Whatever you are selling, the fact is, you need to advertise it.
Whether you are a small business, a prestigious brand, or a mainstream celebrity, people need to hear about what you have to offer. You can never rely on a good name or an aesthetically pleasing social media feed alone.
Just take a few moments and try to think of any brand or celebrity that sold a ton of their products AND turned a profit WITHOUT advertising them in any way, shape, or form.
Can’t think of one? You’re not alone.
Because you need to create product ads. It’s what makes the difference between your business doing okay-ish and exceeding expectations.
In this guide, we will dive deeper into the world of product marketing. We will go over its key benefits and types using some product advertising examples. By the end, you will have a clear idea of what sort of product advertising options are out there and which ones suit your business best.
1. What is product advertising?
2. Product advertising benefits
3. Product advertising types
4. What type of product advertising should you use?
5. Product advertisements in the online business
6. Examples of product advertisements
1. What Is Product Advertising?
Product advertising is the collection of all the means through which you advertise your product. These include traditional means like television, radio, and print as well as online methods such as display advertising, social media, video, and email.
2. Product Advertising Benefits
2.1. Introduces/promotes your product to the market
Whether you’re an established brand or a small business coming out with your first product, people need to know what you’re bringing to the table. You want to convince them that through your product, your brand is the real deal.
Product advertising allows you to step onto the stage confidently and tell everyone: “Hey guys, I have this really cool thing for you.”
2.2. Informs customers about its benefits
Your product may have an endless list of benefits, but few people have the time or patience to sit down and read the list. Product advertising delivers the best pieces of information in quick, bite-sized chunks—enough to grab your customer’s attention without boring them.
2.3. Distinguishes you from your competitors
Does your product have better ingredients or higher quality components than your competitor’s? A cleaner design? A better price?
Product marketing helps you make that clear.
Keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to name your competitors in your advertisements for several reasons:
- To keep customers’ focus on your product alone;
- To avoid lawsuits and other uncomfortable situations with other brands;
- To show confidence in your product.
A good product advertisement will communicate everything that makes your product unique without having to name another.
2.4. Targets specific customers
Product advertising is your chance to reach out to not just any audience, but your target audience.
Since product advertisements generally need to be quick and direct, you need to address your audience’s main pain points straight away. You need to laser-focus on what their needs are and how you can help them.
To make sure you are able to connect with your audience, it’s important to create a clear buyer persona in your marketing plan before you start thinking about advertisements. Having a clear picture of who you want to talk to will allow you to communicate with them much more easily.
2.5. Establishes a better connection between your customers and the company
Good communication leads to a good relationship.
Product advertising is one of the many digital tools you can use to establish direct contact between you and your target audience.
2.6. Reinforces brand image
“Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s __.”
If your mind automatically filled in the blank without me having to drop any hints about the brand name, then it means Maybelline did a good job at reinforcing its brand image in the advertisements.
And you can do that too.
Even something as simple as including your slogan or using your brand colors can help make people remember your brand.
2.7. Reduces misconceptions
We’ve established previously that a good product advertisement allows you to effectively and directly communicate with your target audience.
The cool thing about this communication is that it not only addresses your customer’s needs but it also reduces other people’s misconceptions about your product.
3. Product Advertising Types
There are four main categories of product advertising types: television & radio, print, out-of-home, and online.
Each category has its own benefits as well as setbacks. It’s important to choose the ones that work best for your product, your brand, and the audience you’re trying to reach.
Although it’s important to advertise as much as possible, it’s not always necessary to take advantage of all of them.
Let’s look at each of the four types one by one.
3.1. Television & radio
Television & radio advertising is one of the most traditional forms of product advertising.
It mainly refers to:
- Audio ads (radio ads)
What’s fascinating about TV & radio (as well as print) is the fact that despite being very old forms, they laid the foundation of advertising.
As radios became more and more accessible to the public in the 1920s, the WEAF (West of England Aerospace Forum) understood that it was becoming easier and easier to communicate with the public. They quickly realized that where there’s communication, there’s an opportunity to sell.
They began offering businesses a chance to appear on their radio stations in exchange for a fee and the rest is history.
About two decades later, when television was finally introduced, TV stations adopted this same model, and in 1941, NBC aired the first-ever TV commercial.
It was a ten-second commercial for Bulova, an American watch manufacturer. It had an image of a Bulova watch superimposed on the USA map, during which a voiceover said: “America runs on Bulova time.”
This Bulova commercial tells you everything you need to know quickly with the help of visuals (an image of the product aka the watch) and audio cues (a catchy one-sentence slogan that contains the brand name and is accompanied by the sound of a ticking clock.)
You might be thinking this all sounds very nice but television & radio is kind of dead now, so what’s the point in advertising there?
While it’s true that the online space has surpassed television & radio in recent years, the latter isn’t quite “dead.”
