September 21, 2023

Advertising and marketing channels are instruments and platforms that manufacturers use to speak with their viewers.

If we squeezed the thought of selling channels right into a single image, it’ll look one thing like this:

How marketing channels work

Companies use completely different means (content material, messages, adverts) to succeed in their viewers in locations the place they hang around (e.g., social media, Google Search) or attain them instantly (e.g., textual content messages, emails). They might use a collection of channels or all out there channels. 

On this submit, you’re going to get an outline of probably the most generally used channels in the present day: what they’re about, how they’re used, and what they’re greatest at. 

Natural search refers back to the non-paid search outcomes from a search engine. 

Two types of search results

Natural search is without doubt one of the pillars of your complete web. In all, 68% of on-line experiences start with a search engine (BrightEdge).

The follow of optimizing webpages to extend site visitors and visibility on this channel is known as SEO (search engine marketing).


At Ahrefs, we create weblog posts about subjects related to our product. On the identical time, we attempt to goal subjects that supply search site visitors potential and are inside {our capability} to rank. 

Sample keywords we target with our content
We use Key phrases Explorer to seek out good subjects for our weblog. The search engine marketing metrics present us how a lot site visitors we’re doubtlessly (TP) and the way arduous it may be to rank (KD).

This manner, when individuals Google issues associated to search engine marketing and advertising, we are able to naturally function our product. 

Example of high-ranking SEO content

Every bit of content material that finally ends up rating provides as much as your total natural site visitors. So the extra high-ranking content material you will have, the extra potential prospects go to your web site. Plus, evergreen subjects can generate site visitors for years after publication. 

Chart showing traffic years after publication

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of organic search

Be taught extra: Easy methods to Create an search engine marketing Content material Technique (Comply with the Ahrefs’ Framework)

Social media platforms are used to have interaction model followers and different customers by way of natural attain or by paying to succeed in an outlined viewers. 

Social media is not only Fb, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Messaging-only apps like Discord, Slack, and WhatsApp additionally fall into the identical channel class. 

Do social media customers “eat” content material from manufacturers? Fairly surprisingly, 90% of individuals on Instagram observe a enterprise (Instagram). 


Social media is advanced. It’s a mixture of product advertising, PR, and buyer help. Attempting to summarize it’s like making an attempt to summarize all conversations within the world. 

Every model on social media tends to develop its personal voice whereas publishing a balanced mixture of product advertising, conversations, leisure, and firm information. 

And so whereas some manufacturers can be tremendous critical and “business-oriented,” others will attempt to win hearts with candor and authenticity. 

Social media profile description

Moreover, that is an efficient use of social media:

Promoting merchandise additionally works: 

Demonstrating worth is one thing followers need to see from their favourite manufacturers: 

Final however not least, probably the greatest methods to make use of social media for companies… user-generated content material: 

Example of user-generated content on social media
Customers’ photographs made with GoPro revealed on the corporate’s Pinterest profile.

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of social media

Be taught extra: Ahrefs’ Twitter Advertising and marketing Technique: Right here’s How We Do It 

This advertising channel means that you can distribute your content material and adverts in a video format.

Does video advertising work? These stats appear to talk for themselves:

  • 70% of viewers purchased from a model after seeing it on YouTube (Google).
  • 96% of individuals have watched an explainer video to be taught extra a few services or products (Wyzowl).

Principally, video advertising is about two issues:

  • Utilizing video as an alternative of textual content and pictures to have interaction with the viewers – Video could make such a distinction in comparison with different media that specializing in this type of content material has develop into a definite kind of selling. 
  • Profiting from video-first platforms like YouTube and TikTok – These platforms have such an enormous viewers that it is sensible for a lot of manufacturers to create movies simply to be there. 


The beauty of video is that platforms like YouTube have their very own distribution mechanisms, which might carry your content material to hundreds of individuals at no cost (after all, you possibly can enhance that with some price range too). 

We use this channel regularly, and we’ve even made a video on the best way to rank movies #1: 

Furthermore, you possibly can repurpose movies and create “packages”—like a full-blown Academy. It additionally works the opposite means round: begin with a course and share it or elements of it on YouTube. 

