1.      Pay a visit to your favorite portal and count the total ads on the opening page. Count how many of these ads are a) immediately of interest and relevant to you, b) sort of interesting or relevant but not now, and c) not interesting or relevant. Do this 10 times and calculate the percentage of the three kinds of situations. Describe what you find and explain the results using this case.

I decided to visit msn.com which is a web portal that displays a little bit of everything from news, fashion, trends, and entertainment. I found three advertisements on my first visit, which was a surprisingly low number. One of these belonged to category a) as it was an advertisement for a chart & graphing software. This was probably based on my cookies history, as I have been searching for good graphing software. For category b) there was one ad that was kind of interesting as it advertised progressive glasses and told me how much I would be able to save by purchasing glasses through that company. For the third category, c) there was on ad that they had which I had zero interest in and cannot have been based on my search history or cookies as it advertised women’s fashion. This must have been randomly selected advertisement, and the company that had the ad wasn’t recognizable and didn’t look very reliable either.


After ten visits this is how the statistics looked for the a), b), and c) category. For each visit the website only displayed three ads.

Ad category








Total times the ad was seen as interesting






2.      Advertisers use different kinds of “profiles” in the decision to display ads to customers. Identify the different kinds of profiles described in this case and explain why they are relevant to online display advertising.

In the early stages of advertisement, they displayed ads to the masses since it was hard to advertise towards your target market because only newspapers, radio, and tv existed. This resulted in a large waste of money since those who saw the ads weren’t necessarily interested in “your” product or service. With the arise of the internet, advertisers started to try to make their ads visible only to potential buyers of their product or service. Online advertisers use a filtering system to decide what ad should be displayed, and this is often based on the customers/visitor’s web browsing behavior. This is made possible due to the fact that when a customer browses a website, their web history is saved in the computer’s temporarily memory. Companies or people that have access to this information (cookies), generate data and demographic profiles of people and sell them to companies. The companies that purchase this kind of information displays advertisement on different websites based on this information.

3.      How can display ads achieve search-engine-like results?

Digital display advertising has evolved during time and in the beginning a firm with a website interested in ad revenue would sell space on its site to other firms through an ad agency. In 2005, ad networks emerged, and display ads became more efficient. The ad networks that emerged combined many publisher’s supply of ad space into a single network where advertisers could buy ad space on several sites in a single purchase, and publishers could also sell ad space more efficiently. And in 2011 an even larger ad exchange emerged which made it even more accessible for advertisers to reach the necessary publishers and thus reaching their target market. This is called a technology stack that have driven the technology of display ads to achieve search-engine like results.

4.      Do you think instant display ads based on your immediately prior clickstream will be as effective as search engine marketing techniques? Why or why not?

I believe if the technology behind instant display ads continuously are developed so that more stacks of technology is added onto the existing technology, instant display ads could be as effective search engine marketing techniques. However, I believe that search engine marketing is currently the most effective and cost-worthy alternative for online advertising.

1.      Do a search for a product of your choice on at least three search engines. Examine the results page carefully. Can discern which results, if any, are a result of a paid placement? If so, how did you determine this? What other marketing communications related to your search appear from the page?

For my product I chose to search for a Marshall portable speaker, which is an old school type of speaker that has been modernized with Bluetooth and AUX capabilities.

Google search results analysis:

The first results that shows is online shops that are selling Marshall speakers. This is a recommendation by Google’s algorithm and not a paid ad by the companies who are selling the speaker. The second result is a link to the official Marshall brand online store who manufactures and sells these speakers. This is in fact a paid advertisement by Marshall themselves which is indicated by a little text that says “paid ad” next to the result. This makes a lot of sense, since Marshall would want to try to redirect anyone looking for Marshall speakers to their official store. The rest of the search results are just links to other online stores selling Marshall speakers, mostly consisting of Amazon links.

Bing search results analysis:

A similar search result is displayed by Bing. The first results show links to online stores who are selling Marshall speakers. A difference in the results from Bing compared to Google is that there are two ads that are paid for by companies who are selling Marshall speakers. Both Marshall’s official store and Amazon have paid Bing to show their websites among the first in the results list. The rest of the results are only the “other” online stores who are selling Marshall speakers, again, most of them consists of Amazon links.

Yahoo search results analysis:

Yahoo’s search results differ a lot from the previous search engines. Firstly, Yahoo displays a company summary of Marshall. This might have to do with that Yahoo is nowadays focusing on being a website for financial numbers and the stock market. After the company summary, Yahoo displays almost only links to the official Marshall store, as well as, some links to Amazon. I think that this has to do with the fact that their algorithm is a little simpler than Bing and Google, and thus, displays the sites with the most common words along with your search. There are no paid ad spaces by companies on Yahoo’s results either.

2.      Visit Facebook and examine the ads shown in the right margin. What is being advertised and how do you believe it is relevant to your interests or online behavior? You could also search on a retail product on Google several times, and related products, then visit Yahoo or another popular site to see if your past behavior is helping advertisers track you.

When looking at Facebook’s ads that they are displaying to me they are showing an ad for hockey development camps and one ad for a Gillette razor blade. I think that these two ads have been generated through the pages that I have liked on Facebook. Since I have been interested in hockey my whole life I have liked a lot of pages on Facebook that are hockey related. This is why I think that the ads are displayed to me based on the pages that I have liked. The Gillette ad is probably displayed on the fact that I have identified myself as a male on my profile. Thus, Gillette probably advertises its product to anyone who is a male on Facebook. Which means that Gillette are utilizing Facebook’s demographic data to display this ad for me.