Advertising is any form of communication a company uses to increase sales or promote its brand. Individuals and organizations may also use advertising to publicize events, recruit workers, or to communicate ideas and images.
Advertising existed in the ancient world, and has been a mainstay of American life since the 1800s.Advertising can appear in almost any medium, from taxis to skywriting. People have even tried to place advertising in space. In fact, any time a sponsor pays for their message to appear is advertising. Some types of advertising include:
- Product placement (on both television and in film)
- Press (classifieds, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.)
- Digital signage
- Social media
- Celebrity endorsements
- User-generated (crowd-sourcing)
Global spending on advertising in measurable media was estimated at $490 billion in 2011, with a forecast of $522 billion in 2012, according to the media investment management firm GroupM. Food marketers are among the largest groups of advertisers, followed by makers of cosmetics and drugs, cars, tobacco, and appliances.
Advertising agencies, who work on a commission base, create most of today’s advertising, although larger organizations may have in-house advertising departments. The concentration of advertising agencies on New York’s Madison Avenue is the reason the street name has come to represent the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 there were 30,710 promotions and advertising managers working in the United States, as well as 160,400 advertising sales agents.
Online media is an increasingly important part of the advertising world. In 2012 the internet was set to overtake newspapers as the second-largest ad medium in the US (after television), according to ZenithOptimedia. According to Advertising Age, digital firms now account for one in seven media jobs in the US, and digital work amounts for around a third of revenue at several major advertising agencies. In 2011, the total for US online ad spending was $35.4 billion, according to GroupM. The online ad world has seen a stream of new products, from banner ads to “pop-unders,” in an attempt to maintain the consumer’s awareness. Niche or targeted advertising – employing usage tracking or content-on-demand to focus more narrowly – is another area of rising interest.
Oversees markets have also become important locations for advertisers, particularly in the cluster of countries known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). Agencies are increasingly interested in research that tracks awareness of and engagement with ads (using models such as the “flow of attention” and “flow of emotion”), in part to better export the most successful components.
In fact, deregulation, technological change, and market segmentation have driven advertisers to become increasingly interested in measurement data in general. This measurement may come in both quantitative and qualitative forms, and rely on academic models, opinion polling, technological tracking, or other techniques.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following employment information about advertising and promotions managers:
- Pay: mean hourly wage $49.69, and mean annual salary $103,350
- Education: 54% have a bachelor’s degree, 22% an associate’s degree, and 14% have some college but no degree
- Projected growth (2010-2020): 10% to 19% (average)