Indirect advertising occurs when a business chooses to not simply promote a product, but instead work to establish a relationship with the people that read, hear and see the advertising. Indirect advertising is the opposite of direct advertising, which explicitly tells potential consumers that they should buy a specific product.
Indirect advertising is often employed by businesses on social media. Instead of asking people on Facebook or Twitter to buy specific products, advertisers instead choose to promote a brand, encourage an action or learn more about an audience. Though this can help foster goodwill between a company and potential consumers, some organizations have difficulty employing indirect advertising tactics because the return on investment is more difficult to measure than it is with direct advertising.
One of the advantages of indirect advertising is that it does allow an organization to be more authentic and natural with the ways it communicates to potential customers. The success of indirect advertising is largely measured in goodwill and sentiment — not in sales or visits to a website. Those companies that devote resources toward developing indirect advertising techniques are often able to establish long-term relationships with customers because there is not as much pressure for potential customers to buy.