The Main Types of Advertising

Advertising is any paid form of promotion for ideas, goods and/or services by an identified sponsor.  It is the type of promotion everyone is most acquainted with and that you encounter in different forms throughout your daily life.  What type of advertising you use is largely dependent on what your marketing strategy, budget and overall goals look like.  If you have a product or service, at some point in life, you will implement several of these forms of promotion to increase visibility and sales.  Let’s take a look at the ten most common forms of advertising.

Online Advertising

Also called digital advertising, this is where you spread your message across the internet.  This is done through search engine optimization/marketing and renting space.  Nearly every website will sell ad space to generate extra revenue.

  • Website Space is simply when a blog or general website “rent” space in their headers or on the sides of their articles for you to place a quick video spot or generic ad.
  • Targeted Ads refers to sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that have you pay for the ability for them to send your ad to a more targeted audience via feeds, site space and preference lists.  The targeting is even precise to the point of interests, demographics and regions.  Google is exceptional at this and puts them at the top of their search results for specific keywords that you pay to be seen under.
  • SEO is considered the backbone of what is modern online marketing.  Search Engine Optimization is the process of using many different techniques and combinations to target being among the top results visible for certain keywords/industries when someone uses Google, Bing, Yahoo,, etc.
  • Email Advertising is simply promotions sent to user emails.  There are different techniques you can utilize to create a targeted list of consumers that you can share company updates, news, sales and more with.  There are also generic lists you can access that reach out to anyone that are not targeted and more random.

Television Commercials

This has to be the most well-known source of advertising in this day and age.  There are commercials for nearly every type of product or service.  Still a major player despite the heavy use of online platforms by consumers, you could run short promo ads or even infomercials.  You usually see shorter ads run during major events like the Superbowl or special premiere nights.

Infomercials are long segments full of information on a product or service and specifics on how to use them or purchase them.  The name itself is a combination of information and commercials.  Television commercials are one of the most costly advertising streams but still highly effective.

Movie Theaters

Ads running during the waiting period before a movie and movie trailers begin are Movie Theater Advertising.  They are a unique form of promotion because they target a captive audience prior to an evening of entertainment.  Since the audience is captive and usually focused on the screen, they prove to be pretty effective, especially for local businesses.

Product Placement

Not only one of the most audience aware forms of advertising but one of the most copied and parodied is product placement.  This is where a product is shown within movies or television shows.  The characters interact with them or they are simply shown in the background.  Subtle introduction of products in the entertainment medium has shown to have an impact on the consumer mindset and actually causes them to be more keen on buying that item.  It is also heavily parodied by over exaggerating the placement of the product or breaking the fourth wall with the audience.

Print Advertising

This is any promotion in items being printed, such as magazines, newspapers and brochures.  It is a dying form of advertising because of the flood of users consuming their news and entertainment through the visual medium instead of on paper.  Magazines and Newspapers print ads in specified sections or even rent space between articles and in the corners of the paper itself.  Magazines are more likely to contain perfume sample ads or product sample ads while newspapers contain more local shopping and grocery store sales papers.

Brochure and hand outs are another great form of print advertising.  They can be distributed at events, one-on-one interactions or even set up at tables for potential customers to retain for further information.


These audio ads run on station breaks and broadcast via the radio waves.  Usually listened to on car radios or personal stereo systems, you can hear all sorts of catchy product jingles and short promo spots in between your favorite shows or music.  This is truly great for local events or businesses.

Global Advertising

This can be viewed as a strategy or a form of advertising but these are ads that run the same message in one language throughout every country that product is sold.  A larger corporation with a more universal product or service benefit more from this type of advertising.  For instance, Apple runs one ad type in English throughout many countries around the globe.

SMS Advertising

This could be considered a part of several other forms of advertising but I feel it needs its own section.  This is simply advertising through text messages to people’s cell phones.  Radio stations, stores and companies are notorious for doing this marketing.  You can opt-in for news about contests and band information from local radio stations or get daily sales discount coupons from your favorite department store.  It is very similar to email marketing but it takes place on your mobile exclusively and uses around 160 characters or less to get a point across.  This is a great way to build a client list.


Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor Advertising is any form of spreading a message using items one encounters while venturing outdoors.   Stationary billboards and mobile billboards are the larger format for these advertising signs but promos can be placed on buses, cabs, airline seats, movie theater seats, park benches, bus stops, skywriting, blimps, planes pulling banners, etc.  This kind of advertising is extremely effective because it is unique to see in unconventional places and more likely to draw the eye.

No matter if you use one or several of these types of advertising, they are still extremely effective in spreading your message or increasing company and product visibility.  Again, it all depends on your budget and overall marketing strategy to know if this type of promotion is feasible for you or will create the best effectiveness for your campaign.  Make sure you do thorough research on your goals and how to achieve them to make the best decision.

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