Understanding
Online Advertising

WHAT IS IT?

Online Advertising is a broad term used to describe the paid advertising that publishers put on their websites to enable them to provide you content and services for free. But what most people hear about is a specific type of online advertising that is tailored to your likely interests by companies promoting their products or services. This is known as Interest-Based Advertising (IBA) or Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA).

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

With Interest-Based Advertising, NAI member companies help advertisers show relevant ads -- matching ads with broad interest categories or groups like "male clothing shoppers ages 25-34" or "car buyers in Illinois."

NAI members distinguish between visitors to a site, assigning them to broad interest category groups using information such as the types of websites or pages visited. For NAI members, Interest-Based Advertising is not about you as an identifiable individual. 

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HOW DOES IT BENEFIT ME?

There are numerous benefits to Interest-Based Advertising including:

  • Keeping content and services free
  • Providing content and ads that are better matched to your interests
  • Fewer intrusive or annoying ads
  • Helping businesses better serve you

Interest-Based Advertising also plays an integral role in driving economic growth and encouraging competition among companies.

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WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Interest-Based Advertising helps support sites you visit so that you can enjoy free content from news to sports scores to recipes. At the same time, Interest-Based Advertising helps advertisers reach the right people for their product/services.

You, as a consumer, have several choices to control the collection and use of information about your web browsing activities. You are in the driver’s seat.

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Exchange

An ad exchange is a technology platform that facilitates automated, real-time auctions for online advertising. It happens incredibly fast, just as a web page is loading. Think about the "stock exchange." The concept is similar. Because the entire transaction is automated, it is an efficient process for publishers to sell their inventory without a huge sales team and for advertisers to buy impressions.