September 21, 2023

Oblique advertising is advertising the place you’re not making an attempt to explicitly promote a services or products.

As a substitute, it focuses on actions that generate model consciousness, construct relationships with potential clients, and nurture them to finally purchase from you.

Oblique advertising depends on the idea that potential clients won’t buy your services or products instantly, however over time. 

And if we have a look at our purchasing habits, that’s in all probability true. For instance, if we want a brand new pair of headphones, we’ll in all probability first do some on-line analysis, browse boards, ask our buddies, and get acquainted with obtainable manufacturers and fashions—all earlier than shopping for.

In distinction, direct advertising is advertising the place you’re explicitly making an attempt to get potential clients to purchase proper now. Channels embody chilly e mail, unsolicited mail, and adverts.

Varieties of oblique advertising

Listed here are some forms of oblique advertising:

1. Public relations (PR)

PR is the observe of positively influencing a model’s notion by managing communications with the media and most people.

Widespread techniques embody being newsworthy, responding to media inquiries (e.g., HARO), creating press releases, constructing relationships with journalists, and creating PR stunts. 

For instance, Ahrefs was featured on TechCrunch in 2022.

Ahrefs is featured in a TechCrunch article

This was attainable as a result of we had:

  1. A newsworthy occasion (“we’re making a search engine”).
  2. Relationships with the proper folks (all due to the arduous work of my colleague, Daria Samokish).

2. SEO (Search engine optimization)

Search engine optimization is the observe of optimizing your web site and its pages to rank increased in serps like Google. You’d wish to be sure that your vital pages seem on Google for related key phrases. For instance, if somebody is looking for your model, your web site ought to seem:

Google search results for keyword "ahrefs"

However no person will seek for your model in the event that they have no idea it exists. So past optimizing your homepage, you must also goal key phrases your clients are looking for.

At Ahrefs, we create content material focusing on issues our potential clients have. For instance, 14,000 folks per thirty days seek for “hyperlink constructing” within the U.S.  

14,000 people per month search for “link building” in the U.S.

This can be a downside our toolset helps with, so we created a bit of content material focusing on that subject.

Ahrefs' link building guide

Each time somebody is looking for that key phrase on Google, they’ll uncover our content material and, within the course of, our product and model. 

Repeat this advert infinitum and also you’ll expose lots of, if not hundreds, of individuals to your model (in our case, an estimated 3.4 million).

Estimated amount of search traffic Ahrefs receives every month, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Advisable studying: Search engine optimization: The Full Information for Rookies 

3. Social media

Creating helpful content material that persuades folks to observe you on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok is a good way to generate model consciousness and construct relationships along with your viewers.

For instance, our Twitter account has 128,000 followers, and we usually share Search engine optimization and advertising suggestions with our viewers:

Oblique advertising: professionals and cons

Must you spend money on oblique advertising? Let’s have a look at the professionals and cons.


Listed here are the benefits of oblique advertising.

1. Oblique advertising builds demand and consciousness

Why is it vital to construct model consciousness and demand? 

Easy: There are solely so many people who find themselves prepared to purchase proper now. Most of your potential clients are nonetheless unaware they’ve an issue, unaware of options, or unaware of your explicit services or products. 

So when you’re utilizing direct advertising, you’re solely specializing in a small pool of individuals. Not solely that, however you may truly simply be reaching out to people who find themselves already primed to buy in the first place.

Ultimately, you’ll nonetheless want a method to open up a pool of potential clients. And you are able to do that with oblique advertising techniques. 

2. Oblique advertising is much less intrusive and non-pushy

Prospects purposely hunt down content material that helps them clear up issues. Not solely that, however oblique advertising techniques additionally not often contain reaching out to folks. 


Listed here are some downsides to oblique advertising.

1. Oblique advertising takes time

You may’t construct a model in a single day. Neither are you able to amass 100,000 followers in in the future. Relationships with journalists take time to construct. And rating on Google takes time too.

Results for a poll on how long SEO takes

Recognizing that clients want time to purchase additionally means recognizing that nurturing the connection takes time.

2. Oblique advertising is much less trackable

Life will get in everybody’s method. You have to have had the expertise of researching for one thing to purchase, solely so that you can give it up for a number of years earlier than all of the sudden returning to buy it. Your clients are the identical too. 

Because of this, it may be troublesome to pinpoint precisely which oblique advertising tactic contributed to the success. However it doesn’t imply that oblique advertising doesn’t work, simply that it’s not attributable. 

