Oblique Advertising: Definition, Sorts, & Examples


Oblique advertising is advertising the place you’re not making an attempt to explicitly promote a services or products.

As an alternative, it focuses on actions that generate model consciousness, construct relationships with potential prospects, and nurture them to ultimately purchase from you.

Oblique advertising depends on the idea that potential prospects won’t buy your services or products instantly, however over time. 

And if we have a look at our purchasing habits, that’s in all probability true. For instance, if we’d like a brand new pair of headphones, we’ll in all probability first do some on-line analysis, browse boards, ask our associates, and get conversant in obtainable manufacturers and fashions—all earlier than shopping for.

In distinction, direct advertising is advertising the place you’re explicitly making an attempt to get potential prospects to purchase proper now. Channels embody chilly e-mail, junk mail, and advertisements.

Forms of oblique advertising

Listed here are some sorts of oblique advertising:

1. Public relations (PR)

PR is the observe of positively influencing a model’s notion by managing communications with the media and most people.

Frequent ways embody being newsworthy, responding to media inquiries (e.g., HARO), creating press releases, constructing relationships with journalists, and creating PR stunts. 

For instance, Ahrefs was featured on TechCrunch in 2022.

Ahrefs is featured in a TechCrunch article

This was attainable as a result of we had:

  1. A newsworthy occasion (“we’re making a search engine”).
  2. Relationships with the precise folks (all due to the laborious work of my colleague, Daria Samokish).

2. Search engine marketing (Website positioning)

Website positioning is the observe of optimizing your web site and its pages to rank greater in engines like google like Google. You’d wish to be sure your essential pages seem on Google for related key phrases. For instance, if somebody is looking for your model, your web site ought to seem:

Google search results for keyword "ahrefs"

However no person will seek for your model in the event that they have no idea it exists. So past optimizing your homepage, you must also goal key phrases your prospects are looking for.

At Ahrefs, we create content material concentrating on issues our potential prospects have. For instance, 14,000 folks per 30 days seek for “hyperlink constructing” within the U.S.  

14,000 people per month search for “link building” in the U.S.

It is a drawback our toolset helps with, so we created a piece of content material concentrating on that matter.

Ahrefs' link building guide

At any time when somebody is looking for that key phrase on Google, they’ll uncover our content material and, within the course of, our product and model. 

Repeat this advert infinitum and also you’ll expose a whole bunch, if not 1000’s, of individuals to your model (in our case, an estimated 3.4 million).

Estimated amount of search traffic Ahrefs receives every month, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Really useful studying: Website positioning: The Full Information for Learners 

3. Social media

Creating useful content material that persuades folks to comply with you on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok is an effective way to generate model consciousness and construct relationships together with your viewers.

For instance, our Twitter account has 128,000 followers, and we usually share Website positioning and advertising suggestions with our viewers:

Oblique advertising: professionals and cons

Do you have to put money into oblique advertising? Let’s have a look at the professionals and cons.


Listed here are the benefits of oblique advertising.

1. Oblique advertising builds demand and consciousness

Why is it essential to construct model consciousness and demand? 

Easy: There are solely so many people who find themselves prepared to purchase proper now. Most of your potential prospects are nonetheless unaware they’ve an issue, unaware of options, or unaware of your specific services or products. 

So in case you’re utilizing direct advertising, you’re solely specializing in a small pool of individuals. Not solely that, however you might truly simply be reaching out to people who find themselves already primed to purchase within the first place.

Finally, you’ll nonetheless want a solution to open up a pool of potential prospects. And you are able to do that with oblique advertising ways. 

2. Oblique advertising is much less intrusive and non-pushy

Prospects purposely hunt down content material that helps them clear up issues. Not solely that, however oblique advertising ways additionally hardly ever contain reaching out to folks. 


Listed here are some downsides to oblique advertising.

1. Oblique advertising takes time

You possibly can’t construct a model in a single day. Neither are you able to amass 100,000 followers in at some point. Relationships with journalists take time to construct. And rating on Google takes time too.

Results for a poll on how long SEO takes

Recognizing that prospects want time to purchase additionally means recognizing that nurturing the connection takes time.

2. Oblique advertising is much less trackable

Life will get in everybody’s manner. You could have had the expertise of researching for one thing to purchase, solely so that you can give it up for a couple of years earlier than abruptly returning to buy it. Your prospects are the identical too. 

In consequence, it may be troublesome to pinpoint precisely which oblique advertising tactic contributed to the success. Nevertheless it doesn’t imply that oblique advertising doesn’t work, simply that it’s not attributable. 

