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Advertising media

Advertising media

Have you ever shared, liked, or retweeted an ad? Or have you ever purchased something directly from an ad? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you have engaged with an advertisement. But what makes us engage with one ad but not another? Well, that is partially dependent on the advertising media itself. Marketers use various tactics to reach and engage us through their advertisements. Read along to find out how!

Advertising Media Definition

Advertising is the paid communication of a product, idea, or experience by a specific sponsor for commercial purposes. But what is advertising media? Well, advertisements can take various forms. These different forms of communication are known as advertising media.

Advertising media refers to the various media and channels marketers use to promote their products and brands.

It is essential to understand advertising media as it is part of the marketing communications mix. The communications mix comprises advertising, sales promotions, public relations, sponsorships, and direct marketing. However, this explanation will focus on the communications mix's advertising element.

Check out our Integrated Marketing Communications explanation to learn more about the communications mix.

Advertising Media Types

Although there are numerous advertising media types, they can be broadly classified into three categories based on their form, function, and source.

Advertising media types: form

Firstly, advertising media can be categorised by form. This is the most straightforward form of classifying advertising media as it is easily observable. The classification of advertising media by form is as follows:

  • Print media - marketing communications in the form of printed publications. Examples include newspapers like the BBC or The Guardian and magazines like Vogue (consumer magazine) or Bloomberg BusinessWeek (business magazine).

  • Broadcast media - marketing communications in the form of audio and video content. Examples include television and radio advertisements.

  • Interactive media - comprises marketing communications in the form of text, audio, video, animation, etc., on digital platforms. Interactive media is based on the user's input. Examples of interactive media include communications using the Internet, like e-mail marketing or websites, social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, and search advertising, like paid search or links.

  • In-store media - marketing communications using displays and experiences in physical stores. Examples may include point-of-purchase communications like displays, experiences like Sephora's virtual lipstick try-on (in-store), or unique packaging.

  • Outdoor media - marketing communications that take place outdoors, in public spaces, accessible to everyone. Examples include billboards or Tube advertisements in London.

  • Other media forms - other forms of advertising media may include product placements, brand events, exhibitions, etc.

Advertising media types: function

Secondly, advertising media types can be grouped based on function. Based on this classification, advertising med can be:

  1. Linear - Linear media involves one-way communication. For example, a simple text-based billboard, poster, or print media. Consumers view this advertisement but do not engage or interact with the brand when they see it.

  2. Interactive - On the other hand, interactive media refers to two-way communication in which multiple parties can exchange information. In this case, the viewer can react and interact with the product or brand. For example, social media communications that the consumer can immediately respond to.

Advertising media types: source

On the other hand, we can also organise advertising media based on its source. The three different sources are as follows:

  1. Owned media - any form of media that belongs to the brand/company. In other words, the brand does not pay to use this form of media for advertising purposes - for example, a brand website or mobile app.

  2. Paid media - any media the company pays to use and promote its brand/products. Paid media includes traditional forms of advertisement like billboards or print ads and interactive advertisements like social media ads.

  3. Earned media - any media on a third-party channel where the user (the brand) has to adhere to the platform's guidelines. It includes all the communications (online, offline, on socials, etc.) generated about a brand.

We explain this concept in further detail in our Social Media Marketing explanation.

Advertising media types: creative execution

Finally, let's observe how we can classify advertising messages through how their advertising appeal is communicated. We discuss advertisement appeal in more detail in the following section, so bear with us.

Creative execution is how an advertising appeal is communicated to the consumer.

The different types of creative execution include:

  • Demonstration: The advertisement highlights the product's benefits as it is being used.

  • Comparison: Directly or indirectly comparing the product's benefits to those of competitors.

  • Straight-sell: Directly showcasing information about the product.

  • Testimonial: The advertisement relies on an individual explaining the product's benefits - derived from personal use.

  • 'Slice of life': The advertisement focuses on a familiar daily situation or problem people face and provides a solution to this problem.

  • Celebrity endorsement: The advertisement portrays a well-known celebrity using the product.

  • Scientific: The advertisement uses scientific studies or presents medical advice to portray the product's benefits.

Advertising Media Marketing

Advertising media is essential for marketing as it helps marketers capture viewers' attention. Similarly, marketers can engage consumers through a variety of advertising appeals. Although a marketing agency often takes care of a company's advertising creative, brands must choose the type of media and advertising appeal they use for their marketing communications.

