I lured you here under false pretenses – there is no direct answer to “which type of advertising is most effective?” If there was, I could easily bail on the whole 9-5 gig and spend my days cruising down the Jersey Turnpike in a baller Audi.

The key to any marketing campaign isn’t throwing all of your attention and effort into a singular strategy. Mix and match different advertising mediums to optimize your response rate.

As we are increasingly becoming a multidimensional society, you cannot afford to treat each age demographic as its own individual advertising crusade. That being said, we have broken down some of the most popular forms of advertising to help you reach your peeps in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.

Social Media

With 56% of Americans having a profile with a social networking service, social media is undoubtedly a killer advertising platform to maximize brand recognition and spend as little money as possible. Social media is no longer solely the Millennials’ domain. Even Great Grandpa Lou can create a Facebook invite for the bridge tournament at his retirement home.

Although social media users stated that Facebook had the greatest influence on buying behavior out of any of the social networking sites, only 33% of Facebook users actually “followed” a brand name on Facebook. This is giving companies a lot of wiggle room to generate product interest and connect with potential leads.

Additionally, you’re getting bang for your buck – advertising costs break down to $.25 to reach 1,000 potential leads via Facebook Ads.

Print Media

Although a number of businesses have started to reallocate their advertising budgets entirely towards the world wide web, never count out print media as an advertising platform. Even though the question has been raised whether print advertising is still worth the pretty penny or not, it is still an extremely viable option.

For one, print media is tangible. The shelf life of online advertisements is short-lived at best while print advertisements have the potential to stick it out until Charles Barkley gets a halfway decent golf swing (debatably never).

Print ads also act as a security blanket of sorts. With a mind-boggling number of online ads lurking around every corner of cyberspace, it’s hard to determine whether you’re being offered an actual product or you’re one click away from introducing all sorts of malware to your operating system.

In effect, you generally avoid clicking on them altogether. I can’t guarantee there’s nothing gimmicky about a print ad, but I can promise it’s not at all spammy or a danger to your well-being.

Although the cost to reach 1,000 people via newspaper or magazine is expensive as all sin at $20-$30, prices are dropping due to the movement away from print media advertising. This is advantageous to both your product and your wallet because with less print ads in the mix, your ad can take center stage.

Up your game by mixing channels within a single advertisement with the addition of QR codes that will redirect users to your homepage or give them access to a special offer.


Internet advertising has been getting all of the hype, but television remains the top dog. Whether it be national or local broadcasting, television advertising has the potential to reach a larger number of people, as opposed to smaller audiences associated with local newspapers and radio stations.

A study performed in 2010 showed that Americans on average spend 4.5 hours per day watching television, while only spending 96 minutes listening to the radio and 30 minutes a day reading newspapers (where the hell are you people getting this kind of time).

Before you emit a resounding “huzzah” because you think you’ve found the almighty advertising medium, know you’re most likely about to blow your advertising budget into smithereens. On average, a 30-second commercial will run you on average over $300,000 on a national television network.

Although the prestige of having a commercial gives your product or service instant credibility, the process of getting this short clip up and running is terribly slow and time-consuming. In addition, you can choose channels that you think would best fit your demographic. But due to networks’ lack of feedback, you can’t guarantee that your targeted audiences are seeing your commercial.

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You can reach a more select audience with radio airtime than you can with television advertising. Radio stations schedule different musical programs and talk shows to target different interest groups, giving advertisers the opportunity to hone in on the demographic they’re trying to reach.

Radio doesn’t require the large scale production process that goes into creating a commercial. Make your commercial a DIY project, or spend a few extra dollars to get a creative development to record something snazzy for the airwaves. Compared to advertising via newspaper or television, radio advertising is a bargain hunter’s dream.

One of the main drawbacks of radio is that it often serves as background noise for whatever mundane activity you’re doing. Unless the listener is engaged in a particular newscast or jamming to Justin Timberlake’s newest hit single, your content may not be reaching your audience’s ears.

Direct Mail

Although digital media advertising has been basking in the limelight for quite some time, it’s impossible to hit all of your target audiences via cyberspace. In a heated battle between email and direct mail advertising strategies, Marketscan rung in that there are only registered e-mail addresses for 20 percent of postal addresses, which means 80 percent of the market is still at large.

Advertising via direct mail can be highly targeted and personalized. Businesses can purchase mailing lists and reach smaller market segments based on demographic analytics. For example, you’ll probably get a decent response rate from single women over 35 years in the New York City area with a brochure advertising premium cat litter.

Additionally, you can easily differentiate your direct mail from other generic offers by adding a potential customer’s name to the greeting. Colleges and universities are prime examples of using personalization in their direct mail advertisements to cater to the ethos of prospective students.

The success rate of direct mail is also very measurable – you receive a response or you don’t. By including a special offer with an expiration date for your product or service, you can easily keep tabs on the profitability of your direct mail advertising campaign.

As an added bonus, direct mail advertising is very affordable. Try a test campaign with a smaller number of advertisements to get a gauge on your response rate, and gradually increase the quantity of outbound advertisements.


Definitely include this medium in your arsenal because when it comes to time-efficiency and cost minimization, email advertising takes the cake. The beauty of advertising via email is that it’s easy to track the progress of your campaign. Unlike direct mail, you can directly check whether your email was received and/or opened as well as whether the recipient would like to unsubscribe to your emails or not.

Similar to direct mail, you can personalize your email advertisements with names and purchase history. You can also individualize your email marketing campaigns by segmenting your customer base into different demographics.

Although super cost-effective, email advertising has shoddy reliability. Most email users are bombarded by an onslaught of offers and advertisements on a daily basis, so you’re inevitably taking the chance that yours is either going to be part of a mass exodus into the recycling bin or is simply going to get lost in the shuffle.

Which type of advertising is most effective for your business?