Various Advertising Channels and Their Uses

Category: General Advertising

Estimated time: 60 minutes


Understanding different advertising channels and how they are used can help you decide the best way to use them for your marketing campaigns. The purpose of this module is to give you an overview of the different types of advertising campaigns available out there and their respective uses.


Advertising is a complex mechanism. Successful advertising takes foresight, expertise and a deep understanding of your intended audience. Your ad campaign can be much more effective when you incorporate the following:

  • Appealing, interesting, useful content.
  • Design that is appropriate to the medium being used.
  • Relevant messaging
  • Connecting with users on multiple cognitive and emotional levels.

Different advertising media appeal to different people on different emotional and intellectual levels. If you want to know what is the most effective advertising medium, you have to decide what you consider effective – every business has a different definition of effective advertising and rightly so. There are different ways for advertising to be effective because there are different ways in which companies must brand and position themselves. Different factors would need to be considered to see which method, if any in particular, would be more effective than others. Some advertising mediums are better than others depending on what you are looking to sell. It could be visibility, exposure, and cost, for example. By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand why it is important for your business to consider multiple advertising channels
  • Understand various different kinds of advertisement channels
  • Analyze ways to maximize your budget with multi-channel marketing


  • Importance of multi-channel advertising campaigns
  • Overview of different advertising channels
  • Cost Considerations and Feasibility of Different Advertising Channels


Understand why it is important for your business to consider multiple advertising channels


Sending an email is free, creating a Facebook page is free, Twitter outreach is free, cold-calling is free, publicity is free, referrals are free, and advertising costs money. Simply put, advertising works because ‘free’ tools alone will not give your business the leverage it needs for improved customer acquisition.

  • So, advertising is one of the marketing tools that often come with an invoice. You must write a check in order to run ads or send direct mail, often, before seeing any results.People shy away from advertising, not because of the cost, but because they don’t know how to get results and they don’t understand the long-term residual effects of a well-managed advertising campaign.To get results from advertising in today’s world  you must:
  • Be laser-focused on a specific target market
  • Create awareness using valuable content and a strong call to action
  • Measure leads and conversions diligently

When done effectively advertising is an essential part of your marketing mix because:

  • Advertising is the only medium you can control
  • Advertising allows you to target ideal customers only
  • Advertising creates awareness for your content
  • Advertising adds credibility to your message
  • Advertising amplifies everything else you’re doing


You are in a heated discussion with your instagram-loving friend about why it is important for businesses to have a well-rounded, multi-channel advertising campaign. Make a list of three strong arguments to convince your friend on the merits of multi channel advertising.


Understand various different kinds of advertising channels


A successful advertising campaign will spread the word about your products and services, attract customers and generate sales. Whether you are trying to encourage new customers to buy an existing product or launching a new service, there are many options to choose from.

The most suitable advertising option for your business will depend on your target audience and what is the most cost effective way to reach as many of them as possible, as many times as possible – with a maximum return on interest. Below is a brief overview of the different types of advertising channels available out there.

Print: Newspaper

Newspaper advertising can promote your business to a wide range of customers. Display advertisements are placed throughout the paper, while classified listings are under subject headings in a specific section.

Print: Magazine

Advertising in a specialist magazine can reach your target market quickly and easily. Readers (your potential customers) tend to read magazines at their leisure and keep them for longer, giving your advertisement multiple chances to attract attention.

Broadcast: Radio & TV

Advertising on the radio is a great way to reach your target audience. If your target market listens to a particular station, then regular advertising can attract new customers. Television has an extensive reach and advertising this way is ideal if you cater to a large market in a large area. Television advertisements have the advantage of sight, sound, movement and colour to persuade a customer to buy from you

Print or Digital: Directories

Directories list businesses by name or category (e.g. Yellow Pages phone directories). Customers who refer to directories have often already made up their mind to buy – they just need to decide who to buy from.

Outdoor and transit

There are many ways to advertise outside and on-the-go. Outdoor billboards can be signs by the road or hoardings at sport stadiums. Transit advertising can be posters on buses, taxis and bicycles. Large billboards can get your message across with a big impact. If the same customers pass your billboard every day as they travel to work, you are likely to be the first business they think of when they want to buy a product.

Direct mail, catalogues and leaflets

Direct mail means writing to customers directly. The more precise your mailing list or distribution area, the more of your target market you will reach. A direct mail approach is more personal, as you can select your audience and plan the timing to suit your business. A cost effective form of direct mail is to send your newsletters or flyers electronically to an email database


Being on the internet can be a cost-effective way to attract new customers. You can reach a global audience at a low cost. Many customers research businesses online before deciding whom to buy from.

These are just the common forms of advertising you may encounter when trying to create a marketing campaign. There are hundreds of different avenues for advertising your product or service beyond these as well.


Analyze your target market. Make a list of ways in which your target customers consume advertising content. Which of the above advertising channels would be most effective for your target audience? Why?


Analyze costs and find ways to maximize your budget with multi-channel marketing


Unless you are a startup with venture or angel capital, you probably have a limited marketing budget. Here some ways you can analyze costs and find ways to market your business on a limited budget:

Go guerilla

Guerilla marketing looks to leverage creativity, imagination and originality in place of a big budget. Smart small businesses with a limited budget often use guerilla marketing to compete with huge companies. There is no shortage of creative guerilla marketing ideas.

Socialize on social media

Popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Snapchat. Each of these social media platforms are unique in its own right and require unique ways of engagement. Rather than try to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to master those first.

Create valuable content

You don’t always have to produce the content yourself. You can hire freelance writers, graphic designers and personal assistants through websites like Upwork.

Contests and giveaways

Everyone loves free gifts! Give away desirable or fun items to gain goodwill, build brand awareness and connect with potential customers. They don’t need to be expensive.

Piggyback your partners

When you are a small business with a limited marketing budget, it makes sense to partner with other complementary businesses. These can include manufacturers, suppliers and vendors.

Leverage scalable advertising channels

Conventional advertising mediums such as TV, radio and newspaper ads can be extremely costly and hard to measure effectiveness, but online advertising can be cheaper and more targeted.

Milk the media

Getting your business featured by the media is free marketing. To capture the attention of the media, try these and invite the media to come and cover it. One way to milk the media is by seeking the right kind of attention. Here are some ways to gain positive brand attention:

  • Do something for the community, and send out a press release prior to the event.
  • Sponsor an event by donating your products or services as giveaways or prizes or host a contest.
  • Nominate yourself for a business contest or award. If you win, even better

Help yourself by helping others

All your marketing should be of some use to your audience. There are many ways that you can make your marketing efforts a welcome intrusion rather than an annoyance to your audience. Try these strategies in tandem with your advertising campaigns to build goodwill among your target customers and increase the mileage from your advertising campaigns:

  • Provide useful information. Information marketing has proven to be highly effective in increasing sales.

  • Provide assistance. Answer questions posted on forums and websites like Quora and direct your audience to your website for more information.

  • Entertain your audience. Make them laugh or cry. Think of the funny and touching ads that you see and how quickly they are shared.


You are a marketing intern at a startup whose main product is a niche dating app for college students. Your team is bootstrapping and funds are limited but you have been approved for a small advertising budget. Design a marketing plan incorporating some of the above tactics to help maximize your advertising exposure.


Check Your Understanding:

List down any five businesses that are currently advertising solely on ‘free’ social media channels that could benefit from a more rounded advertising strategy.



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