An advertising appeal is a creative communications strategy marketers use to capture consumers' attention and influence their attitudes towards purchasing a product.

Advertising appeal is an essential element of advertising as it significantly impacts advertising effectiveness. Thus, marketers must carefully curate the mix of media and appeal to achieve the desired effect of an advertisement on consumers.

Advertising appeals can either be:

  • Emotional - social and psychological needs.

  • Informational - functional needs.

Armstrong (2011) argues that marketers should use emotional appeals for hedonic products and informational appeals for utilitarian products.1

Regarding advertising, marketers need to evaluate which advertising media would work best for the type of advertising appeal chosen and vice versa. However, there is no 'ideal technique' or prescribed model to follow. For example, Grigaliunate & Pileliene (2016) found that consumers respond to emotional and informational appeals when using print and outdoor advertisements (advertising media) for convenience products.2 Thus, marketers must conduct market research and carefully evaluate a proposed advertisement's media mix and appeal.

Advertising Media Planning

Advertising media planning involves finding the right platform for the brand's content to reach its target customer segment at the right time. The overall process of advertising media planning involves:

  1. Determining reach, frequency, and engagement,

  2. Selecting the media type,

  3. Selecting the media vehicle,

  4. Determining media timing.

First, marketers must determine the reach, frequency, and engagement they aim to achieve.

Reach includes the percentage of the target market seeing the advertising campaign in a given period - for example, 10% of the target market in the first two weeks.

On the other hand, frequency calculates the number of times an individual was exposed to the campaign. However, beyond reaching the target audience numerous times, marketers also want to create engagement, which is why they must select the correct media type. We have seen the different media types, so let's now discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

Media TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
PrintCredibility, demographic selectabilityHigh cost, long lead time
BroadcastMass-market scope, low cost per exposureLow attention and engagement
Digital MediaLow cost, high engagement potential, demographic selectabilityAudience may avoid viewing the ad, low impact
OutdoorRepeat exposure, low competition, flexibilityLow demographic selectability, targets mass market
Direct MailFlexibility, personalisationAudience can avoid/become overwhelmed if frequency is high
In-storeMass-market scope, short purchase lead timeLow engagement, only effective for specific product types

Table 1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Media Types, StudySmarter Originals.

Once the marketer has chosen the media type, they must select the media vehicle. The media vehicle is a specific media type within broad media categories. For example, the advertiser might select Instagram (within digital media) or television ads (within broadcast media). When choosing the media vehicle, the marketer must evaluate their budget and target audience.

The final step includes determining media timing. Marketers need to choose how to schedule their advertisements. Advertisements could be scheduled year-round, during seasonal holidays, etc. An essential aspect to determine here is whether the marketer wants:

  • Continuity - constant steam of ads (e.g., one ad per day)

  • Pulsing - uneven stream of ads (e.g., one ad per day for two weeks, then a two-week break)

Marketers can use various media scheduling tools to optimise their media planning.

Marketers may also use automated platforms to schedule their digital media activity.

Advertising Media Examples

Let's now take a look at some examples of advertising media.

Pre-Mother's Day in Germany, Burger King decided to launch its 'Pregnant Whopper' campaign. Burger King surveyed pregnant women to find out their strangest pregnancy cravings. The campaign video showed these women and their partners trying the bizarre burger combinations, which included pickles and jam burgers, strawberry ice cream and fries burgers, fish sticks and apple sauce burgers, and so on. The offer was valid for a day in select Burger King restaurants in Germany.4 The campaign provided a successful means of engaging a specific target segment (pregnant women in Germany). The campaign's timing was also perfectly scheduled around Mother's Day.

We can also examine advertising media through IHOP's IHOB Campaign.

American pancake house IHOP - International Pancake House - used an interactive campaign to create engagement on social media. IHOP posted a video on Twitter which showcased its rebranding. The rebranding simply involved turning the 'P' in IHOP into a 'B' (IHOB). The post then urged followers and Twitter users to guess what the 'B' stands for. The tweet had over 30,000 responses and 15,000 retweets3, showing how engaging and interactive social media can be when used correctly. It turns out the 'B' stood for burgers. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of IHOP's burgers and encourage customers to try them.

