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Advertising has evolved into a vastly complex form of communication, with literally thousands of different ways for a business to get a message to the consumer. Today’s advertisers have a vast array of choices at their disposal. The internet alone provides many of these, with the advent of branded viral videos, banners, advertorials, sponsored websites, branded chat rooms and so much more.
Here’s what is currently available for your media arsenal:
If you see an advertisement via the internet, then it is classified as online advertising. In fact, there are ads on this very page, and most other websites you visit, as they are the primary revenue driver for the internet. Another avenue of online advertising is native advertising, which is the digital variation of the old print advertorials—and sponsored content is growing by leaps and bounds.
From ads on Facebook and Snapchat to partnerships with BuzzFeed and Reddit, the fastest, easiest way to reach millions of potential customers is online.
Cell Phone & Mobile Advertising
A relatively new form of advertising compared to the others, but one that’s dominating the media mix, uses cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and other portable electronic devices with internet connectivity. Current trends in mobile advertising involve major use of social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Right now, this is the toughest nut to crack. This kind of advertising is not only disruptive, but can leave the customers with a lot of ill will. If you do it, do it right. For a while, native advertising was a good way to get into the feed, but even that has come under scrutiny for being deceptive.
Once a huge driver of sales, print is taking a back seat to the many digital forms of advertising now available to marketers. However, if there is one thing that’s certain about advertising, it’s that being different is good. And when consumers tire of digital ads, a return to printed pieces and the tactile feeling and permanence they provide is definitely in the cards. Typically, print can be split into three subcategories:
- Periodical Advertising
If it’s in a magazine, a newspaper, or anything else that comes out at regular intervals, then it’s periodical advertising (aka a print ad). For decades, print ads were the gold standard for advertisers and their clients. To grab the center spread of a big magazine or the back cover of a newspaper meant millions of people were seeing the message.
- Brochures, Leaflets, Flyers, Handouts, and Point-of-Sale Advertising
Although some of these media can be placed within the pages of newspapers and magazines, they are treated as a separate entity, usually because they have less chance of being seen. From something that sits on a counter or customer service desk to a glossy car brochure, small print media offer a more intimate and long-form way of engaging the consumer. Use this approach when you have more information than you can cram into a print ad.
- Direct Mail Advertising
Either of the techniques mentioned above can be incorporated into direct mail. It simply means that your printed pieces are mailed direct to the consumer. This is a technique that has been, and continues to be, abused by inferior marketing agencies that have turned the craft into junk mail. If it is creative and intelligently conceived and executed, direct mail can be a fantastic way to engage the customer. Do not count it out.
Also known as ambient media, guerrilla advertising (or marketing) has become prominent over the last 20 years. It is a broadly used term for anything unconventional, and usually invites the consumer to participate or interact with the piece in some way. Location is important, as is timing. The driving forces behind guerrilla advertising or marketing are creative ideas and innovation, not a large budget.
Quite often, you will ask for forgiveness rather than permission with these campaigns, and they will spread via word of mouth and social media.
A mass-market form of communication including television and radio, broadcast advertising has, until recently, been the most dominant way to reach a large number of consumers. Broadcast advertising has really taken a beating over the last few years, especially with the rise of DVRs and “ad skipping” technology. However, it is still a popular way to reach millions of people, especially when the Super Bowl comes around.
Also known as out-of-home (OOH) advertising, this is a broad term that describes any type of advertising that reaches consumers when they are away from home. Think of billboards, bus shelter posters, fly posters, and even those big digital boards in Times Square.
Public Service Advertising
Unlike traditional commercials, Public Service Advertisements (PSA) are primarily designed to inform and educate rather than sell a product or service. PSAs traditionally appear on TV and radio, but are also heavily promoted online.
Product Placement Advertising
- In a nutshell, product placementis the promotion of branded goods and services within the context of a show or movie, rather than as an explicit advertisement. If you have ever seen a movie and wondered, “Wow, they sure are driving a lot of Fords in this scene,” or “Does everyone in this TV show drink Pepsi?” then you are noticing product placement. It’s a way that these films and shows get funding, and is a great way for advertisers to reach a targeted demographic.