Glossary of Platform Law and Policy Terms

Online Advertising (Ads)

Cite this article as:
Catalina Goanta (17/12/2021). Online Advertising (Ads). In Belli, L.; Zingales, N. & Curzi, Y. (Eds.), Glossary of Platform Law and Policy Terms (online). FGV Direito Rio.

Author: Catalina Goanta

Online advertising can be defined as the industry of Internet marketing/advertising, as well as the technologies (AdTech) and practices characterizing this industry. Online advertising has two important features distinguishing it from traditional advertising: measurability and targetability (Goldfarb, Tucker, 2011). Among the main types of online advertising, we can distinguish display advertising, search advertising, and social media advertising (Goldfarb, Tucker, 2011)1.

Display ads are mainly used on regular websites and entail the display of banners or audio-visual ads. Search advertising entails that ads are featured at the top of search results returned from a search engine query. Both types of advertising evolved to also include so-called ‘ad auctions’ and ‘real-time bidding’, which involve the buying and selling of advertising via programmatic instantaneous auctions (Information Commissioner’s Office, 20192; Google, 20203). Social media advertising uses elements of display and searches advertising, combined with native advertising models such as influencer marketing (see also the entries for ‘content/web monetization’ and ‘influencers/content creators)’.


  1. Goldfarb, A., Tucker, C. (2011). Chapter 6-online advertising. Advances in Computers81, 289-315.
  2. Information Commissioner’s Office. (2019). Update report into AdTech and real-time bidding. Available at:
  3. Google. How the Google Ads auction works. Available at:
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By Catalina Goanta

Assistant Professor in Private Law at the Faculty of Law. During February 2018 – February 2019, I was a Niels Stensen fellow and visited the University of St. Gallen (The Institute of Work and Employment) and Harvard University (The Berkman Center for Internet and Society). She is also a non-residential fellow of the Stanford Transatlantic Technology Law Forum.

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