Difference Between Advertising and Sales Promotion (With Table)

For marketing and promotion, companies and brands take the help of several tools and strategies. Advertising and sales promotion are two of those strategies. Both aim at the profit of the company. However, they use different methods, and they get used for different purposes.

Advertising vs Sales Promotion

The main difference between advertising and sales promotion is that advertising is an expensive campaign but sales promotion, on the other hand, is comparatively cheaper. Advertising is a long term investment for the brands. It also consumes a longer time to show the effect. But sales promotion is a strategy for a short period and also gives instant results. 

Advertising is a very common promotional tool. It is a very old way to make people aware of the brand as well as the offerings of the brand. However, it is not a cheap tool. It is the best fit for big companies.

Sale promotion is intended to improve the sales of an organisation or company. It is best for small companies. It is a short term plan that gives the brand instant sales. It is also a good start for the new business to attract customers. 

Comparison Table Between Advertising and Sales Promotion

Parameters of Comparison


Sales Promotion


It is a long-term plan.

It is a short-term plan. 


Comparatively, it is costly.

It is not very costly.

Fit for

It will be suitable for medium and large companies and organisations.

It will fit organisations and companies that are small as well as medium and large.


It builds the name of a brand while increasing sales.

It is only meant for an improvement in sales.


The outcome of advertising might take some time to show.

The outcome of it can be seen soon. 


Here advertising in digital media or print media is the strategy. 

Giving away coupons, discounts and free products are some of its techniques.

What is Advertising?

Advertising is a technique to promote the brand or a particular product or service of the brand. It aspires to hit the target customers. Also to make aware and attract the new customers. It has been the oldest method of marketing. Before, it used to get printed on paper or broadcast on the radio. 

In the current scenario, it gets the edge with the digital platforms and internet. Video advertising tries to entice the audience. It wants to influence the audience to become a customer. Sellers use it as a tool to communicate with the audience for the first time and try to highlight the best features of the product or service.

Advertising can be meant for a target audience that is small in number. If we consider the present time, then advertising can be divided into two parts. One is putting the advertisement in a newspaper, magazines and flyers. And the other is television advertising and billboards. 

Digital media has made it very easy to reach the audience who are looking for something like that. Social media advertising is the newest thing, and the brands can reach anyone’s phone and social media platform to inform about the company.

What is Sales Promotion?

The term sales promotion does not spin away from its meaning. It is exactly what the name suggests, a device to promote sales. It is a short time thing. Here the company will offer some special offers to increase their sales. 

Companies target a time when the demand is higher than an ordinary day. This is the reason you come across so many discounts and offers during the holidays. This time can be vulnerable for customers to buy things. 

You can get free trials, discount offers and even free services. It does not consume a lot of money. In addition to that, it shows faster results. The offers are temporary, but the goodwill of the company stays for a long time.

Main Differences Between Advertising and Sales Promotion

  1. Advertising is a long term plan. When a brand makes an advertisement with the help of a firm, they use it for a long time. On the contrary, sales promotion is a short term plan that is applicable for only a few days. However, it can re-occur when the brand needs it. 
  2. Advertising also includes a whole lot of expense. It is costly to make and then promote an advertisement. But sales promotion is not that expensive when it is compared to advertising. 
  3. As advertising is costly, it is not the best fit for small companies. Only big and medium brands opt for it. Sales promotion is best for small brands. Although medium and large brands can undertake this promotional strategy as well. 
  4. In advertising, an advertisement gets made, and it gets published in printed form as well as gets released on digital platforms. But sales promotion is much simpler. It includes stuff like giving discounts and free products to allure customers. 
  5. Being promoted on every platform helps in the creation and emphasization of the brand name. This way, the sales of the brand will also have the potential to increase. But sales promotion only intends to improve the sales of the company.
  6. Advertising does not show instant results. It takes some time. But sales promotion will give you fast results. 


A brand will always aspire to grow and will want to have all the potential customers. And to fulfil this desire, brands need to do many things. If someone does not know about the brand or service, then that person can never be a potential customer. Advertising is meant for making people aware of the existence of the brand while depicting the services or products. 

In case you are wondering which one you will need for your brand, then you first need to have a budget and then fix your purpose. If you have a small business, then sales promotion will make you very famous in the locality. But for establishing a brand name, advertisements can not be omitted.


  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/10610420010356984/full/html?fullSc=1
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=hQwLAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=advertising+and+Sales+Promotion&ots=3rla8wYf-N&sig=MPLHugbC56hHG7JHH6bCs1HI3QM