Direct advertising: professionals and cons

Do you have to put money into direct advertising? Listed here are the professionals and cons.


What are some benefits of direct advertising?

1. Direct advertising is measurable

Direct advertising ways are often trackable—what number of opens, what number of clicks, what number of conversions, and so forth. You possibly can see these metrics on advert platforms and e-mail advertising software program.

2. Direct advertising is quick

Because it’s meant to elicit a response or buy, direct advertising ways can have a right away impression on a enterprise’s backside line. 


Direct advertising shouldn’t be all sunshine and roses. There are some downsides.

1. Direct advertising is intrusive

Direct advertising ways like chilly e-mail and advertisements are typically seen as interruptive. That’s as a result of the prospect didn’t request them and but remains to be served a gross sales message.

An unwanted ad from Emirates on the Twitter timeline

2. Direct advertising has a smaller attain

As talked about earlier, there are solely so many people who find themselves prepared and prepared to purchase. Direct advertising merely converts these folks, but it surely can not generate purchases amongst individuals who don’t even know you exist. 

3. Direct advertising will be blocked

CAN-SPAM, GDPR, ad-blockers—they exist to forestall undesirable gross sales messages from reaching customers.

Examples of profitable oblique advertising

In search of profitable examples of how firms have used oblique advertising? Listed here are three to be impressed by.

1. Ahrefs – Weblog

The primary advertising sort we use is Website positioning-driven content material advertising. It may be summarized into one sentence:

We create and keep high-quality, search-focused content material about matters with enterprise potential, search visitors potential, and rating potential.

To interrupt it down:

  1. We analysis matters our prospects are looking for on Google.
  2. We filter them by checking their enterprise potential—how straightforward will probably be to pitch our product whereas tackling these key phrases.
  3. We prioritize by analyzing their rating potential—how viable it’s for us to rank within the high three with our obtainable assets.
  4. We create content material concentrating on these matters.
  5. We replace or rewrite them in the event that they don’t rank or are out of date.

This technique means prospects are all the time discovering us at any time when they’re looking for options to their issues on Google. 

Ahrefs customers mentioning that they found out about our product from Google

Our technique is straightforward. No fancy ways or the newest scorching pattern. However this deliberate simplicity makes the technique straightforward to comply with and is the driving power behind our eight-figure annual recurring income (ARR).

Learn to replicate our technique within the information under.

Really useful studying: Methods to Create an Website positioning Content material Technique (Comply with the Ahrefs’ Framework) 

2. Wendy’s – Twitter

Wendy’s is a fast-food restaurant chain. But, you may not be capable of inform from its tweets:

Should you’re out of the loop, Wendy’s principally revolutionized how manufacturers can use social media and talk with their prospects. Reasonably than publish boring bureaucratic tweets in “corporatese,” it determined to do a 180° by sharing memes, roasting rival firms, and posting in a sassy tone. And it hardly ever has a name to motion to go to a Wendy’s restaurant.

However this oblique advertising works for it. In a extremely aggressive fast-food scene, this social media technique places its model high of thoughts. 

Not solely do its tweets acquire consideration on the community itself, but it surely additionally spreads virally throughout different channels. Memes, anime parodies, and YouTube movies—the listing goes on. 

Since 2012, Wendy’s has overtaken Burger King to turn out to be the #3 U.S. fast-food chain.

3. Slidebean – YouTube

Slidebean is a pitch deck design platform for startups and small companies. It has >400,000 subscribers on YouTube. Lots of its movies aren’t about pitch decks or pitch deck design; as an alternative, they’re about startups, advertising, and enterprise.

That is deliberate. It initially began out with matters associated to its product. Nevertheless it discovered that it exhausted these matters in a brief period of time. So it determined to maneuver up the advertising funnel into broader matters.

Since we had discovered a “YouTube formulation,” we determined to use it to different kinds of content material, and certainly one of them was this concept of exploring failed firms. The primary one was WeWork, which was simply the precise bridge between a startup-focused firm and a broadly recognized model. At this stage, the collection was referred to as “Startup Forensics.”

Nonetheless, there have been solely so many tech startups to discover, so we rapidly opened that as much as “Firm Forensics” to broaden our horizons.

Jose Cayasso

This allowed Slidebean to get as many eyeballs as attainable on YouTube, which places its model high of thoughts. The corporate hit $1.5 million in income with 3,000 prospects in 2022. 

Last ideas

The very best firms use each oblique and direct advertising. They don’t discriminate between methods. If you wish to enhance what you are promoting, it’s best to use each. 

Any questions? Hit me up on Twitter


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