YouTube videos repurposed for an entire course

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of video marketing

Be taught extra: The Easy (However Full) Information to Video Advertising and marketing 

Promoting is about paying media retailers which have entry to your viewers to show your message close to or as an alternative of standard content material. 

Digital promoting is identical thought transplanted to the web (aka paid site visitors or paid media). 

Promoting isn’t lifeless. Though content material advertising appears to be the proper various, most B2B and B2C entrepreneurs use paid content material distribution (67% and 78%, respectively). 


Why pay for adverts when there are free site visitors channels like search and social media? Particularly when adverts have such a nasty fame? 

It’s all concerning the artistic you utilize and the focusing on.

Some adverts might be merely irresistible as a result of they dominate the area, equivalent to this “Stranger Issues” Advert:

"Stranger Things" ad on building
Supply: Netflix.

Some are genuinely entertaining, such because the Super Bowl half-time commercials

Some adverts are simply so well-targeted that it makes you ponder whether they’re nonetheless authorized. 

And in contrast to free site visitors channels, you possibly can merely outspend the competitors as an alternative of constructing authority, backlinks, or a following. 

Execs and cons 

Pros and cons of advertising

E mail advertising allows you to attain your prospects’ mailboxes with messages that both immediate direct motion or are geared toward making a long-term relationship with the model.

You may get a “direct line” to your viewers both by constructing an e-mail listing (e.g., with a e-newsletter) or sponsoring another person’s e-newsletter (a mixture of promoting and e-mail advertising). 

Be ready for what success appears like on this channel, although: The best common trade click on price is 5.01% (hobbies), and the typical for all industries is 2.62% (Mailchimp).


Some manufacturers use this channel solely to “seal the deal.” They spend a lot on model consciousness and product advertising elsewhere that every one they want is a nudge despatched on to an inbox (my inbox, on this instance).

Email marketing from Vans
All of us have our favourite manufacturers. They only have to e-mail us now and again to promote us stuff. No want to evangelise to the transformed.

Different manufacturers will want extra contact factors and do extra soft-selling beforehand. 

Hustle introduces HubSpot in an email

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of email marketing

Be taught extra: 8 Straightforward (However Efficient) Methods to Develop Your E mail Record

Sponsorship as a advertising channel is about attracting prospects to what you are promoting by way of publicity to your model in a sponsored materials or occasion.

It’s sometimes used for 2 sorts of objectives: model consciousness and model picture (i.e., gaining prospects’ belief). 

Sponsorship is all about visibility. But it surely works greatest if the trigger/individual you fund is one thing/somebody that your audience cares about, e.g., an occasion attended by your viewers. 

Is sponsorship a preferred approach to do advertising? In the event you have a look at it globally, the spending from 2007 to 2018 was on a gradual rise. 

Most likely, the stats are inflated by massive manufacturers sponsoring sports activities. However small and medium manufacturers can have interaction in sponsorships too, e.g., area of interest magazines, trade occasions, or influential content material creators. 


Sports activities would most likely be only a pastime exercise if it weren’t for the sponsors. 

Sports activities can also be an ideal lesson about sponsorship. Watch an FC Barcelona sport, and also you’ll see and listen to “Spotify” hundreds of occasions. The brand is actually on each participant, and its residence stadium’s title begins with “Spotify.” 

Sports sponsorship example

Execs and cons 

Pros and cons of sponsorship

7. Conversational advertising 

Conversational advertising refers to participating in real-time conversations with potential and present prospects by way of stay chats, chatbots, messaging apps, and social media. 

This channel is meant to be the reply to generic experiences sometimes supplied on web sites the place customers need to navigate by way of a set of pages to get info or service. 

What’s extra, it appears to be fairly efficient: 

  • 79% of firms say that stay chat has had constructive outcomes for buyer loyalty, gross sales, and income (Kayako).
  • 82% of firms that use AI conversational advertising options discover them to be a useful asset of their technique (Drift). 