Advertising media - Key takeaways

  • Advertising media refers to the various media and channels marketers use to promote their products and brands.
  • We can categorise advertising media based on form, function, and source.
  • Reach includes the percentage of the target market seeing the advertising campaign in a given period.
  • Frequency calculates the number of times an individual was exposed to the campaign.
  • The media vehicle is a specific media type within broad media categories.
  • Continuity and pulsing are the two media timing categories.

References

  1. Scott Armstrong, J. Evidence-based advertising: An application to persuasion. International Journal of Advertising. 2011.
  2. Grigaliunaite, Viktorija, and Lina Pileliene. Emotional or rational? The determination of the influence of advertising appeal on advertising effectiveness. Scientific Annals of Economics and Business. 2016.
  3. Matt Robinson. 19 Most Successful Social Media Campaigns: Everything That Works. 2020. https://howsociable.com/blog/social-media-campaigns/
  4. James Herring. Burger King create 'Pregnancy Whoopers' to satisfy weird cravings. 2022. https://www.famouscampaigns.com/2022/05/burger-king-create-pregnancy-whoopers-to-satisfy-weird-cravings/

Frequently Asked Questions about Advertising media

Advertising media refers to the various media and channels marketers use to promote their products and brands.

There are numerous types of advertising. Four common types of advertising include print media, digital media, broadcast media, and outdoor media. 

The main purpose of media advertising includes reaching and engaging customers. Each marketing campaign might have a different objective, however, marketers must always determine the reach, frequency, and engagement they aim to achieve.  

Advertising media planning involves finding the right platform for the brand's content to reach its target customer segment at the right time. The overall process of advertising media planning involves:


  1. Determining reach, frequency, and engagement,

  2. Selecting the media type,

  3. Selecting the media vehicle,

  4. Determining media timing.

There are a variety of tools marketers use to advertise. Examples of advertising may include print media, broadcast media, interactive and digital media, in-store media, outdoor media, and other media forms like events, exhibitions, or product placements.

Final Advertising media Quiz

Question

__________ refers to the various media and channels marketers use to promote their products and brands.

Show answer

Answer

Advertising media

Show question

Question

The _______ mix comprises advertising, sales promotions, public relations, sponsorships, and direct marketing.

Show answer

Answer

communications

Show question

Question

Advertising media can be broadly classified into three categories based on their form, function, and source. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

________ comprises marketing communications in the form of text, audio, video, animation, etc., on digital platforms.

Show answer

Answer

interactive media

Show question

Question

________ involves marketing communications using displays and experiences in physical stores. 

Show answer

Answer

In-store media

Show question

Question

Advertising media types can be grouped based on function.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What is the difference between linear and interactive media?

Show answer

Answer

Linear media involves one-way communication. On the other hand, interactive media refers to two-way communication in which multiple parties can exchange information.

Show question

Question

What are the three sources of advertising media?

Show answer

Answer

Paid, owned, and earned.

Show question

Question

________ is any form of media that belongs to the brand/company

Show answer

Answer

Owned media

Show question

Question

Creative execution is how an advertising appeal is communicated to the consumer.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Marketing agencies always take care of a company's advertising creative.


Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

A(n) ________ is a creative communications strategy marketers use to capture consumers' attention and influence their attitudes towards purchasing a product.


Show answer

Answer

advertising appeal

Show question

Question

___________ involves finding the right platform for the brand's content to reach its target customer segment at the right time.


Show answer

Answer

Advertising media planning

Show question

Question

The process of advertising media planning involves:


  1. __________________,

  2. Selecting the media type,

  3. ___________________,

  4. Determining media timing.

Show answer

Answer

  1. Determining reach, frequency, and engagement,
  2. Selecting the media type,

  3. Selecting the media vehicle,

  4. Determining media timing.

Show question

Question

_______ includes the percentage of the target market seeing the advertising campaign in a given period.


Show answer

Answer

Reach

Show question

Question

What is a media vehicle?

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Answer

The media vehicle is a specific media type within broad media categories. For example, the advertiser might select Instagram (within digital media) or television ads (within broadcast media)

Show question

Question

An essential aspect to determine in media timing is whether the marketer wants _______ or ________ .

Show answer

Answer

continuity or pulsing

Show question

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