Difference Between Advertising And Public Relations (With Table)

Advertising and Public Relations, are different terms but hold a great influence in the field of media. These both are strategies performed to gather the attention of the target audience that will either help in brand promotions or gain regular customers for that brand.

Although the objective of both terms is the same there exists a minute difference. According to that difference, Advertising is paid whereas Public Relations acquire money or reputation after a piece of information is released in the form of press releases and pitches to the media. More differences between these two terms are stated below.

Advertising vs Public Relations

The main difference between advertising and public relations is that advertising is paid form of media whereas public relations is the earned form. Advertising is controlled by the company and is kept on the charts till the customer is paying for it.

Advertising is a technique to draw the audience’s attention towards the endorsed product or service. It is labeled as a paid form of promotion where communication is one-way. The client or product/service owner can hire to promote their product as they desire and the advertisement company keeps it on the charts till they are receiving the amount.

Public Relations or PR, is a strategic practice whose aim is to earn the goodwill of the customer and is an earned form of media. The goals are made that will provide them a good image in front of the media but it depends on the media whether they want to take the given story or not. If taken, they can/cannot manipulate it resulting from it in two-way communication.

Comparison Table Between Advertising And Public Relations

Parameter for comparisonsAdvertisingPublic Relations
TechniqueIt is a method to draw the target
audience’s attention on promoted
Public Relations or PR is a
technique that works towards
earning the goodwill of the
MediaPaid MediaEarned Media
CommunicationOne-way Two-way
AimTo induce the target audience
to buy the endorsed product
or service.
To maintain the positive image
in front of the media.
ControlCompany can completely
control the ad.
Negligible control as the story
can be pitched but depends
on the media on its usage.
PlacementGuranteedNo Gurantee
As long as the money
is being provided for endorsement,
the ad will be broadcasted or
The story could be published
once only.

CredibilityLess credibilityHigh credibility

What is Advertising?

Advertising is a paid technique where the product or service owner pays an amount to endorse their product/service on every possible medium. The agenda behind promoting is to induce the targeted audience to buy that product or avail of that service. The ad will be on-air till the owner is paying for it.

The ad is a less credible form of promotion as the company promotes what they are given and it’s up to the customer if they want to believe it or not. It is a one-way communication where the company would promote what they are given till the customer wants it. Since the company has full control over it, the placement factor is very high.

The agenda behind the advertisement is to generate sales rather than build a reputation. Here money promotes a determining factor for the way a product will be endorsed. Nowadays celebrities and public figures are approached for product advertisements.

The ad can be aired either via print media or via digital media or both mediums could be used if the owner desires. Print media is a written form of media that uses newspapers, journals, magazines, billboards for promotion whereas digital form could be audio/video or both and uses television, radio, social media, or many digital mediums. It makes the reach possible in both rural and urban areas.

What are Public Relations?

Public Relations or PR, is a strategic practice that is earned for a longer period. Its agenda is to let the brand establish a good image in front of the media that will in return reach a large audience. The company provides the story and pitches it to the media but it depends solely on the media whether they want to publish that story or not. They had the control to manipulate it according to their will.

Here the communication is two-way where the company listens and responds. There is no guarantee of placement. The authenticity of the product and media exposure can increase sales significantly. The mode could either be internal or external. Influencers are nowadays a big deal in public relations where they get paid to endorse the product or sometimes they review it of their will and the influenced audience buys that product.

Employees, Media, Customers play a major role in public relations. It helps in gaining a dedicated base of followers or customers to that brand. Press conferences and press releases are some instances of public relations.

A Public Relation is a powerful tool due to its high credibility since validation is needed from a third party. It can only be aired once. The control is completely at the end of the third person where the company’s goodwill and reputation work in favor. It is a kind of free publicity where word of mouth matters.

Main Difference Between Advertising And Public Relations

  1. Advertising is paid media whereas public relations is earned media.
  2. Unlike Advertising, Public Relations is highly credible since the third party’s validation is needed here.
  3. The advertisement could be aired till the owner is paying for it but public relation strategy could be done once.
  4. The purpose behind advertising is to generate sales but public relations works on building reputation.
  5. Unlike Public Relations, Advertising is controlled by a company.
  6. Unlike Public Relations, there is a guarantee of placement of an advertisement.


Both advertising and public relations are powerful and vital tools for product/service endorsement. Since advertising is paid form of media, the large audience could be targeted at once unlike public relations that depends on the way it is exposed and since it is free strategy, it takes time to evolve. Both tools are effective and can be seen on different channels.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23736992.2016.1258993
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/6870a23dd00fcb80660f301150f12f8b/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=49209
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QWTyDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=advertising+vs+public+relations&ots=BtqhSjKKqM&sig=SswWW3MbgP4RjuhRC5MWBRFLQz4