One of the most common advertising themes I hear is that ads should be placed where it is cheaper to reach viewers. This misconception often lands small businesses in trouble because it often leads us to wasting limited resources on reaching the wrong people or at best the right people at the wrong time.
In my view, there are two main forms of advertising most businesses need to know:
1. Interruption Based Advertising
2. Interest Based Advertising
Interruption based advertising does what the title says. It interrupts people. Think of TV and Radio ads. It interrupts what you are watching, reading, or listening to with a message from an advertiser.
Interest based advertising targets people who are interested in your product or service and actively seeking it out. A good example of interest based advertising is Google Ads.
There are benefits to both forms of advertising.
Interruption Based Advertising Benefits:
- Good for building brand recognition
- Good for expanding your base of customers
- Is able to educate people about new products or services
- Is often cheaper to reach more potential customers
Interest Based Advertising Benefits:
- Targets people most likely to make a purchase
- Doesn’t waste money targeting people who are not going to buy
- Can be used to identify potential customers your product or service would help
The reason why interest based advertising is almost always more expensive than interruption based advertising is because you are narrowing your focus on people most likely to make a purchase. Don’t be fooled when businesses tell you, “We can reach ______ number of potential customers for __________ dollars.” That is not a good indicator of a successful advertising campaign.
One company went so far as to brag to me that they got over one million views from a YouTube video that showed a woman’s backside. I asked the follow up question, “How many paying customers did the video get?” They couldn’t tell me. Views for the sake of views isn’t an advertising strategy.
Your goal as a business owner shouldn’t be to get in front of as many people as possible. Most of the times, depending on industry and other factors, I recommend clients first target those people already interested in your product or service. Unless you have a lot of money, brand awareness can come later. You need some quick wins and some revenues coming into your business.
I have no doubts that interruption based advertising works, but most often, I have found that it takes a lot more money and a lengthy campaign whereas interest based advertising gets people later in the buying cycle who may have already decided to purchase. They just need to find the right company.