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Hello, Summerville! Happy July! If this is your first time visiting our blog, here you’ll find the most up-to-date information about marketing your business. From building an outstanding webpage to graphic design to managing your social media to optimizing SEO to building a cohesive brand identity—Creative Consulting is a one-stop shop for taking your business to the next level.
Today, we’re going to break down the difference between two types of advertisements: Exposure vs. Lead Generation. There are dozens of different marketing terms and strategies you’re probably eager to learn (and we’ll be delving into CPC, CTR, PPC, CRMs, and every other acronym you can think of in later posts), but before you can become an expert you’ll need to understand the basics.
What Are Exposure Ads?
Like the name suggests, exposure ads are advertisements which have been placed in an exposed environment. With these, the advertisers’ objective is to place their ads in strategic locations to ensure as many eyes as possible see the ad. They can be innocuous (think: paper mail catalogues) or ostentatious (think: billboards). They can be stagnant (think: television commercials) or interactive (think: mall kiosks). And, while these ads can target a specific audience, they can also reach a broad range of audiences, as their viewing really is a matter of potential customers being in the right place at the right time.
Company ABC is a fashion brand. They’re hoping to market their clothing to consumers between the ages of 18-25. They decide to employ the use of exposure advertising by purchasing paid ads on TikTok (which will appear once when the user opens the app), by purchasing paid ads on Facebook (which will appear on the side of the screen while the user is scrolling), and by purchasing a billboard in Time Square (which will occupy the space for two weeks).
In this scenario, Company ABC is expecting the money they spend on exposure to directly translate into a higher volume of consumers visiting their website and purchasing their clothing. This conversion is not guaranteed, however the assumption is that the more people are reminded of the brand, the more likely they are to purchase the brand’s products.
What Are Lead Generation Ads?
Lead generation ads are also quite self-explanatory. These types of ads collect data about the consumers who click on them and—if done correctly—transform those consumers into customers. Consumers might be asked for their name, email address, or other contact information. Think of these ads like an investigative journalist. A journalist must follow a lead—which is a small piece of information which points to something larger—in order to uncover the underlying story. These ads are, literally, generating leads which a company can then use to enlarge their customer base.
Company XYZ is also a fashion brand. They’re hoping to market their clothing to consumers who are socially and environmentally conscious, regardless of their age. They don’t have much money to spend on advertising widely. Therefore, they decide to employ the use of lead generation ads on Facebook and Instagram Stories (which will ask for consumers' main environmental concerns, what they look for in a clothing brand, and their email address).
In this scenario, Company XYZ is expecting the information they receive from consumers to directly translate into a better understanding of their consumer base, a personal connection from consumers to their brand ethos, and that the newsletters they send out to the consumers’ emails will generate traffic to their online site.
Pros of Exposure
Exposure advertising is advertising in the traditional sense. In this case, the phrase “out of sight out of mind” truly does apply. Exposure ads perform the much needed work of increasing brand awareness. Without brand awareness, consumers won’t think of your company when they have a need.
In most cases, consumers have a need and an advertisement conveniently pops up in one of their social media feeds. A short click and the need is met. There’s a feeling of gratification on the customers’ end because the brand happened to be there when they were in need and saved them the trouble of having to search for what they needed. In this scenario, both the advertiser and the consumer were in the right place at the right time.
Another positive aspect of exposure ads is the ability to isolate demographics while also maintaining the possibility for diversity. For example, a company might be seeking consumers over the age of thirty-five, who have advanced degrees and disposable income. If this is the case, they might choose to advertise on LinkedIn or run a commercial on a home improvement channel. The placement of these ads can narrow the target audience while also allowing for unexpected consumers (i.e. those under thirty-five without advanced degrees but with disposable income).
Cons of Exposure
Exposure advertisements are what most of us recognize as advertising. They are the kind we’re used to seeing (and ignoring). As of 2021, the average person is exposed to between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day. And this number is only expected to increase. Over-exposure is a term for a reason—it’s when media coverage becomes excessive, to the point people lose interest. Counter-intuitive, isn’t it?
Exposure ads should be well-placed and relevant to the consumer. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating potential clients.
Pros of Lead Generation
Lead generation ads are interactive. They require the consumer to engage with the advert, which weeds out consumers who aren’t genuinely interested in your company’s service or product. With lead generation ads, a company can amass a sizable amount of data on their consumer base, which gives them insight into what their customers might expect from them in the future. They can also compile an audience for an email newsletter, which will keep consumers informed about new promotions and products.
Since these are form ads (and the results can be submitted without the consumer leaving the site on which they saw the ad), they can be run even when the company doesn’t have a website up and running yet. This makes lead generation ads a stellar option for companies looking to advertise on a budget.
These types of ads are most popular on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and (as of April 2021) TikTok!
Cons of Lead Generation
Sometimes a pro is a con and a con is a pro. A double-edged sword, of sorts?
Lead generation ads, as previously mentioned, are great for weeding out consumers who aren’t genuinely interested. Unfortunately—they leave a ton of “so-so” consumers by the wayside as well. There are plenty of consumers who just aren’t willing to spend thirty seconds to a minute filling out their information. These consumers (especially if the company is operating without a website) can easily turn into lost customers.
Which Type of Ad is Right for Your Business?
As with any aspect of your business, before you can answer this question you’ll need to take stock of your priorities and your capabilities. What are your priorities? Do you want your products and services in front of as many people as possible? Or, do you want to build a database of consumers who are interested in your products and services? What are your capabilities? Do you have a large marketing budget to spend on diversifying your exposure and reaching untapped markets? Or, do you have a conservative marketing budget which must turn each and every ad interaction into monetary gains for your company?
Once you have an idea of what’s important to you and what you’re able to sustain financially, you’ll have a better idea of which type of ad is the best for your business.
Don’t be daunted! You don’t have to choose either exposure or lead generation advertisements. In fact, most successful companies operate with a mixture of both. As you make attempts and gather useful data, you’ll gain deeper insight into what works for your specific brand.
We’ve only scratched the surface with these two types of ads. There are countless other types, which we’ll explore together in the future. Until then, we hope you’ve found this helpful. For more marketing and branding expertise, be sure to return to the Creative Consulting blog, where we dive deep into the best marketing practices. Or, give us a call and set up an appointment. We are always more than happy to help you determine which marketing strategies will work best for your business or brand. Until next time, thank you for reading!