8 different types of advertising (digital and traditional)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 January 2023

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Advertising is one of the most important things a marketing team can do to promote a company's products or services. Fortunately, with the rise of technology, there are many different types of advertising that companies can use to increase brand awareness. If you're thinking about a career in advertising, it's important that you understand the different advertising types and how to implement them. In this article, we discuss the different types of advertising, including traditional and digital forms, so that you can determine the best advertising strategies for your career development.

Types of advertising

Before considering the many different individual types of advertising, it's important to understand the two overarching kinds of advertising. Traditional advertising relates to the adverts that began before the invention of the Internet and social media. These traditional types of adverts include television, newspaper, radio, leaflets, direct mail and billboards. Some of these advertising methods may seem outdated, but they all have the potential to reach an enormous audience. Although this means that more people have the opportunity to see the brand you're promoting, this type of advertising is much less targeted than digital advertising.

Digital advertising has largely overtaken traditional advertising as it's now crucial to the success of a company and its products and services. Types of digital advertising include social media advertising, email adverts, paid search advertising and native advertising. Digital advertising is a more cost-effective way to advertise and allows you to target specific demographics. For a business to succeed, it ideally requires the creation of a marketing campaign that encompasses both traditional and digital advertising.

Related: A guide to the design of advertisement (with tips)

Types of digital advertising

Here are some common types of digital advertising:

Display adverts

Display advertising is the most simple form of digital advertising and usually combines images and text. These display ads typically show up as banners, pop-ups or flash ads on a website. The main difference between display advertising and other forms of advertising is that these adverts don't appear in search engines. This affordable option is easy to implement, as most websites offer advertising space. These ads can be still or animated, and they're simple in their purpose.

As display adverts are so prevalent online, this saturation can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of your ad. This is because they provide no other value than a call to action, and many consumers largely ignore these banners. They can even become annoying if they're distracting when a user is scrolling through a site, so choosing your display advert's look and placement carefully is crucial to its success.

Related: Digital marketing skills: definitions and examples

Paid search advertising

Paid search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a relatively new advertising method. To implement this strategy, you can bid for keywords. When someone searches a term related to this keyword, the search engine displays this web page at the top of the results page. If a person clicks on this link, the company you work for pays the amount you bid for the click.

For example, if the company you work for specialises in 'brake parts in Bolton', you could bid for this search term. Then, if a user searches for this term, the company's website would appear at the top of the screen, meaning that it's the first result the potential customer sees. If they click on this link, the company pays a fee. PPC advertising is one of the most effective ways to advertise. This is because it's cost-effective, easy to implement and allows you to target a specific audience.

Related: Guide to organic search vs. paid search and when to use them

Social media advertising

Social media advertising has risen in popularity drastically. As a marketing professional, you can use different social media platforms to promote a company's products or services. Social media advertising is very flexible. You can target specific locations, genders or age groups and can choose to pay for adverts or advertise in more organic ways.

For example, you may choose to pay for social media to advertise a company. You can create an advert and choose who gets to see it. It then appears while a user is scrolling through their feed. This type of advertising can have a large return on investment. An effective marketing strategy also makes use of the free methods of advertising that social media platforms offer. Effectively, a company's accounts on social media are a form of advertisement and you can use this free service to promote the company you work for in a more organic manner.

Related: What is social media advertising? (Plus types of ads)

Native advertising

Native advertising has this name because this method is all about camouflage. These types of adverts look similar to the rest of the page's content. Therefore, these adverts usually appear as articles or videos on sites that already host these types of content. For a native advert to be successful, it's crucial that it provides customers with relevant information. The advertisement is secondary to the message of the article or video when using this method. This form of advertising can be beneficial as it doesn't disrupt the user experience.

Types of traditional advertising

Here are some common types of traditional advertising:

Print advertising

Advertising through print used to be the most popular form of advertising. With the rise of technology and social media, many marketing teams don't use this form of advertising as frequently anymore. This doesn't mean that it's not important. Print advertising has the potential to reach a huge audience depending on the placement. Print adverts come in a number of different forms, such as newspaper ads, magazine ads, brochures and flyers.

You can choose whether or not you want to target certain individuals. For a targeted audience, you may choose to advertise in a specific magazine. For example, if you're part of the marketing team for a gardening company, you may choose to advertise its products in a gardening magazine. Or, if you want to advertise in a specific geographical location, you may place an advert in the local newspaper. Although print adverts have the potential to reach a large audience, it's becoming a less popular method of advertising as the amount of people who read newspapers and magazines is decreasing.

Related: Traditional media vs digital media: when to use each

Outdoor advertising

Outdoor advertising is simple in nature, as it refers to any advert that's visible to a consumer outside of their home. This is a mass-market advertising technique and, if placed properly, has the potential to reach thousands of people. As people pass outdoor advertising quickly, such as billboards, graphic design is hugely important to a successful outdoor advert. It requires an eye-catching and memorable design so that people can quickly read and understand the message that you want to present.

This type of advertisement is an easy way for marketing teams to raise awareness of a company's services or products. If the billboard doesn't have an easy to read design, passers-by are unlikely to be able to fully understand the message. This may also make it forgettable, which means consumers are less likely to seek out the product or service the billboard is advertising.

Related: 20 marketing activities to enhance any marketing strategy

Direct mail advertising

This form of print advertising involves sending potential customers advertisements through the mail. Examples of this type of advert include flyers, brochures, letters and catalogues. This advertising method can target an ultra-specific audience with a direct mailing list. For example, if you're promoting a new hardware shop, you can send flyers to every home within a specific radius of the shop. Although this form of advertisement is hugely targeted, it's not always effective, as you risk annoying users if you bombard them with information.

Related: 7 advertising roles: responsibilities and salary estimates

Television advertising

Television advertising has been in practice for decades and is still one of the most popular forms of advertising. This is partially due to its potential to reach millions of consumers. Marketers pay broadcasting companies to advertise a company's goods or services in a video advert. You can choose from 10, 20, 30-second or minute-long adverts. The cost of the advert depends on the length, the time of day it plays, how many times it replays, the programme it's advertised with and the network it broadcasts on.

Television adverts are costly, and these prices can skyrocket if you place your advert during a programme that millions of viewers watch. Although people now have the ability to skip past adverts in some cases, it's still an effective method of advertising and has the potential to reach a huge audience. You can also achieve targeted advertising with television adverts. For example, a marketing executive for a wellness company may choose to advertise on a programme about healthy eating. Repeating adverts at different times of the day and on different channels can help build brand awareness and boost sales.

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