Overview of the Advertising Industry
Businesses that operate within the advertising industry provide products and services that aim to raise awareness, influence and persuade a targeted audience to take action. This call to action usually entails buying a product or service, but can also include reinforcing and reassuring a consumer regarding a brand, message or an organisation.
There are many different types of media that advertisers can use to associate a set of product features with targeted characteristics in the thought process of consumers. To establish a trusted brand means implanting key messages that consumers recognise and associate with the product or service. Our eye line is bombarded with messages from advertisers every day. These may be in the form of newspaper ads, billboards, signage, junk mail, printed flyers, digital screens, TV ads, magazine ads and online advertisements on websites.
Advertising is a multibillion dollar global industry made up of thousands of providers utilising multiple media channels. Traditionally these channels have been radio, television, newspapers, magazines and trade journals. The digital revolution is rapidly transforming the advertising industry to include web-based contextual advertising and social media. These online platforms have allowed advertisers to track and deliver messages to groups with a buying interest. The size of the online advertising industry is difficult to measure due to the blurring of advertising services and marketing services.
There is no doubt that the growth in targeted online advertising is the result of its cost effectiveness and simplicity. The sheer numbers of people with web access, PC's and smartphones mean advertisers have captive online audiences. Traditionally advertisers have bombarded consumers through television and radio for decades. Nowadays, ads can be selectively targeted to individuals who may have specific buying preference and preferred media platform.
There are many specialist Internet marketing companies that can advise businesses on how firms can best invest in online advertising. There is a range of opportunities to promote your company including the traditional banners, paper for inclusion in an online business directory and pay per click. Pay per click advertising is a highly effective area of marketing that can provide a return on investment from tracking. Search engines pioneered contextual advertising by creating pay per click networks. These serve up the most relevant ad compared to the content of the webpage. Pay per click networks has levelled up the playing field between large advertisers (using traditional channels) when compared to small advertisers targeting local consumers. Small businesses can use contextual advertising to create their own advertisements. These are linked through by bidding on specific search terms of interest to their end users. When an end-user types in a search term their ad may be displayed in 'sponsored listings' near organic search results.
The revolution in mobile ads is also challenging traditional advertising methods. Smart phones give advertisers geographic location data which can be used to help enhance local special offers. In addition, the desire to share information across social networks to friends and colleagues means end users pass the message on for free on behalf of sponsors. Recommendations passed on regarding a product or service from a trusted friend in their social group only increase chances of purchasing. Smart phones are increasingly being used spread advertising messages using Quick Response Codes (QR). These graphical codes can be attached to anything from a magazine to a product in a shop. Potential consumers can scan QR codes using the camera from their smart phone, and the details of the special offer can be automatically stored on their phone.
The creative industries have also benefited from the growth of online advertising. Graphic designers and copywriters are examples of professions that small companies can employ to create brochures and advertising copy. So much advertising these days is interactive and requires a good grasp of social media marketing. Creating competitions, surveys and news that can be spread virally is an incredibly low-cost means of getting a message across.
The blurring of companies that provide advertising services and marketing services can become intensified. For example, publicising events, creating brochures, producing press releases and creating online ads, can all easily be outsourced as well as done in-house. If you plan to run an in-house campaign be sure to be mindful of any advertising regulations, designed to protect consumers. Most consumers are savvy enough not to be fooled by outlandish sales claims and over promising
Many prime-time entertainment programmes are now 'sponsored by' and seek to implant their message into the minds of regular viewers. As television channels and platforms move from analogue to digital to online, viewers have become accustomed to recording programs for future viewing. Today we can skip through the adverts using a remote control at the click of a finger. Many games consoles can also be used to watch television or browse the Internet. Behavioural tracking of users is increasingly being used to test the effectiveness of a campaign and its messaging.
Advertisers are increasingly using product placement and celebrity endorsements to reinforce and promote a product. Expensive cars and watches are good examples in which the main character of a movie is quite blatantly seen using or consuming products being advertised.
Browsing through online directories of advertising agencies can be challenging. In times of recession, advertising spend naturally goes down. Yet the effectiveness of investment can be positive if the return on investment can be calculated through tracking. Most business customers will expect suppliers to have professional online presence (including a website, directory listings and positive reviews from like-minded clients). Many online business directories provide quick and easy way to find a local advertising company.