Advertising is 155 billion business in the USA. Of that 155B, 85B is Digital and 70B is TV(digital platforms are invest ing in video to capture the TV spend. This post captures my understanding of that world.

Why Advertise

What is a brand?

A brand is the way a company, organization, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. More than simply a name, term, design, or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes. Copied from here

Brands, then, live in the mind. They live in the minds of everyone who experiences them: employees, investors, the media, and, perhaps most importantly, customers.

Simply put, brands are perceptions.

The bottleneck for someone using your brand

At the end of the day, many products and brands are fungible, solving an identical customer need, modulo, competing for the same dollar. To pick which brand gets to solve the product (and be paid), the customer needs to think of your brand (discovery), and believe your brand is best.

Advertising both of these.

How much should a brand spend Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Life Time Value (CLTV)

Once a customer is subscribed to something, they likely won’t switch. This means you can compute the CLTV of a customer and so long as the CAC is greater then CLTV, it’s worth spending.

How much do companies spend

Ad spending is high. Some US examples of top advertisers

Brand Spend
Facebook 10B
Comcast 5.75B
Amazon 3.38B
General Motors 3.25B

What percent of gross revenue on advertising?

Industry Spend
Consumer Products 24%
Consumer Services 15%
Tech 15%
Education 11%
Banking 8%

Need to do more vetting from balance sheets, but -

How much do ad platforms make?

In 2019

Company Value
Google 162B
Facebook 71B
Amazon 14B
Youtube 15B

Useful terms

Performance and display

Performance Pay for a call to action. The metric is Cost Per Click (CPM). This is direct marketing in Godin terms. video.

Display Pay to show the ads - the metric is CPM (cost per thousand impressions). This is brand Marketing in Godin terms.

Ad Supply

The number of eyeballs that see your site.

Ad inventory

The number of sellable eyeballs. The ad load x ad supply.

Creators generate “Ad Inventory”, and the social media platform “sell” the inventory buy showing Ads (aka, using their Ad Supply)


Following a user, this is when ads chase you accross sites.

CPM Cost per thousand views

ECPM Effective CPM

Sometimes the view is below the fold in CPM models. Most sellers use an eCPM metric. With display advertising it can be a bit tricky since how long the item is watched can be hard to measure (e.g. muted auto play).

CPC - Cost per click

ROAS - Return on ads Spend

Sales / campaign price

CTR - Call to action (click) by views

How many people click

Video CTR

Start Video/Impression (doesnt work for auto play)

Evergreen content

Content that's valuable for ever. E.g TV buying guides. The more ever green content is, the longer you can have a revenue stream.


Data Mining



Ad Products



Video - Preroll, Inline

Sponsored/Branded Experiences

Snapchat Lenses (snap chat)

A lens in a geofenced area

When watching video/TicTo/Stories you get a video that iss sold from a brand,

Case study monetizing SnapChat

No room in the camera

I’m not sure if this accurate, making it up. Snap had a challenge when it started life, because it was a camera company and there was no where to place ad invetory.

Other concept

Gorilla Marketing

Guerrilla techniques mostly play on the element of surprise. It sets out to create highly unconventional campaigns that catch people unexpectedly in the course of their day-to-day routines. You’ll see what that looks like in some the examples below.

Why video

Half of advertising spend is still on TV. Tech companies want to capture that spending on digital advertising.

How much can a creator make

Not quite related to advertising, but a related concept is how much can creators make. Here is the breakdown for LinusTechTips a tech channel. You see their estimated youtube usage using social blade

Affiliate Marketing

This is when creators say, use square space, it’s because square space gives them a cut of people who sign up, for square space it’s TK dollars per signup.

This is also when creators say “when you click this link I’ll get some money” Amazon used to pay north of 10% cut, but they did a major reduction during CV19.

Ad revenue sharing.

Youtube gives revenue of ~ 7.50$ per 1000 views. If you go viral and get a million videos that’s 7500K views.

Here’s a tool to show how much people make estimated:

Brand sponsorship.

The better deal is to get sponsor ship. E.g. a brand pays you to show their content.

Consumer Payment + Tips

Creators can skip the need for brand influence, and be paid by advertisers directly. Examples of doing this are patreon and tipping jars.


That’s what those t-shirts and hats are about.

Bootstraping - Crowd funding

Examples here are kick starter.