position as an art director, advertising manager or graphic designer.

Education Options

A Bachelor of Science in Digital Media can help you acquire the design and technical skills you need to obtain an entry-level job in digital advertising. While each program is different, the curriculum may cover topics in digital imaging and photography, media management, Web page design and writing. Individual programs may allow for concentrations in electronic commerce and media. In addition to working with up-to-date computer programs and technology, you may have the chance to participate in an internship and acquire some real-life understanding of the industry.

At the graduate level, Master of Science in Advertising or Communication Design programs are also available. For example a graduate advertising program may take up to 40 credits to complete and include core and elective courses in interactive or search engine marketing, digital communication and the use of social networking sites. By comparison, a thesis-based, communication program may call for 48 credits of coursework and provide for advanced studies in digital design, electronic pre-press, motion design and research. Relevant undergraduate and graduate programs may also include those in computer graphics and imaging, electronic design and multimedia or integrated media.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for advertising, promotions and marketing managers are expected to increase by 10% from 2016 to 2026, a faster-than-average rate of growth when compared to all other occupations. In May 2018, advertising, promotions and marketing managers nationwide earned a median annual wage of $132,620.

In the same month, art directors across the country received median annual salaries of $92,780, as reported by the BLS, with a 5% growth in jobs projected for the 2016-2026 period (as fast as average). A 4%, or slower-than-average, increase in jobs was expected for graphic designers from 2016 to 2026, and as of May 2018, graphic designers nationwide earned median annual wages of $50,370 (www.bls.gov).

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