An advertisement entirely in text. Often used to refer to advertisements in World Wide Web.

Text ads are a continuation on idea of banner ads. Banner ads were good, but they were abused more often than they were used tastefully; They often didn't fit the site's design with their outrageous colors and were often animated and distracting, which is why people didn't look at them. Banners also brought some other considerations of abuse - Tracking cookies, for example.

Text ads are completely different, because they:

  • fit to the site design - Text ads can be made to blend in to the site, while they are still noticeable.
  • are not annoying - No animations, no blinking, just a link and description.
  • are cheap - Often everyone can just buy 1000 ad impressions dirt cheap. Easy way to promote a site!

Text ads have been around from the days of classified ads, but with the advent of the World Wide Web entered a new phase of life.

There are really two types of text ads:

  • Short (>60 words)
  • Advertorial (web pages, microsites)

The latter, advertorial stems for the popularity of doing "micromagazines" or sections within print publications. These are commonly 10 - 18 pages long, and are focused are a product/place/idea.

The former, what is more commonly known as the text ad tends to be much shorter, and is included within the framework of the content publication. These ads can be short as two words or as long as two paragraphs. Many web publishers started using these in the mid 1990s within their e-mail newsletters, and within their web pages, as a side bar. Wired, and are some of the companies that were using these, as early as 1997.

While Google is known for popularizing it, Google should be given more credit for making them accessible. Google showed that you could, using automated technology and credit card processing systems allow the average reader of a website place their message on it.

For the last year or so, text ads were the rage amongst advertisers. However, their effectivness has diminished (average click thru dropped from 1 - 2% to .5%), and the advertising community has moved away from them, more towards advertorials. In conversations with people like rusty from kuro5hin, and other people, the common thread of poor sales and lack of response from advertisers has been heard. As always, the advertisers want the Newest, Greatest Thing.

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