The way in which manufacturers often use chatbots (aka digital assistants) is to: 

  • Reply primary and frequent questions.
  • Qualify leads.
  • Schedule a gathering with an agent. 
  • Promote particular content material. 

Identical to Drift does: 

Chatbot example

Something past that’s past the capabilities of automation for now. Nevertheless, options like Zowie declare their chatbots are able to promote issues to people. 

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of conversational marketing

Phrase-of-mouth advertising (WoMM) is the method of influencing and inspiring pure discussions a few product, service, or firm.

In different phrases, it’s about giving individuals a purpose to speak.

Is phrase of mouth efficient? 

Properly, it’s most likely one of the crucial efficient advertising channels as a result of individuals are likely to belief different individuals greater than manufacturers. In keeping with a research by BrightLocal, 91% of individuals usually or often learn on-line critiques, and 84% belief on-line critiques as a lot as a private suggestion.


WoM is so highly effective it could possibly get an organization off the bottom and assist it develop all through the years. 

We must always know. Ahrefs began over 10 years in the past with 0 advertising price range and no advertising personnel. What received us where we are today was largely because of WoM: suggestions from customers and constructive critiques. 

SEO industry poll
One of many trade polls on search engine marketing instruments.
Word of mouth example
This individual subscribed to Ahrefs as a result of their associates unfold the phrase. Thanks, associates. 🙂

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of word of mouth

Be taught extra: Phrase-of-Mouth Advertising and marketing: A Easy Tried & Examined Information 

Podcasting permits manufacturers to succeed in individuals excited by a given matter by producing, being featured in, or sponsoring pre-recorded audio. 

Podcasts appear to be a rising channel by way of viewers and advert spend:

  • Podcast advert spending within the U.S. is anticipated to succeed in $2.2 billion in 2023, a 27% enhance from 2022 (Statista).
  • There are greater than 850,000 active podcasts in the present day. 


Let’s take a fast have a look at 3 ways manufacturers use podcasts in the present day. 

The primary, and possibly the most well-liked means, is being interviewed on a podcast or co-hosting one. The model and/or the product will get to be featured in a pure means all through the dialog. 

Brand in a podcast

The second means, and likewise a highly regarded possibility, is to sponsor a podcast. The viewers will get acquainted with the model by way of ads contained in the podcast and/or model identification close to the content material (like within the instance under).

Brand in a podcast

The final means a model turns into engaged in podcasts is by creating its personal collection. Merchandise are hardly ever featured; the main focus is on memorable experiences delivered by way of fastidiously focused content material. This manner, the model can earn constructive associations, differentiate, and provides their viewers a purpose to come back again to the web site regularly. 

Brand in a podcast

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of podcasts

Whereas different advertising channels are used to talk with the viewers, occasions are extra about assembly with the viewers. 

Occasion advertising might be completed on-line and offline but in addition in a hybrid mannequin. Nevertheless, in-person occasions enable for evoking stronger feelings and extra handy networking. 

However are you able to depend on the in-person components solely? Most likely not. Half of entrepreneurs and advertisers predict all future occasions may have a digital dimension (MarketingCharts).


There are a number of various kinds of occasions utilized in advertising. They will differ fairly considerably. 

Commerce reveals. Organized round merchandise and applied sciences. Often business-oriented, with the objective of networking and producing leads. 

Formnext, example of event marketing
Formnext, an additive manufacturing commerce present. Enterprise, enterprise, enterprise.

Conferences. Organized round concepts or applied sciences. The main target is on exchanging information, leisure, and networking. Typically have a laid-back ambiance with a blended agenda. They’re probably the most “open” of all varieties. 

Inbound 2022, event marketing example
HubSpot’s Inbound touchdown web page. Be taught, meet associates, eat effectively. Like in life.

Seminars and workshops. Targeted on exchanging concepts and experiences. Often smaller in dimension and arranged for a small variety of individuals. 

SEO workshop at Digisemestr
My colleague, Michal Pecánek, working a workshop on search engine marketing for college students of Digisemestr.

