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The Different Types of Advertising Methods Available to You

Major media tactics used in modern advertising to reach consumers

 Illustration by Catherine Song. © The Balance, 2018

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 are a few examples of what's 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. There are many digital marketing strategies including placing ads on popular websites and social media sites.

Google Adwords and Adsense

AdWords from Google allows companies to bid on the placement of an ad on Google's search engine results page. By using keywords or common search terms, searches that are related to the business and their products and services appear in the search results. For example, a company that advertises insurance will show up in any search queries for insurance products. The business pays Google if the ad is clicked on, which is why it's called a  basis.

Google AdSense allows a company to host ads on their website from Google to generate revenue for the site. For businesses looking to advertise, they can enroll in Adsense and Google, through its algorithms, will match the ad to various websites with related content or search parameters. As a result, companies can reach larger audiences through Google's placement of advertisements. Google places the advertisements on other websites to produce clicks and website traffic.

LinkedIn Advertising

Companies can create a business page and post content, videos, products offerings on their page as a way of reaching the millions of LinkedIn users. A LinkedIn page can be an extension of a company's website and drive traffic to the site through links in the content. Also, employees of the company can establish LinkedIn pages with similar content that contain links to the company's website and product offerings.

Companies can also place ads on LinkedIn that can be targeted to particular traits or demographics of LinkedIn users. For example, if a business wanted to advertise to people that worked in the field of accounting, an ad can be placed that only targets LinkedIn users that work in the accounting industry or have an accounting degree. With LinkedIn, many members belong to groups. Ads can be targeted to a specific group like a cryptocurrency group or a technology group.

Other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer similar programs like the ones outlined from Google and LinkedIn. With digital advertising, it's important to research and target the specific audience that'll likely buy a company's product or service before placing an ad.

From ads on Facebook and Snapchat to partnerships with BuzzFeed and Reddit, the fastest, easiest way to reach millions of potential customers is online. 

A dominating force in digital advertising is through mobile devices such as 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, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Mobile advertising is similar to online advertising and is increasingly gaining importance as a method of reaching new customers.

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:

  1. Periodical Advertising
    1. 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 saw the message.
  2. Brochures, Leaflets, Flyers, Handouts, and Point-of-Sale Advertising
    1. 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.
  1. Direct Mail Advertising
    1. Either of the techniques mentioned above can be incorporated into directly 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 and .

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 suffered from the popularity of DVRs and "ad-skipping" technology. However, it is still an effective 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. 

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 is the 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.