Find out what are the 5 differences between ATL and BTL that you need to know to apply in your marketing strategy – WAU

When we talk about topics related to boosting brands and promoting products, the key points within Digital Marketing, such as Advertising and ATL and BTL Marketing, are part of the development of promotional campaigns. For this reason, in this article we will explain these concepts and their differences.

With the arrival of technology and mobile devices, brands had to innovate in the way they advertise, a fact that allowed rethink marketing strategies and advertising.

That’s why it’s so important that you understand more about ATL and BTL advertising and marketing. In this article you will see:

Ready to find out? Good reading!

What do ATL and BTL mean?

These concepts emerged in the world of advertising campaigns in the 50s, since P&G, a brand of products for mass consumption, started to pay different values ​​to different advertising agencies, making the practice, from that moment, a standard.

Now see what each of the acronyms means.

ATL Advertising

The acronym is an abbreviation for Above The Line, or above the line. It is a term that refers to all advertising and marketing actions that are aimed at a massive audience, without any type of segmentation.

It is often used to develop brands, promoting consumer appreciation of the product. This type of advertising seeks reach a lot of people, but without really addressing those with interests related to the company. ATL advertising offers 3 main benefits, which we will see below.

1. Better reach

When we use this type of advertising, the focus is on broadcasting through mass media, such as radio, television or the press – media that still has millions of users today.

2. Connection with the audience

The media mentioned has the advantage of using images or broadcasting spots on television and carrying a much clearer message to connect with the public.

3. Greater brand awareness

Taking a brand in the eyes of many potential customers undoubtedly favors awareness about the company or the product, which increases brand awareness.

Well, now that we know the main benefits of advertising Above The Line, let’s look at the other side of the coin, the Below The Line.

BTL Advertising

BTL advertising, or Below The Line, which means below the line, it is not, in fact, an opposite concept to the previous one. Therefore, it is important to make it clear that ATL and BTL are not antonyms.

In short, BTL advertising refers to promotional activities that are direct, memorable and, above all, specific. This type of advertising aims to reach a very specific segment of the audience or the total set of consumers.

For this reason, BTL uses very clear marketing strategies and planning, in which at conversions are the main objective.

Now that the central concepts of this article have been defined, it is time to mention the benefits. In this case, we can say that BTL advertising stands out for 4 main points.

1. High level of segmentation

This type of promotion focuses on directing the message to very specific segments of the public that demonstrate interests and tastes related to the brand or product.

This ensures that, in fact, there will be a willingness on the part of the public to consume, or at least analyze the characteristics of the product in question or the company.

2. Better ROI

All dissemination efforts are oriented, that is, there is a control of the direction of the message. In addition, these results are much easier to measure, which guarantees a higher return on investment.

3. Easy control

In this case, the actions are easy to manage and monitor. Therefore, it is very simple to make adjustments to the promotion strategy, even after the start, in order to boost the good use of the allocated capital.

4. Tailored strategies

The main highlight of BTL is that all strategies and plans are made according to the needs of a very specific group of potential customers, and that is what makes it so effective.

Finally, let’s define the most striking differences between such types of advertising. Keep reading to find out!

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What are the differences between ATL and BTL?

As already mentioned, ATL and BTL are not necessarily rivals or opposites. But without a doubt, there are differences that, depending on the conditions or intentions of the advertisements, may lead the company to have to decide for one or the other.

Below we will see the main differences.

Means of dissemination

ATL advertising and marketing use traditional media, such as radio, television, press and billboards. On the other hand, BTL relies on product placement, advergaming, displays, Direct Marketing, online advertising and sponsorships.


While ATL advertising uses a very corporate and neutral message for different audiences, BTL focuses on campaigns with a high level of creativity and ingenuity.


The difference between ATL and BTL at this point is speed. After all, while ATL is slow to deliver the public’s response, BTL tends to generate almost instant feedback.


There is a big difference between ATL and BTL here. ATL uses mass media, in which it is almost impossible to measure the level of impact – only through surveys on the streets or by telephone.

BTL advertising, because it is so specific and direct, allows you to study and analyze the levels of effectiveness with some ease.


ATL tends to be most effective when targeting increasingly large audiences. On the other hand, BTL is efficient when using direct communication channels with specific consumers.

As you have seen, each of these strategies has advantages and disadvantages. However, there is no rule that says they cannot be used at the same time, that is, use ATL and BTL in the same campaign to generate a higher level of response.

Did you like the article? Do you want to continue learning about advertising? We are sure that you will love our complete material on native advertising versus Content Marketing!