What are horizontal vs vertical types of advertising? What specialisation do horizontal and vertical ads offer? How do businesses benefit from horizontal and vertical ads? How to find out whether horizontal or vertical advertising strategies should work well for the business? 

Let us begin from the beginning. When the competition becomes more intense, businesses often ask whether we should go for a vertical or horizontal advertising strategy? 

Undoubtedly, a deftly chosen advert strategy can serve as one of the most effective budget management tools and bring in leads. Depending upon the niche and the scope of the business, the company can choose either of the two or overlap both horizontal and vertical ads. 

We all know that sales measure the success of a successful advertising campaign. And for that reason alone, advertising strategies are placed to target the most relevant and significant audience. 

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What is Vertical Advertising

Vertical advertising is a strategy that businesses use to target industry-specific customers. Customers within a vertical strategy usually have similar interests, needs, and demands.

Instead of appealing to a broad set of customer bases, the vertical ad strategy appeals to the people in a definitive and distinct niche. For example, stay-at-home dads, healthcare, real estate, private primary school teachers, medical publishing, etc. 

When to Apply Vertical Advertising? 

A vertical advertising strategy is beneficial when your business offers products that suit the specific customer base.

For example, suppose your company hosts wine-tasting events specifically in the countryside. In that case, you can apply the vertical ad strategy to target the customers in vineyards, wineries, farm-to-table restaurants near villages. 

Advertising to the broader demographics will cost you more money per acquisition and bring in weak/little conversions, which will make no sense and only add to the cost. 

Why use Vertical Advertising?

Potential customers from the specific industry will want to read related content relevant to their interests, needs, and business. They may want to acquire knowledge via printed and digital publications and attend niche-specific events.

Although the competition is less, the risk of demand fluctuation is prominent in industry-specific businesses. That’s why building customers relations becomes important for businesses.

Therefore, to target the significant market portion relevant to your niche requires a vertical advertising strategy. 

Media used in Vertical Advertising

You must select the right medium to reach your target customers with minimal waste. Placing vertical ads will require the advertising planners to study the data on readership and circulation of various publications covering the same niche/ industry.

Then you will choose two or more publications that provide the best coverage for your ad. Various media can be specific magazines, trade events, thematic websites, weekly published journals, niche-related blogs, etc. 

Creating a Vertical Advertising Campaign 

Vertical advertising is a customer-centric advertising strategy. Whether the product is specialised for a specific industry or has its application only for a specific niche, it’s important to understand the demographic’s needs and demands by studying the data and figures. 

For example, suppose a company makes power tools and wishes to start a vertical advertising campaign to appeal to private contractors. In that case, the company shall analyse what the contractors are looking for in the power tools. 

The company shall need to study the data regarding the kinds of tools demanded in the current times or the specifications the targeted audience might be looking for in those tools.

In addition, the company will need to analyse the data of their buying trends, the purpose for which they are buying the tools, the colour of the tools most private contractors prefer, and other relevant topics. 

The advertising company can write the copy appealing to the contractors- “best tools for professionals” or “power tools for your ease of work and happy customers”. 

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What is Horizontal Advertising?

Unlike vertical advertising, horizontal advertising strategy appeals to various markets and industries.

For example, office supplies companies will have ads for industries like- educational organisations, bureaus, government offices, hardware stores, healthcare, architecture, etc. Horizontal advertising appears to the potential customers who share similar characteristics, needs, and interests but are spread in a different range of industries. 

When to apply horizontal advertising?

Because horizontal advertising appeals to a broader and more diverse range of customers, the marketers will be required to design a sophisticated cross-channel advertising campaign that ensures less wastage, budgeted cost, and widespread reach of their ad. 

How to build an effective horizontal advertising strategy 

A horizontal advertising strategy will require marketers to focus on various aspects of their product. Let’s take the example of the office supplies company. The company would want to market its products to a wider range of markets.

They can highlight their product’s features appealing to an educational institute and a government office. They can advertise their product to the healthcare centres requiring files, prescription slips, and stationary, while presenting their products to resorts and hotels. 

Advertising Networks

Horizontal advertising will require a cross-channel advertising campaign. It can advertise through networks like radio channels, televisions, newspapers, business magazines and journals, mobile apps, and other advertising networks

Take a look at successful horizontal advertising. 

Many companies collaborate with other companies to reach diverse audiences. For example, a cola company can collaborate with chips-making company to be marketed together.

Or a bag manufacturing company can collaborate with a company that makes uniforms to be marketed and distributed together. This marketing and advertising strategy allows both companies to increase their production capacities and maximise profits. 

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Horizontal Vs Vertical Advertising

After understanding why and where horizontal and vertical advertising strategies are used, the question remains how a company can choose between horizontal and vertical advertising. Choosing either of the two advertising strategies or using both effectively is a crucial advertising decision that the company needs to make. 

Specialised to nicheNon-specialised
Targets niche-specific customers Targets a broader customer base from a wider range of industries 
Effective reach based on data Broader and diverse reach
Advertising through trade events, thematic websites, specific publications, etc.Advertising through the newspaper, radio channels, television, common websites and publications, etc. 

Horizontal vs Vertical Ads

As explained earlier, if your business is niche-specific and industry specialised, you can go for vertical advertising. And if your business offers products with diverse applications and uses, you can reach out to a broader customer base.

However, you don’t have to choose just one advertising strategy. If you have expertise and experience in one field and can benefit other industries, you can use horizontal and vertical advertising.

For example, if you are a writer with experience and expertise in computer sciences, your writing skills can also be used in other industries. 

Horizontal vs. Vertical Ad Network:

When we talk about horizontal vs vertical, it has slight different meaning to what horizontal and vertical ad network means.

A vertical ad network delivers advertising to a specific audience.A horizontal ad network delivers advertising on wide base of inventory available.
Vertical ad networks offers less but specific reach for advertisers.Horizontal ad networks offer higher scale, reach and multiple targeting capabilities for advertisers.
Non – Generalized i.e. low global reach Generalized – i.e. General audience
Vertical ad network serves lesser ad impressions than horizontal ad network since the reach here is lessHorizontal ad network delivers several billions of ad impressions per day.
It is often termed as “Known buy” since you know which audience you are targeting.It is considered as “Blind buy” since the advertiser doesn’t know where the impressions will serve.

Horizontal vs Vertical Ad Network

Horizontal vs Vertical Ads: Conclusion

Horizontal and vertical advertising are packed with advantages and uses. An effective advertising strategy will involve a careful understanding of the purpose, the customer base it wishes to target, and serving the message in the right way resulting in conversions.

Both horizontal and vertical advertising can be used together and separately, depending upon the requirements of your business. 


Shubham is a digital marketer with rich experience working in the advertisement technology industry. He has vast experience in the programmatic industry, driving business strategy and scaling functions including but not limited to growth and marketing, Operations, process optimization, and Sales.

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