17 Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of Advertising

Advertising is the profession or activity of producing consumer marketing messages for commercial products or services. Although there are times when companies can advertise for free, this tactic typically involves paying another agency for space to promote something specific. The goal of this investment is to reach as many people as possible who are likely to pay for the items suggested in the ads.

When businesses start advertising, then it is essential for each firm to find their ideal customer. It is cheaper to create ads that work with a specific population group instead of working with generalized data. Companies can look at gender, age, education, income, and a person’s geographic location to determine if there is a strong likelihood that someone will become a customer.

Advertising can occur in a variety of ways. Outlets include television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. Some companies use billboards, the sides of buildings, or product packaging. Internet options continue to expand.

That’s why the advantages and disadvantages of advertising require a careful review. It could be a way to expand the influence of a brand, but this investment could also be a waste of money if not approached correctly.

List of the Advantages of Advertising

1. Advertising is what sets companies apart from each other.
Advertising is the fastest way for an organization to prove the expertise it offers in its industry. This marketing approach allows a company to look at the specific pain points its goods or services address so that customers can independently decide if there is value available to consider. The free-market system allows consumers to make choices based on their needs for innovation, so the advantage here is that improved communication occurs from the business to the consumer.

2. Companies can reach multiple markets and population groups simultaneously.
Advertising is one of the most straightforward ways to contact multiple demographics simultaneously. This investment helps a company to discover who their primary consumers are in better ways, along with the demographics to which they belong. Marketing through paid and unpaid platforms contributes to data that enables prospect duplication.

Advertising also allows a company to reach out to multiple new markets to judge how influential their marketing messages can be in the future.

3. Businesses can concentrate their advertising on a single population group.
Advertising enables a company to target one population group specifically. We see this benefit daily through direct mail efforts, email marketing blasts, and television commercials. When you can time these messages to correspond with times or circumstances where a consumer feels a pain point, then a successful conversion is more likely to happen. It forms a natural networking opportunity that helps prospects engage with a brand message because they can acknowledge the created value proposition.

4. Advertising creates economic benefits at every level.
The advertising economy in the United States is responsible for almost 20 million jobs. It is available in every market at each level, from ultra-local to international campaigns. This industry provides opportunities for almost every skill, ranging from sales-based approaches to creative careers like graphic design or writing. When successful outreach efforts occur, then businesses increase revenues. That creates even more jobs that support other companies at every level.

This cycle repeats itself every time a new advertising campaign occurs. Although there are no guarantees for success, a company must make itself known to its community for customers to become aware of its goods or services. That means there’s always a place for it.

5. The advertising industry creates a global culture.
Every global event that involves participation, goods, or services requires advertising content to increase exposure. The budget for the Olympic Games in each cycle is several billion dollars. Companies use sponsorships, naming rights, and other strategies to increase brand awareness in a variety of ways. It gives us an opportunity to work together to support the common good at every level.

Even a group of businesses that support a youth soccer league get to take advantage of this benefit. Although the benefits are more localized with that support, it’s still creating a global culture within that community.

6. It gives an opportunity to create niche expertise presentations.
The prevalence of PDF downloads, ebooks, whitepapers, and similar written content is a form of advertising that businesses use to prove their expertise. Advertising is moving toward a place where the value to the consumer is the priority instead of what the customer can do for the business. This benefit works for B2B and B2C firms because it shows people what can be done for them instead of telling them what can happen.

That’s why this form of advertising is so effective. It builds loyalty by focusing on relationships instead of relying on logo recognition or a tagline to stay at the top of the mind of possible consumers.

7. Advertising helps a customer make positive choices.
Each customer has a different preference for specific products or services based on the pain points they encounter in life. Some choices are going to be more appealing than others, which is why businesses promote what they offer proactively. If someone can compare value propositions in real-time situations to determine what options provide the best value, then that ability increases the likelihood of a transaction taking place.

Businesses can provide specific or broad data about their goods or services to each demographic in unique ways to encourage this advantage. It is a benefit that can lead to tremendous growth opportunities when handled appropriate.

8. It is a straightforward way to support moral or social issues.
Companies can support the public good by producing advertising campaigns that can bring more awareness to specific societal issues. Homelessness, cyberbullying, and similar concerns receive exposure in ways that wouldn’t be available to consumers without this marketing effort. Even though there are production costs to consider with this advantage, the value that occurs through increased revenues and economic activities from helping others more than makes up for the initial investment.

List of the Disadvantages of Advertising

1. Everyone is advertising.
The average person gets exposed to over 2,000 brand messages every day because of advertising. That makes this marketing effort less effective unless there is a way for a company to rise above all of that noise. This disadvantage is the reason why you see businesses like Geico take unique approaches to this investment, using a mix of humor and character development to create something memorable.

