Above the Line Marketing

Above-the-line marketing or ATL is a mass media promotion that optimizes the brand-reach to the widest audience market. Above the line advertising revolves around different media such as radio, print media (newspapers, magazines, and billboards) TV, etc.

What is Above the Line Marketing?

Above the line marketing is utilizing mass media for wide-spread brand-building advertising by catering to the broader audience groups. It is the exact opposite of BTL or below-the-line advertising/marketing.

When it comes to Above Line Marketing vs Below the Line BTL Marketing analysis, BTL caters to a more targeted and specific audience. USP of ATL advertising and marketing is associated with the potential reach, but it lacks relevancy in comparison to BTL marketing.

An example of Above Line advertising can be a television campaign run by an online education company. The ATL ad would be aired across the nation that all the viewers can see simultaneously. This way, above-the-line advertising might build general brand awareness and goodwill of the business.

Above the Line Vs Below the Line Advertising (ATL BTL)

Analysis of ATL and BTL advertising is an important aspect of direct marketing, digital marketing, and different promotional activities and campaigns. Both of these line methods of marketing and advertising target specific marketing purposes and offer a related return on investment.

Advertising above the line is traditionally proper when the product or service needs to mass-marketed. The potential reach of the product is relatively high.

On the contrary, Below line marketing is directed towards a targeted and small group of audiences.

The media outlets such as newspapers, TV, and Magazines all fall under Above line marketing. Sponsorships, Catalogues, Brochures, and direct mail and mail campaigns fall under below-the-line marketing.

Brand awareness is relatively high in the Above line marketing, where the focus on segments is more prevalent in Below line marketing. Above the line or ATL is great for grabbing the limelight, whereas the efficiency of Below line marketing can be measured quantitatively.

The reach of Above line marketing is unparalleled, whereas building relationships is the main agenda of Below line marketing.

Above the line Marketing promotional activities

An extensive set of audiences regularly consumes various media channels like print, TV, social media, digital marketing, etc. These media channels offer a great opportunity to the brands to showcase their true potential and grab consumers’ maximum attention.

This is also the fastest way to build a brand reputation, goodwill, and awareness. In ATL, a broader set of audience is targeted and some of the media channels that are used for advertising above the line are:

1. Television Advert

There is hardly any household that doesn’t own a television set, and advertising on television is quite expensive. On the flip side, it reaches maximum potential buyers.

2. Newspaper/Magazine Advert

The potential reach may not be as high as television, but it also attracts good views. This is also a cheaper alternative to advertising on television.

3. Radio Advert

The significance may be dwindling nowadays, but radios’ mass media outreach cannot be denied. Moreover, these are way cheaper options compared to the other two mentioned above. S, it’s a good alternative for budget-conscious brands.

4. Outdoor Billboard

The usage of billboards is typical in urban areas, especially on the main roads. The brands can expect excellent visibility and an upturn in sales using this method.

5. Cinema Advert

In cinema theatres, commercial breaks can be an excellent opportunity to promote brands. This has been a successful method for quite a few years now.

6. Premier League football sponsorship

The biggest football league globally, moreover football is the most popular sport. Many people all across the globe tune into premier league football every weekend. So, it provides an excellent opportunity for global products to shine.

Above the Line vs Below the Line vs Through The Line Advertising

Above the Line vs Below the Line vs Through The Line Advertising

ATL BTL and TTL are the 3 line methods of line advertising, brand building, and brand awareness. They all serve specific purposes.

1. Above the Line ATL Below the Line BTL

ATL and BTL campaigns are exactly the opposite of each other. ATL targets a mass audience while BTL campaigns target a specific audience segment. ATL strategies have a very broad reach and they are largely untargeted while in BTL, a specific set of target customers are targeted.

Running ads on TV is a part of ATL strategies while sending email to a specific audience group is BTL. So, their definitions are polar opposite, plus their way of getting conversions is also exactly different. ATL is best for optimizing mass media penetrations and conversions while BTL will be better if your marketing terms revolve around targeting a specific market segment. An agency would decide ATL or BTL strategy as per the types of audience groups brands want to include in their target audiences.

ATL Media

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspaper/magazine ads
  • Cinema
  • Billboards

BTL Media

  • Door to door sales
  • Telemarketing
  • Direct mail
  • Field Marketing
  • Exhibitions
  • PPC
  • Email
  • Exhibition
  • Telemarketing

2. ATL and TTL

After ATL BTL analysis, another confusion occurs between ATL and TTL marketing. Here it is important to understand that TTL kind of marketing is really an integrated approach in which audiences are targeted by using both BTL and ATL campaigns.

TTL marketing methods are used for reaching the customer base, optimize awareness, generate conversions and increase return on investment. Social media campaigns can integrate both ATL campaigns and BTL campaigns.

3. Different Activities of ATL BTL TTL Promotion

The traditional separation of the line advertising goes as follows-

Above the line: ‘Brand Building’ related advertising solely

Below the line: Direct and response-driven marketing and advertising solely

Through the line: ATL methods used for feeding leads into BTL based campaigns

4. ATL BTL TTL Line Advertising difference Examples

ATL Marketing Example

As the image shows that it is geared toward raising brand awareness and optimize brand building. The campaign ensures a vast reach. It does not have any direct response element here, so it will never come in the category of BTL or TTL.

BTL Marketing Example

BTL Marketing Example

This BTL image easily differentiates ATL and BTL. It is one of the best BTL marketing campaigns in which free product samples are offered face-to-face to people in cities or local towns.

TTL Marketing Example

TTL Marketing Example

Such kind of advertising is normally aired nationally, and it helps in building brand awareness, plus it also includes the direct response element which makes it through the line advertising.

Above the Line Advertising Benefits

Above-the-line advertising has many advantages as it reaches a larger audience and boosts brand awareness. Larger corporations generally opt for this, as ATL ads are generally costly. Some of their key benefits are-

1. Brand awareness

Above-the-line advertising is best for boosting brand awareness, as they do promotion. on a very large scale. ATL has an impressive impact on brand recognition as well.

2. Attention-grabbing

The use of audio and visuals in above-the-line advertising makes the process attention-grabbing. Being an appealing advertising strategy, the ATL campaign draws in the attention of target audiences.

3. Reach

Above-the-line strategies are the most effective advertising strategy in reaching a large audience. Businesses that opt for this type of line advertising always enjoy a good return on investment.


1. Is SEO an ATL or BTL?

Though SEO campaigns are quite effective in optimizing the online presence, they run in a targeted manner as a direct marketing campaign. In SEO, campaigns are targeted towards the local or global audience segments relevant to a business model, and that is why they are BTL strategies.

2. Is Social Media an ATL or BTL?

Social media campaigns or ads can be well targeted as per the relevant audience or market segment that makes them BTL marketing.

Wrap Up!

On the concluding note, we hope you would have understood what is above-the-line marketing and how it helps in widespread brand building.

While BTL is target-specific, ATL is effective in widening the reach and presence. So, you should opt for the one that suits the needs of your brand and spending plan. You can also opt for TTL if you want to make a balance in between ATL BTL.

However, ATL is the fastest way of advertising and marketing to accomplish brand recognition.

Now it is your turn to tell us which line advertising type is best-suited for your brand?