Vertical Versus Horizontal Advertising

Vertical Versus Horizontal Advertising

Advertising is advertising, right? Well, advertising is decidedly not "one size fits all." When you''re planning your advertising buy, you should look at what you want to accomplish with it. Is this a long-term branding campaign to raise awareness of your business in the marketplace? Or are you having a big event like a sale coming up and want to bring as many people as possible into your store in a short amount of time?

If your objective is more long-term in nature, then you''ll be utilizing a horizontal ad campaign. The goal of the horizontal campaign is to keep your name at the top of the consumer''s mind so when they''re ready to buy the particular good or service that you offer, they''ll think of you and not your competitor. See my earlier post on the "thin market concept" for more details on this.

A horizontal ad campaign is characterized by small ads in the newspaper run several times a week over a long period of time. There is typically not price points or sale items listed in the ad. Your logo, tagline or slogan, a brief description of your products or services, and contact information is all that is necessary. Think of it as a billboard in the newspaper. The benefit comes from long term frequency.

This can also be accomplished by running short commercials on the radio or TV. By buying the shortest time period available, some as low as 10 seconds, but concentrating on long term frequency, you''ll build that awareness over time.

One thing to remember with horizontal ad campaigns, you will not see immediate results. This is all about branding and building awareness in the marketplace for your company. The results you see will build over time.

Sales and other events call for vertical ad campaigns. Photo by Kevin Rosseel

If, however, you are holding a big sale or grand opening event, then a vertical ad campaign is what you want to utilize. Rather than spreading your advertising over six months or a year as in a horizontal ad campaign, your advertising will be condensed into a one or two week period. Here, you''re not focusing on the long term, but reaching as many people as often as possible during the campaign.

Typically newspapers have the largest penetration into the marketplace, so load up on large ads, in color if possible, to garner the most attention from potential consumers. In contrast to the minimal amount of information in the horizontal campaign ads, vertical campaign ads will emphasize price, or the event itself. Include features and benefits of your products (benefits answer the consumer''s question, "What''s in it for me?).

Vertical campaign commercials on TV or radio take full advantage of the longer time frames, like 30 seconds and 60 seconds, and utilize the same components of similar newspaper ads.

When trying to reach as many people as possible, consider a "media mix" of newspapers, electronic, and other media. More on a healthy media mix in a later post.

Good luck with your next advertising campaign, whether it''s horizontal or vertical.