Difference Between Advertising and Public Relations

In any kind of business, the foremost goal is to make money. To make more money, you are supposed to increase the number of sales of the product.

In order to break through the noise in this competitive world, it is crucial to use advertising and public relations effectively.

Every company wants to increase its sales. In order to do that, one needs to understand the importance of Advertising and Public Relations.

Apart from advertising and public relations, the promotion of services can also be done through sales promotion and direct selling. The announcements in advertising can be made by various means of media, including print, tv ads, radio stations, etc.

Public Relations, on the other hand, involves building trust by the means of communication.

When it comes to connecting to your target audience, PR is the way to go. It works more effectively than a paid advertisement.

Advertising vs Public Relations

The main difference between Advertising and Public Relations is that advertising involves the paid announcement of a product in order to make people aware of it. However, Public Relations is all about developing a strong relationship by establishing trust with the public. Both of these tools are quite essential for the growth of a company.

Advertising vs Public Relations


Comparison Table Between Advertising and Public Relations (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAdvertisingPublic Relations
DefinitionAdvertising is bringing your products and services in front of the public by means of paid announcements.Public Relations involves building a stable relationship with the customer through strategic communication.
CommunicationIn advertising, you are selling your product rather than listening to your customers. Therefore, it is a one-way form of communication.Public Relations are two-way communication as the feedback of the audience also does matter in order to build trust.
AimAdvertising aims to make people aware of your services so they can consider paying for it.It helps you to build a better image of your company publicly.
Amount of controlThe advertisements are in total control of the company.No control is there in the case of public relations.
Publishing periodThe ads keep on publishing as long as you want them to.They can be published only for once.


What is Advertising?

Advertising is promoting your product or services so that people will know that such a product exists in the market.

It is done with the hope that people would choose their product. The advertisements get broadcasted through various means, including printed ads, radio stations, TV Channels, etc.

In advertising, there is a huge control of when the ad should be published so that the maximum number of people could watch it.

The advertising can be done as long as the advertiser wants it to go. It majorly depends on the budget of the company.

Advertising comes under the paid media. In advertising, you pay other people to appreciate your product by talking about its strength.

Most people are aware of this fact, and that’s the reason that they take advertisements for granted sometimes. However, if advertising is done creatively, then it can end up spiking up your sales right through the roof.

The key is to understand the problems of your customers and act accordingly while approaching advertising.


What are Public Relations?

Public Relations is a tool of communication that lets a brand establish a good relationship with their customers. This relationship of trust is what makes a person to opt for a particular product or service the next time.

Unlike advertising, it is much more powerful. The advertisements are not able to induce people to buy a product as they are aware that someone is trying to sell something to them.

However, public relations work differently. People might read a story or an article where they learned about a specific product, and now that product seems much more authentic to them.

Communicating with the target audience this way convinces them to try out your services. This is how a little bit of media exposure can spike up your sales.

You can’t have any control over public relations like advertising. Public relations act as free publicity.

This free publicity is getting achieved by goodwill, people recommending your product to their friends, etc.

Public Relations

Main Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations

  1. The advertising offers full control to the advertiser. The advertisers know where and at what time their ad will be published.
    However, public relations offer no control at all.
  2. There is a large room for creativity while making an advertisement. You get to decide what goes into your advertisement.
    There is no space to make any correction in your public image, here. It’s on to the media to show anything about your product or services.
  3. Advertisements can keep on going until your budget allows. However, PR only works once.
  4. In advertising, people know that a company is trying to sell them their product. In PR, your services get recommended to people by word of mouth.
  5. PR has more credibility than advertising, as people know that it’s not another ad.
Difference Between Advertising and Public Relations



Advertising and Public Relations are very crucial to know by someone who is trying to increase their sales. Both of these tools have to be used efficiently in order to boost up the sales.

It is almost useless to debate that one is better than the other.

Advertising includes promoting your product and services to your customers so they could know that your product is available in the market, offering a specific value. However, Public Relations helps you to gain the trust of your customers.

As you have no control over PR, the news media has full control of presenting your services to the public in their own way.

Getting appreciation there helps you to develop a mutual relationship with your customers. On the other hand, advertisements are also necessary, so you can make people aware of your latest products.

A person would only think of buying your product once they are aware that it is available in the market. However, PR has much more credibility than advertising.

Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

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  1. https://www.aaasite.org/assets/docs/2016.pdf
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/107769589805300201
  3. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/25715/1/25715_kerr_2006001276.pdf
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In terms of cost, a PR costs a lot than advertising on digital mediums (these are bid based). I like Facebook ads because of the detailed targeting options available there.