What is interactive advertising? Definition and examples

Interactive advertising is a media-based marketing technique which encourages consumer participation. This form of advertising uses interactive media online (social media, videos, web banners) or offline (display windows).

The main focus of interactive advertising is to have consumers engage and interact with the ad in some way and directly or indirectly provide feedback on a campaign.

The Journal of Interactive Advertising describes interactive advertising as the “paid and unpaid presentation and promotion of products, services and ideas by an identified sponsor through mediated means involving mutual action between consumers and producers.”

The objectives of interactive advertising are typically the same as the objectives of traditional advertising. 

Interactive_AdvertisingThe main difference between interactive advertising and traditional advertising is the ability to control what is shown to different consumers. The personalized experience that interactive advertising gives consumers sets it apart from traditional ad campaigns. 

The internet has allowed advertisers to gather information on consumers (via cookies) to create a profile of each consumer and show the most relevant ads to them. 

Examples of interactive advertising

Social media – advertising to consumers through social networking websites and online communities. This form of direct marketing. Advertisers┬áreach out to their target audience based on their interests. For example, a sportswear company can target an online group of sport enthusiasts by marketing its products on websites and communities dedicated to sports.


Video –┬ávideo ads typically load automatically when a user visits a new webpage. Video ads serve to send a message from a brand to consumers. The consumer watching the video ad has the option to view the video, pause it, mute it, or skip it entirely. Video ads are usually content-related.

Interactive Display Windows – interactive display windows┬ámake people stop and pay attention because their┬ámovements can alter what appears on the display. The video below is an example of this.


The advantages of interactive advertising:

  • Encourages consumers to engage with ads.
  • Allows consumers to interpret ads in unique ways.
  • Boosts social interaction between potential consumers and suppliers.

The disadvantages of interactive advertising:

  • It can take a long time to gather the data to build profiles of consumers and ensure that ads are targeting the right audience. This is especially true if the market is new and hasn’t been properly analyzed yet.
  • High costs associated with gathering data on consumers.