When we think about advertising, we mostly think about stupid – or great – televised commercials. Or we ponder billboards. Or we think about magazines, which get the bulk of their funding from advertisers and not our $4.
All these forms of advertising are push advertising. Push advertising comes out to find us. This is the sort of advertising we feel bombarded with on a daily basis, the advertising that makes us cover our heads and look for shelter. But it’s also the sort of advertising that builds brand identity. Where would Coca-Cola be without its frequent commercials, its promotions, its Santa Claus images?
Because push advertising is so prevalent, we forget that there is a different sort of advertising as well – pull advertising.While push advertising hits the mass market, pull advertising targets specific consumers who have been identified as likely customers. Using carefully-targeted advertising that often uses valuable quality information to spread its message, push advertising has always been expensive to develop and more expensive to deliver (think the “good” junk mail you used to get, like baby magazines for pregnant women). But until the last decade, pull advertising has been far less popular than push advertising because it’s just so hard to develop for most consumer groups.Pull Advertising
Only with the advent of the Internet has pull advertising become a common tool. Pull advertising in its online incarnation is related to those magazine supplements that you see – you know, sponsored by Sunoco but filled with truly useful information that makes you want to read them.
The Internet uses the exact same concept. In many ways, the web is nothing but a vast repository of free information and pull advertising sites. Writers who want to make a living in the new world create content that synchronizes well with advertiser demands. They may run Google ads in the margins next to their articles to blend push and pull advertising, or they may discuss products in their blogs or columns, or they may work as affiliate sales sites.
The advantage of pull advertising is that consumers are looking for the information that pull advertising sites offer. The disadvantage is that consumers have to be looking for that information in order to find it.
This means that pull advertising must advertise itself in order to get the traffic it needs to make money.
The Interaction of Push and Pull Advertising
Here’s where Push comes back into the equation. If you’re starting a new online zine, you might trade banner ads with a more popular site or sites. This means you’ll have a little push advertising running on someone else’s page. Viewers there will see that ad, and may come to visit you. Once they see that you have good content, it will pull them back to it, without the jump start of push advertising.
Google placement is a blend of both push and pull. Consumers searching for a particular keyword may come up with your site on the first page of the search, but you should stand out in order for them to find you – and you have to place high on that search to begin with. Keywording and LSI management – handled properly, not abused – are both a peculiar blend of push and pull advertising for this reason.
Properly managed, a good blend of push and pull will not only bring viewers to your site, but addict them to it. Push lets them know you’re here. If you have engaging ideas, they’ll come and check you out. Your good content will continue to pull them back, as will your opt-in newsletters and other goodies that you “push” out to their emails.