What is Advertising in Marketing?

Digital marketing is huge. It is an umbrella term that covers all types of marketing and advertising done online in any form. Yes, it includes online or digital advertising too. What is advertising in marketing and how is it related to or different from digital marketing?

Is advertising similar to marketing? Or is it a subset of marketing?

This article covers everything you need to know about advertising in marketing, its types, and more.

What is Advertising in Marketing?

Advertising is defined as a means of communication to persuade your target audience to take a specific action such as buying a product or service. Advertisement isn’t always aimed at selling, rather it is used to inform a target audience, build an image, influence consumers, and so on.

However, the core purpose of advertisement is to sell.

The advertiser pays money to run an ad campaign in exchange for sales. This is how return on investment is derived. If there isn’t any return, businesses won’t spend money on ads.

Types of Advertising

Advertising in marketing has two major types:

  1. Traditional
  2. Digital.

1. Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising is the type of advertisement that includes normal advertisement on leading media placements such as TV, print, radio, etc. It has been used for centuries by all types of businesses. The major traditional advertising platforms include:

  1. Television and radio
  2. Print
  3. Billboards.

Here is an example of a billboard:

5 rules of effective billboard design and advertising

Traditional advertising is expensive and is more focused on mass marketing. This is a reason why marketers have to switch to digital advertising.

2. Digital Advertising

Advertising has changed a lot recently. It has shifted online and is now known as digital advertising or online ads.

Digital or online advertising uses digital channels to run advertising campaigns to reach your target audience. Online channels include social media, search engines, websites, mobile apps, and more. Not only are online ads cheaper than traditional ads but they’re highly targeted.

Here is how traditional advertising channels have been updated by the new online channels:

digital vs traditional advertisement

Traditional advertising channels are still in use. They haven’t become obsolete. Online channels are added to the portfolio and have made it easier for businesses to connect with and reach their audience.

Google Ads is the biggest online ad network in the world. Google generated $147 billion in revenue from its ad network in 2020. Here is an example of online ads on Google search:

google search ads example

Online ads have different types. You have a wide range of ad types to pick from when it comes to digital advertising. Here is the list of online ads to choose from:

  1. Social media advertising
  2. Search ads
  3. Display advertising
  4. Banner ads
  5. Native ads
  6. Mobile advertising
  7. Retargeted ads
  8. Video ads.

Benefits of Online Advertising

Online advertisement is the key type of advertising today. It is the primary preference of businesses and advertisers to go for online ads.


Due to its unmatched benefits. Here are the key benefits of using online advertising:

  1. Cost
  2. Reach
  3. ROI
  4. Ease of use
  5. Trackable.

1. Cost

Online advertising is cost-effective. It costs ways less than traditional advertising:

digital vs traditional ad cost

For example, it costs $250 to reach 2,000 people via a newspaper ad. And it only costs $50 to reach 2,000 people via search ads.

This is a reason why leading businesses and CMOs spend more on digital ads as compared to traditional advertisements. Here is an overview of how digital vs. traditional advertising spending has changed over the years:

traditional vs digital ad spending

That’s a lot of difference.

2. Reach

Online ads have a massive reach that you don’t find with traditional advertising. Just to give you an idea, 3.78 billion people are using social media globally in 2021:

social media global user stats

This is huge. In a way, businesses have access to almost half of the world’s population via social media advertising. Similarly, Facebook has 2.85 billion monthly users and it is the most used social media platform in the world.

Online ads let you reach your target audience precisely. You can choose targeting settings to reach your audience with extreme accuracy. This option isn’t available with traditional advertising channels.

Think of a television ad campaign. It is more of mass advertising with minimal targeting options. You can only choose TV channels but can’t decide who can and cannot see your ad.

3. ROI

Online advertising has a high return on investment. Not only is the ROI high but it can be proved easily.

For example, businesses make $2 for every $1 spent on Google Ads. You don’t get to see such a high ROI with traditional ads.

Proving ROI is easier. You can easily track traffic, leads, and sales generated by a specific ad campaign and attribute conversions. This is something you don’t get with traditional ads. You can’t track and prove ROI individually for multiple television ad campaigns running simultaneously.

4. Ease of Use

Running an online ad campaign is super-easy. You can do it yourself without any training. All the ad platforms have tutorials and guides for their users. The user interface of all the leading online ad networks is fairly simple and easy to use.

Google Ads, for example, walks you through the exact steps to creating an ad campaign. It has a user-friendly onboarding process that makes it super-easy to run an ad campaign:

Google ads dashboard screenshot

Optimizing your ads and improving conversion rate is, however, the hard part. You can initiate an ad campaign in a few minutes and your ad will go live. But when it comes to improving ad performance, you might need an expert.

5. Trackable

Perhaps the best thing about online advertising is that the ads are fully trackable. You can analyze ad performance at a granular level. Clicks, impressions, and conversions are all trackable.

You don’t have to buy any third-party tracking tools. Ad networks offer reporting and analysis to their users. You can generate reports, graphs, and charts easily to track and measure ad performance.

Advertising is a Must

Advertising, whether traditional or digital, is the best way to generate awareness, leads, and sales. Both traditional and online advertising have their ups and downs.

Traditional ads are great for mass marketing and improving brand awareness. Digital ads, on the other hand, are best at targeting and generating online leads and sales.

Invest in advertising smartly by picking the right channels for your business.

Featured Image: Pexels

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