Most people spend less than five seconds to determine if an advertisement is worth their attention. If that content fails, then the remainder of the ad gets forgotten.

2. Advertising cannot produce guaranteed results.
Businesses take a gamble when they pay for advertising. This marketing effort doesn’t come with a guarantee. The companies that purchased TV spots during the 2020 Super Bowl were paying over $5 million for a segment. That’s a massive investment in something that may not produce additional revenues.

Although there is value in brand recognition, that outcome only translates to investment when it creates an eventual conversion. Having someone know that Flo represents Progressive isn’t beneficial if that person always uses public transportation. That’s why most small businesses focused on targeted, localized ads as a way to create results.

3. The cost of advertising can be a disadvantage to small businesses.
The cost of TV advertising at local television stations is at least $5 for every 1,000 viewers during a 30-second commercial. Then you have the cost of creative development when taking this marketing approach to consider. By the time the first spot hits the air, a company has likely spent at least $10,000 to create the materials and purchase the airtime.

National spots are much more expensive. Businesses that purchase a 30-second television ad on a national broadcast spent an average of $115,000 per slot in 2019.

4. Potential customers may be on multiple platforms.
If brand recognition is the goal of an advertising effort, then a business may need to invest in multiple platforms to gain the levels of familiarity they require. You can advertise in printed publications, online blogs, television, radio, Internet ad services, and all of the other traditional methods. A company might find over 100 different ways to reach their customers. When an advertising budget is financially limited, then finding out where most people are consistently becomes a top priority.

5. Advertising requires interesting materials to be useful.
The best advertising efforts create memorable experiences for targeted consumers. If you’re a science-fiction fan, then you probably remember all of the exposure Taco Bell paid for itself in the movie Demolition Man. If you’re a fan of older superhero movies, then you may remember the giant Coca-Cola billboard blowing up in Superman. If a business can’t create such an experience, then the entire message gets forgotten.

This disadvantage means that every business must continuously invest in innovative marketing approaches to stay relevant. It’s also the reason why you see brands trying to copy the success that others find in this arena.

6. The “Fake News” movement tarnishes the reputation of advertisers.
Politics in the United States has become a fractured, cantankerous space where anyone who doesn’t agree becomes an enemy. If a business advertises through a traditional media outlet that promotes a political agenda or news stories that someone finds to be disagreeable, then that company’s brand becomes directly tied to that experience. Although the people who agree will be more likely to purchase goods or services, those who don’t will boycott the agency indefinitely.

7. Advertising increases the risk of a brand message getting tarnished.
Advertising can be memorable for all of the wrong reasons sometimes, leaving viewers to wonder what a business was thinking when putting a spot together. Qiaobi often receives credit for putting together one of the most racist commercials in history by having a Chinese woman forcing a black man into her washing machine after he whistles at her. Once the washing cycle is finished, a winking Asian man emerges.

Miracle Mattress put together a local advertising spot that mocked the events of 9/11, including having two stacks of mattresses fall on workers. Burger King unleashed a regional spot for their Texican Whopper that had the tagline of “The taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican” – and the add featured a tall American cowboy and a short Mexican wrestler.

8. Most people consider advertising to be a nuisance.
Extravagant advertising may have a positive effect on the economy. Still, it tends to harm consumers when the same promotions happen repetitively. This disadvantage occurs in the United States every two years during the election cycles when political ads take over the television and radio. It can also happen when spots frequently occur within the same broadcast or publication.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising may get spent on a single election, exposing populations to competing messages that get monotonous and bothersome when they air several times per hour.

9. The targeted consumers may not see the marketing message from an advertising effort.
New technologies make it easier than ever before for consumers to proactively opt-out of viewing advertisements. Popup blockers for Internet browsers can eliminate almost every ad that might display when users are online. Families can fast-forward through ads on broadcast networks when they record shows to watch. Some providers even offer tech that eliminates this marketing effort automatically.

Even if someone is watching live TV, an advertisement break creates an opportunity to walk away from the television. Companies can pay millions without ever knowing if their intended audience is available to watch what they’ve put together.


Advertising messages are an effort to persuade people to purchase specific goods or services. This outcome is also the goal of B2B transactions. A person must become convinced that one item is better over another. That’s why each ad offers a headline, subheading, body copy, image, and a call-to-action. It’s like a 30-second speech that shows how much value something has to a potential client.

Advertising isn’t the only way to get a message seen or heard. It can be more expensive to utilize than other marketing opportunities. That’s why it tends to be more popular with large corporations than sole proprietors and other small businesses.

The advantages and disadvantages of advertising balance cost with the opportunity to increase revenues and consumer awareness. Although there are no guarantees for success, this marketing option can produce immediate and memorable results.

Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.