What is an ad campaign

Ad campaigns are coordinated efforts to create and launch advertising in support of a new product or new product offer. Campaigns use any combination of television, radio, online or print advertising.

How ad campaigns work

  1. Set the strategy

    A company produces a new product, a new service, or offer. It needs to inform the target audience about it. As the marketing strategy is conceived, the company decides -- based on audience feedback and other data points -- that a paid advertising campaign needs to be part of the strategy.

  2. Produce the ads

    An ad campaign needs ads. Depending on the platform, which could include radio, television, online ads, including social media, or print ads (or all of the above), a company hires an advertising firm to produce the creative for the ads. The firm presents the creative ideas to the company for approval.

  3. The ad buys

    A company most often uses an ad buyer who will do the research to determine which news and media outlets are best to reach the target audience. The ad buyer will negotiate rates on the company's behalf and coordinate delivery of the creative to the outlets.

Why ad campaigns matter

  1. Earned media is hard

    Ad campaigns are more effective than earned media because they ensure placement in selected news outlets and that companies get across the exact message they want. Earned media is much more hit or miss and the messages sent can be less clear.

  2. Online targeting

    With the evolution of the Internet and social media, ad campaigns can be much more targeted and can connect with audiences that are much more likely to buy a company's products. For instance, on Facebook, a company can purchase advertising based on any user’s preferences or favorites.

  3. They can go viral

    Even though advertising is paid media, by making their ads shareable -- especially videos -- companies can enlist the public to broaden the audience for their ad campaigns. The best ads motivate the audience to want to share ad content with friends.