The truth is watching TV and listening to the radio are still part of many people’s routines. They are still convenient activities that bring us some comfort, even if it’s just for a few minutes while we eat our lunch.
And for this reason, if you find that radio and television ads would fit your product marketing strategy, it’s definitely worth going for them.
Print is also a very traditional form of advertising, and just like television and radio, it’s still widely used today.
In general, when we think of print advertising, we mainly think of:
- Newspaper/magazine ads
Print advertising is the oldest out of the bunch. As soon as the printer was introduced, people already found ways to use this revolutionary technology to sell.
Over here in the West, the credit for the first printed advertisement in the English language goes to William Caxton. A talented writer and a savvy merchant, Caxton introduced the printed press in England by printing various books around 1476, some of which were written by him.
It didn’t take long for Caxton to realize that people needed to hear about the books he was selling. So he printed an advertisement for his edition of the Sarum Ordinal and displayed it in front of his shop in Westminster Abbey.
Nowadays print advertisements are much more colorful, witty, and expensive—if it wasn’t for Caxton, we probably wouldn’t have gotten KFC’s iconic ‘FCK’ ad in every newspaper.
3.3. Out-of-home advertising
Also called “outdoor” or “on-the-go”, out-of-home advertising refers to all the advertisements that we see outside of our homes.
These can be:
- Static billboards
- Interactive digital billboards
- Bus ads
- Guerilla advertising
Posters and flyers can also fit into this category.
Out-of-home advertising is probably the most creative type because it allows you to literally go outside of the box.
Since there are so many sub-types in out-of-home advertising, it’s difficult to trace down the very first one.
But there is one place where many out-of-home advertisements would love to be displayed in: New York City’s Times Square.
Times Square Alliance reports that on average, around 360,000 pedestrians enter this iconic area of the city every day. On busier days, the number goes as high as 450,000.
Admittedly, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic affected these numbers. In December 2020, a little over 100,000 made their way through Times Square.
However, judging by the data shown from 2021, it’s safe to assume that the numbers are slowly, but surely rising back up again. And if you have the opportunity (and the budget) to advertise in the heart of NYC, you shouldn’t pass the opportunity.
The big bang of the online universe in the 1990s introduced numerous new ways in which we could entertain, learn, and of course, advertise.
It all started in 1994 when AT&T purchased ad space on HotWired (now known as Wired.com), a popular online magazine at the time. The banner reads “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.” in multicolored letters against a black background, with a white arrow leading your eyes from the first sentence to the second one.
Looking at it today, it defies almost every single graphic design rule you could think of.
And yet, we wouldn’t be here without it.
Just like in the case of the Bulova commercial, this ad set the stage for the display ads of today.
Over time, online advertising has become more sophisticated, more targeted, and definitely more creative. Digital marketing is now the magic key to finding your audience and selling to people you are confident will buy from you.
Online advertising specifically refers to:
- Display ads
- Social media ads
- Video ads
- Email ads
We will get into more details about each of them in the fifth chapter of this guide.
Although you want to advertise as much as possible, it’s also important not to spread yourself too thin.
It’s not necessary to advertise through all the means that we enumerated above.
Before you determine how you should advertise your product, you first need to look at your niche and ask yourself two questions:
- Where is my target audience located?
- Which type of advertisement makes the most sense for my product?
Have you ever heard an ad for Spotify Premium on radio stations?
Chances are you haven’t and there’s a good reason for that.
When it comes to advertising Spotify Premium, the company is not trying to target radio listeners, they’re targeting Spotify users who already have the free version of their app.
Someone who is already using the free, ad-heavy version of your app might be tempted to switch over to the paid, ad-free version.
But someone who prefers listening to the radio might not be that easy to convince. You first have to convince them to ditch the radio altogether, then find your app, then download it, and then sign up, and after they sign up, they need to enter their credit card information.
These are a lot of steps to take for someone who has never used Spotify before.
This is why if Spotify wanted to target radio listeners, they would need to create ads for the free version of their app first.
5. Product Advertisements in the Online Business
Display ads are the square, rectangle, or banner ads you can find on various websites such as news sites and blogs that are part of Google’s Display Network. When you click on them, you’re redirected to the advertiser’s website.
5.2. Social media
Social media ads are the ads that you see on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Social media ads can be static, animated, or video.
Video ads are non-static ads that you can find across various websites, mainly streaming sites. They usually come before, during, or after the video that you are watching. They can also show up on your social media feed.
Email ads are the promotional emails that you find in your inbox. They can be two types: newsletters that you signed up for or sponsored email ads that were selected for you by the email service you are using.
6. Examples of Product Advertisements
6.2. Social media
Sponsored email ads:
There is no product without its advertising. If your brand releases something that will change the world, people need to hear about it first.
Although the product advertising landscape has changed and will continue to change, it’s clear that it will always be an essential tool to sell well.
What type of product advertising will you be using?