What is your Line of Advertising: Understanding ATL and BTL in detail.

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Advertising is the lifeblood of any company to exist. The advertising activities are done based on the target group, customer journey, product, available time and budget with the marketer. The bigger the company higher it’s advertising budget and the different usage of advertisement mediums.

No matter what every advertising & marketing activity in the world is done mainly to fulfil the following three reasons.

1. Mass penetration or a targeted penetration

2. Awareness or Conversion

3. Build a brand identity

Based on the purpose the marketing activities are then classified into Above the Line, Below the Line and Through the Line (TTL) activities. However, due to increasing competition and continuous development in technologies, the marketing activities are evolved so much that it has blurred these lines and the use of both ATL & BTL activities together.

Above The Line – ATL

ATL activities are used to target a broader audience in a full spectrum of customers. ATL includes advertising activities that are done for a general audience who are non-targeted for a wide range. The communication is not direct for a specific group. It is done to inform customers to build a brand inform or about its product. Almost everyone can access the message and conversion is not essential in ATL advertising.

Companies need to communicate about the brand and its benefits creatively to a vast customer base possible within a specific period. To achieve this objective, the ATL marketing plays an integral role in brand building. The preferred mode of communication is like television, radio, or billboards. E.g. A Soft Drink Company may do ATL advertising activities to develop a broad audience.

Examples of ATL


Television advertisement has a broad reach, whether it could be local or national or international audiences. It depends on the scale of a TV channel. TV ads are preferred more over other channels as they good at connecting with users. A moving image with audio is always better than random motionless pictures or just an audio clip.


An advertisement has to be shown a minimum thrice to customers before the penetration activity begins in the market. Being frequent and creative, yet being affordable is a big challenge. Hence, a radio is perfect for every marketer to fulfil these advertising needs. It is more affordable when it comes to frequency. Like television radio also has local or national or international reach based on its scale.

Print Advertisements

A print media has a broader reach compared to other ATL mediums. A print advertisement can be a magazine or newspaper. It is mainly used to inform potential customers about a brand or an offer. Print ads, by and large, exist with category audience or in niches which becomes easy to reach to specific groups. Sometimes, even conversions can be expected not always guaranteed.

Outdoor Advertising OOH

Outdoor advertising is done for a constant display to have a greater reach. It is usually done in public areas such as subways, buildings, trains; which depends on ad locations availability. They mostly include Flags, Wraps, Digital Signage, Banners, Hoardings, and Billboards.

Advantages of ATL

· Wider Reach: These advertising activities have vast local, regional, national or international reach based on the scale.

· Connect Better: TV or radio use audio and videos to have a better connection with their target audience.

· Builds Brand: Though customers build the brand, marketing, and advertising activities are essential tools in creating and evolving a brand identity.

Below The Line – BTL 

BTL advertising suggests that advertising is going to target a specific group of potential customers. They develop ads and promotions directed to particular groups of people. The tools and methods generally used are pamphlet distributions, direct emails, product demonstrations, give-away. BTL activities mainly have more focus on conversions rather than building the brand. It is done to complement with other ATL activities.

BTL ads are marketing strategies that are used to direct the advertisement activities to focus on targeted groups of customers. The

Examples of BTL

Direct Mail

Direct mail like emails or text messages is still used by marketers, even today. They are custom messages drafted to meet the different needs of a brand targeting its various customers on different user journeys. It can improve the conversions if it is planned and executed correctly.


Sponsorship is usually corporate and collaborative activity. It’s a partnership between different business entities having similar customer interests. It is done to meet a broader brand strategy with various available options for BTL activities.

Brand Activation

Brand activation encourages interaction or experiences to drive customer action to persuade. These brand campaigns provide customer’s life experiences to form a long term connection.

In-Store Marketing

The marketing activity which is done inside a retail store is termed as In-store marketing. These BTL activities make good use of various customer touchpoints to get maximum ROI.

Advantages of Below the line marketing

· Highly Targeted: Ad results are better at Conversions.

· Give Better ROI: Better ROI with focus on target group with better reach and smooth execution.

· Simple and Easy Control: These ads are easily tracked and monitored to improve ROI.

· Custom Ads: Designed as per target group which can be redone accordingly.

Through Line – TTL

TTL involves both ATL and BTL activities. The advertising industry has evolved to meet the current market trend and customer engagements. It requires custom integration and a combination of both ATL and BTL activities for great results. In TTL the campaigns are designed and developed with building a broad vision of brand while encouraging good conversions.

Examples of TTL

360° Marketing

A well-planned marketing strategy is carried out, integrating both ATL and BTL activities to get the maximum results. Almost every ad campaigns nowadays are a TTL in nature.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can reach a large customer base while correctly communicating with targeted customers. Custom communication is carried out based on customer needs and based on the customer journey. This strategy gives a better ROI, even from the customer standpoint.

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