Direct advertising: professionals and cons

Must you spend money on direct advertising? Listed here are the professionals and cons.


What are some benefits of direct advertising?

1. Direct advertising is measurable

Direct advertising techniques are often trackable—what number of opens, what number of clicks, what number of conversions, and so forth. You may see these metrics on advert platforms and e mail advertising software program.

2. Direct advertising is quick

Because it’s meant to elicit a response or buy, direct advertising techniques can have an instantaneous impression on a enterprise’s backside line. 


Direct advertising will not be all sunshine and roses. There are some downsides.

1. Direct advertising is intrusive

Direct advertising techniques like chilly e mail and adverts are usually seen as interruptive. That’s as a result of the prospect didn’t request them and but continues to be served a gross sales message.

An unwanted ad from Emirates on the Twitter timeline

2. Direct advertising has a smaller attain

As talked about earlier, there are solely so many people who find themselves prepared and keen to purchase. Direct advertising merely converts these folks, however it can’t generate purchases amongst individuals who don’t even know you exist. 

3. Direct advertising will be blocked

CAN-SPAM, GDPR, ad-blockers—they exist to stop undesirable gross sales messages from reaching customers.

Examples of profitable oblique advertising

In search of profitable examples of how firms have used oblique advertising? Listed here are three to be impressed by.

1. Ahrefs – Weblog

The principle advertising sort we use is Search engine optimization-driven content material advertising. It may be summarized into one sentence:

We create and preserve high-quality, search-focused content material about subjects with enterprise potential, search visitors potential, and rating potential.

To interrupt it down:

  1. We analysis subjects our clients are looking for on Google.
  2. We filter them by checking their enterprise potential—how simple it will likely be to pitch our product whereas tackling these key phrases.
  3. We prioritize by analyzing their rating potential—how viable it’s for us to rank within the prime three with our obtainable sources.
  4. We create content material focusing on these subjects.
  5. We replace or rewrite them in the event that they don’t rank or are out of date.

This technique means clients are all the time discovering us each time they’re looking for options to their issues on Google. 

Ahrefs customers mentioning that they found out about our product from Google

Our technique is straightforward. No fancy techniques or the most recent sizzling development. However this deliberate simplicity makes the technique simple to observe and is the driving pressure behind our eight-figure annual recurring revenue (ARR).

Learn to replicate our technique within the information beneath.

Advisable studying: Easy methods to Create an Search engine optimization Content material Technique (Comply with the Ahrefs’ Framework) 

2. Wendy’s – Twitter

Wendy’s is a fast-food restaurant chain. But, you may not be capable to inform from its tweets:

In the event you’re out of the loop, Wendy’s mainly revolutionized how manufacturers can use social media and talk with their clients. Reasonably than submit boring bureaucratic tweets in “corporatese,” it determined to do a 180° by sharing memes, roasting rival firms, and posting in a sassy tone. And it not often has a name to motion to go to a Wendy’s restaurant.

However this oblique advertising works for it. In a extremely aggressive fast-food scene, this social media technique places its model prime of thoughts. 

Not solely do its tweets achieve consideration on the community itself, however it additionally spreads virally throughout different channels. Memes, anime parodies, and YouTube videos—the record goes on. 

Since 2012, Wendy’s has overtaken Burger King to turn out to be the #3 U.S. fast-food chain.

3. Slidebean – YouTube

Slidebean is a pitch deck design platform for startups and small companies. It has >400,000 subscribers on YouTube. A lot of its movies aren’t about pitch decks or pitch deck design; as a substitute, they’re about startups, advertising, and enterprise.

That is deliberate. It initially began out with subjects associated to its product. However it discovered that it exhausted these subjects in a brief period of time. So it determined to maneuver up the advertising funnel into broader subjects.

Since we had discovered a “YouTube method,” we determined to use it to other forms of content material, and considered one of them was this concept of exploring failed firms. The primary one was WeWork, which was simply the proper bridge between a startup-focused firm and a broadly recognized model. At this stage, the collection was referred to as “Startup Forensics.”

Nonetheless, there have been solely so many tech startups to discover, so we shortly opened that as much as “Firm Forensics” to broaden our horizons.

Jose Cayasso

This allowed Slidebean to get as many eyeballs as attainable on YouTube, which places its model prime of thoughts. The corporate hit $1.5 million in revenue with 3,000 clients in 2022. 

Ultimate ideas

The most effective firms use each oblique and direct advertising. They don’t discriminate between methods. If you wish to enhance your small business, you need to use each. 

Any questions? Hit me up on Twitter