Advertising is the practice of paying for space to promote a product or service. That is a definition in a very simple form. Each component of this definition has variables, from the type of payment to the product to the type of space, or advertising mediums. Payment can be money or even a product or service for another product or service. Of course, that product or service varies because this can cover, well, almost everything. Space is where your ad will be, radio, TV, billboards, or social media, for instance. It is the advertising medium.
Through the years, advertising and its mediums have grown, changed and transitioned with the world around us. The past century, and especially the past decade, has seen great growth in advertising, creating new opportunities for anyone looking to sell a product or service. With all the formats of advertising mediums, it may be difficult to choose which one is best to use. The more you know, though, the easier it will be to find the right spot.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
The Major Advertising Mediums
Advertising mediums are the “where” of the ad. Way back in the day, advertising mediums could be word of mouth or decorative banners. Then print was born and new advertising mediums took the lead. This included newspapers, brochures, pamphlets, and any other type of print. Then radio and television came about, opening up another whole world for advertisers. Now we have the Internet and social media to advertise on. And yes, word of mouth and banners are still forms of advertising.
Let’s took a look at some of the biggest, current advertising mediums:
- TV – Television is a classic advertising medium. It has been around quite a while and isn’t going anywhere (yet). One reason is that it is both audio and visual. It stimulates both the auditory and visual systems. People also tend to believe television ads. Studies show it is still one of the most influential forms of advertising. That may be true considering the average American watches around five hours of TV a day, according to themanifest.com.
- Out of Home – This advertising medium consists of the ads you see outside of the home or away from your device. Mediums like billboards, signs in airports and on busses, marketing on city benches, and ads at the gas pump or grocery check out line all fall into this category. A piece on business2community.com shares that this type of advertising is the second most trusted medium.
- Press – This encompasses print media, like newspapers and magazines. However, there is a big, consistent decline in the newspaper. Therefore newspaper advertising is a medium that is not as popular as it once was. Magazine and other print forms are still going strong, though. This form of print is a big market for advertisers partly due to the ease of marketing to the right audience.
- Radio – Along with TV, radio is one of the most influential forms of advertising today. Because this medium can be marketed to a local or national audience, the reach is quite effective and can be personalized. A local spin can be incorporated into the ad. This helps to form a brand connection, too. This medium is also known to be memorable and is economical for the company advertising.
- Internet and Social Media – This newer medium in advertising is quickly making its mark. We all know how we see ads on social media that relate to things we’ve searched online for. This is a form of advertising that is personalized directly to the consumer. It keeps reminding the consumer of things they want.
- Podcasts – This advertising medium is a big up and comer. Like magazines, it has a built in niche for effective advertising. Along with the connection of the host to the audience, the ads become conversations rather than distractions. Podcast Marketing Can Boost Your Business shares some reasons why podcast ads are a great medium to invest in. Some of these are the cost-effectiveness and the credibility of the host.
Pros and Cons of Advertising Mediums
In deciding where to invest when it comes to advertising mediums, it’s important to take a look at some pros and comes of each medium. This can help you to see where you fit. For instance, even though television has a wide reach, it is a very expensive form of advertising. It may just not be in your budget. The same goes for magazines. You may be able to afford to place an ad in a small magazine, but will have it have the reach you are looking for?
On the other hand, radio or podcasting advertising can fit almost any budget. If you are looking to target a specific audience, these advertising mediums are a great place to invest. With a smart script and a great voice-over, your radio ad can be geared towards a specific audience. Remember this is a memorable medium, too. You can even take on writing the script yourself. Then find a voice actor with just the right voice to perform it. This article offers excellent tips on writing an effective radio script.
Podcasts are also heavy on the pro side of the pros and cons list. You can find a podcast that your target audience probably tunes in to. From there, with an offer to the host of a trial product, your cost can be affordable. The host will talk up your product after personally trying it out. Many people feel this is a win-win advertising medium.
Depending on your product and where you live, other advertising mediums may have particular pros and cons for you. If you live in a smaller town, a bus or bench sign may be a good choice. However, placing an ad in a major airport may be above your budget.
The good thing about the audio ads is they are affordable and effective advertising mediums. That is a winning combination.
More on Audio Ads
Not only are audio ads effective and affordable, but they are also versatile. Radio has always been an effective platform for advertising. Now podcasts have moved into the forum as well. With both of these mediums, you can directly reach a target audience.
With radio ads, businesses can target an audience at a local level or at a national one. Costs will vary depending not only on the station but also the show and time of day. This opens up a variety of price points for radio advertising. Radio also offers the options of sponsorship or voice over ads. Radio Commercials and Creating Successful Advertising shares tips on making a successful ad geared toward radio and the target audience.
For a radio ad, you will hear either a pre-recorded ad with a voice over for the product or the host of the show may share a sponsorship. This is where the host will speak directly about the product or service. Some common examples are local car dealers, carpet cleaners, or mattress stores. Listeners feel a connection with the host so the testimonial has credibility.
Podcasts as advertising mediums are the up and coming stars. The more common form of advertising here is a sponsorship. In a sponsorship, the host or hosts share their experience regarding the product or service. Because podcast hosts are already born storytellers, they can weave an ad into the show and make it entertaining. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the show stops and the ad begins.
Podcasts can also be a cost-effective medium for advertising. With so many podcasts and so many listeners, there is essentially a platform for every audience. Many podcasts are new and looking for not only listeners but also sponsors, so the cost to advertise is on the lower side. Listeners trust what their hosts say or what they are advertising on their show, so credibility is high.
Targeting the Right Audience
Perhaps the most important part of advertising is reaching your target audience. According to Hootsuite, the target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. You can have a perfect visual paired with the best voice over to create an outstanding ad, but if your target customers don’t see it, well, it won’t be successful. It’s vital to the success of your ad to find the right audience.
The broader your target audience is, the more leeway you’ll have with advertising mediums. Think about something that everyone uses, like toilet paper. It’s not hard to reach people concerning a product like this. But the smaller the niche is, the more precise you have to be with reaching that audience. For instance, if your brand is vegan lipstick, you need to find the right ways to reach your audience. You probably don’t want to waste time or money running a broad, national campaign. But if you can reach into podcasts or radio that brings in listeners that want vegan lipstick, you’ll have a connection.
Demographic and behavioral information will help you find that audience. With proper research and information, you’ll be able to target your audience while spending your time, money, and efforts wisely. It’s good to remember that just because you are targeting certain audiences, you’re not stopping others from buying. You just want to reach the ones with a higher chance of buying. The right advertising mediums can help you do this.
The great thing about all the different advertising mediums is that there is a way to reach anyone and everyone. It just is sometimes a matter of finding them.
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As technology moves forward, we have more choices about advertising mediums. Whether you decide to go big with national TV or print, or you choose to keep your scale (and budget) smaller with a local podcast, you have options. The size, scope, and budget of your business will dictate much of it, as will your target audience.