A Crucial Difference: Advertising Vs Marketing

As anyone who has worked in the area will tell you, there are explicit differences between advertising and marketing, however, the lines often get blurred. Advertising is a kind of marketing; but that is not all there is to it.

Advertising comes under the umbrella term of marketing. Marketing is much broader and is the combination of all relevant elements in the area. 

Definitions also vary and there is no one fixed answer, however, marketing is more inclusive and comprehensive of different areas of business. Whereas advertising may refer specifically to campaigns. 

While the difference is not necessarily important in all circumstances it is still something that it should be aware of. Something that is more explicitly “advertising” may be more likely to be ignored or suppressed by your audience, as opposed to something that comes across as more natural. Often this has to do with branding.   

When scrolling through your social media feeds, chances are, you have seen posts labeled with #ad, or #sponsored. This is a kind of advertising, that falls under the broader marketing strategy. These things are very obviously labeled as advertising, and therefore consumers view them differently from other posts in their feeds. That is, they know that it is clearly trying to sell them on the product. Which, of course, is an important part of marketing, but it should not be the only kinds

Although many influencers have been able to build brands and lifestyles from advertising products, their power truly comes from their brand. Posting sponsored post after sponsored post would be nothing if they had not built up an audience and brand.

Psychology of social media

As many people know a big part of marketing is understanding the psychological patterns of consumers and determining what makes them act. To complement this, social media was designed with the intent of making us spend as much time as possible on the platform. Social media is something that is addictive to many people, and many of us love refreshing our pages to see what new content is there waiting for us. This means that your content needs to be of high quality in order to light up a consumer’s eyes (and screens!), cause them to double-tap and engage meaningfully with your content    

In essence, the good social marketing strategy will understand consumers psychologically and compare this with the psychological underpinnings of each social media platform in order to create a powerful marketing strategy that uses consumers’ patterns and thoughts to get them to act.      


Organic reach and algorithms can challenge brands and businesses. The algorithms are ever-changing and sometimes seem to preference or block posts for no real reason. Often, you are at the mercy of the algorithms. A way to beat this is having good engagement. Different kinds of engagement and interactions will post rank differently. For example, saving or sharing is better than liking.    To combat this, try and include competitions or posts that require a direct call to action that people are likely to send the post on.  

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Optimizing your content for search engines is another fantastic way to assist with your audience and reaching new people. It will rank your post higher compared to others. A fun example is whenever you look up the phrase “social media marketing” regardless of the other search words afterward you will likely still get results from the same few websites this is because they have excellent SEO. 

Paid content

You may have to add paid posts to your marketing strategy. While these are obviously marketing, there are benefits to doing so. It will place your business in front of new future customers and provide new opportunities for your brand. Checking the analytics, and return on your investment is essential to tracking how productive your paid content is.

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