What Is an Ad Banner?

If you’ve spent more than an hour on the internet, you’ve inevitably stumbled across a digital advertisement. Whether the ad showcased a new product that hit the market or a much-needed service that aimed to make customers’ lives easier to manage, digital advertisements are on the rise. If you’re an internet entrepreneur, cybersecurity specialist or someone who wants to further their knowledge regarding online business, here are the benefits of banner advertising. Conversely, you’ll learn how cybercriminals leverage banner ads to hijack pertinent data from unsuspecting internet users through a process called malvertising.

What Are Online Ad Banners and How Are They Used?

Simply put, digital banners are the modern iteration of billboards that we pass while driving on the highway. When we’re hungry and have nowhere to turn on a long-distance road trip, billboards, signs and advertisements direct us to the nearest location to satiate our hunger pangs. Businesses understand that billboards create opportunities to advertise and market to new and existing clientele. In essence, banner ads drive essential revenue into organizations and keep them thriving through inevitable lulls in the market.

With digital shopping, also known as eCommerce, raking in billions of dollars annually, it’s no wonder that business-minded entrepreneurs, corporate entities and forward-thinking leaders use digital ads to capture additional market share. And with new data suggesting that customer spending via digital banners will surpass 60-billion dollars by 2025, it should come as no surprise as to why organizations utilize online marketing campaigns that rely heavily on banner ads. With that said, how are internet marketers and online leaders adjusting to the switch to digital shopping and consumption?

Types of Banner Ads

The most common types of banner ads are animated, static and dynamic advertisements that use the “.gif” extension. First, let’s explore the first domain of digital advertising: animated banner ads.

Animated ads use the “Flash” framework to generate video, audio and streamlined content directly to the viewer’s device with the click of a button. If you’ve scrolled through your favorite social media application and came across a video or moving advertisement about a brand or service, you’ve seen a Flash ad in action. Although Flash ads are challenging to produce and somewhat costly for the organization, they’re the best form of advertising in the digital world in our current era.

Secondly, we have static ads. Static ads, much like their brick-and-mortar billboard counterparts that we see along the sides of roads, use a stylized image to attract the viewer’s attention. Rather than using underlying frameworks to push streaming content into the viewer’s device, they’re easy to implement, effective and need few resources to render. The benefits of banner advertising through static images far surpass the downsides.

Lastly, we have animated images that use “.gif” extensions to create moving ad banners. The beauty of these ads is that they’re capable of being rendered on any digital device, and they don’t require the viewer to install additional software. And with the increasing amount of users who rely on their phones for shopping and ordering services, it’s essential for business owners and entrepreneurs to take “.gif” ads seriously in their upcoming campaigns.

The Downside of Online Ads; Malvertising

While online marketing and sales tactics may seem like a world filled with sunshine and rainbows, there’s a dark side that rarely gets brought up in conversation: malware and digital theft. To understand how this process works, we must examine the programming paradigms that make up the internet itself.

Behind every video, image, advertisement, social media post and audio clip we interact with on the internet are a series of programming languages, libraries, modules and logic. While most of these digital components are safe and easy to use, hackers and would-be criminals use the software in unintended ways to inject malicious code into the frameworks that we know and trust. Malvertising is the process of putting unsafe code into a banner and performing malicious actions once an unsuspecting user clicks on the media.

If, for example, a hacker injects a redirect script into a banner ad for shoes, a user could click the ad, head to the fake website, put their credit card information into the form and click “submit.” However, the hacker owns this domain and immediately steals the credentials from the user, using the newfound data to fund illegal purchases. If you’ve ever received a call from a bank about a random purchase from another country or state without your knowledge, you’ve fallen victim to a form of identity theft.

To avoid becoming another victim of identity theft, ensure that the domain an advertisement brings you to is legitimate. Check the URL for misspelled words, or, as we call it in the world of cybersecurity, typosquatting. Typosquatting is a form of social engineering hacking that deliberately misspells a trusted website’s URL in hopes that an unsuspecting user will visit and input their sensitive data. An example of this could be Aamazon.com instead of Amazon.com or BaankofAmerica.com rather than BankofAmerica.com. Although digital theft makes us all feel a bit uneasy and on edge, digital advertising via ad banners is the wave of the future, and people who ignore the domain are bound to be outclassed by their competitors.

GeoEdge is the trusted cyber security and ad quality partner for publishers and platforms in the digital advertising industry. With more than a decade of experience, we’ve built solutions to prevent tomorrow’s threats, today.‎

Malvertising, the practice of sprinkling malicious code into legitimate-looking ads is growing more sophisticated. GeoEdge’s holistic ad quality solution has you covered.


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