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of events

Be taught extra: A Easy search engine marketing Information for Profitable Occasion Advertising and marketing 

11. Internet online affiliate marketing 

Internet online affiliate marketing is the place individuals promote one other firm’s services or products in return for a fee on generated gross sales.

The celebration selling the product is known as the affiliate, and the model delivering the product is the service provider. Typically, there may be additionally a intermediary connecting the events referred to as the community or program (e.g., ShareASale or GiddyUp).

A fee is often a share of the sale worth however can often be a hard and fast quantity. 

All these fractional commissions and percentages add as much as an enormous enterprise. In keeping with Statista, enterprise spending on internet online affiliate marketing will hit $8.2 billion within the U.S. by 2022.


This article by Musician on a Mission lists eight studio setup necessities and hyperlinks to merchandise utilizing affiliate hyperlinks. 

Example of affiliate link
The highlighted hyperlink is an affiliate hyperlink.

Merchandise talked about on this one article alone can get part of that over 10,000 natural site visitors (and different site visitors sources too). 

Organic traffic to an article with affiliate links

At its greatest, internet online affiliate marketing is a win-win for all events concerned, together with shoppers. Associates earn commissions on their work testing merchandise (typically) and placing up the content material, retailers get publicity to certified audiences through trusted companions, and shoppers don’t have to spend a lot time researching merchandise on their personal. 

Execs and cons

Pros and cons of affiliate marketing

Incessantly requested questions on advertising channels. 

Why are channels vital in advertising? 

As a result of each model wants a approach to attain out to its audience and appeal to prospects. Advertising and marketing channels merely join manufacturers to individuals who may want their services or products. 

What’s the greatest advertising channel?

It’s not possible and undoubtedly not optimum to make use of one advertising channel. Manufacturers often attempt to be current in as many channels as doable, as this will increase attain and comfort to prospects.

That mentioned, it’s frequent to give attention to one channel or a small set of channels. For instance, at Ahrefs, we give attention to natural search and video advertising as a result of these channels can serve your complete advertising funnel. This has confirmed to be an efficient approach to attain out to our viewers. 

How to decide on advertising channels? 

Do some market analysis and establish locations the place your viewers hangs out and what channels your competitors is utilizing. Then begin utilizing these channels to check out what works for you and what doesn’t, after which iterate in your findings. 

What’s the distinction between multichannel and omnichannel advertising? 

Omnichannel advertising is about utilizing all out there channels to draw and serve prospects, offering a seamless expertise. For instance, Ikea means that you can buy merchandise in shops, on-line, by way of an app, by telephone, and so forth. 

Omnichannel marketing in a nutshell

Whereas in multichannel advertising, a number of channels are utilized. Nevertheless, not all of them are utilized or built-in. For instance, I purchased a wardrobe on-line not too long ago, and the store despatched me textual content messages concerning the standing of the order. However I couldn’t use the identical channel to reply (and warn that it was about to ship me the identical product twice). 

How are advertising channels completely different in B2B than in B2C?

B2B and B2C manufacturers spend money on the identical channels (in accordance with HubSpot). Nevertheless, the best way they use the channels might differ. 

B2C manufacturers often use these channels to supply leisure and instantly influence gross sales. B2B manufacturers focus extra on educating prospects and forming long-lasting relations. 

A majority of these manufacturers can also discover some sorts of content material or platforms extra appropriate for them. For instance, B2C manufacturers sometimes don’t publish case research, and B2B manufacturers discover LinkedIn more practical. 

What’s the distinction between advertising channels and distribution channels?

Distribution channels are the means by which services or products are being made out there to a shopper (e.g., instantly through a model’s web site or by way of resellers), whereas advertising channels are the means by which services are being communicated to the buyer. 

Closing ideas 

Multichannel advertising and omnichannel advertising appear to be the best way to go nowadays. Extra channels imply extra comfort on your prospects, extra prospects reached, and extra ROI on your firm.

However to make the very best use of your channels, it’s a good suggestion to maintain your model’s messaging constant throughout all media; entrepreneurs name it built-in advertising communications. 

Obtained questions? Ping me on Twitter.