To outline the differences simply.
Promotions come at a cost to you, and add value to the consumer.
Promotions are typically a short term marketing strategy used to increase sales. Marketing a true promotion requires adding value, typically in the form of a discount or a limited time offer. With the exception of Social Media campaigns which can be a message that you promote using media, pictures, or text-based information at no cost, other than the time it takes to post it.
Advertisements, in its purest form, will refer to the message you send via newspaper, website ads, TV, radio commercials.
Advertisements are long term, one-way communications, designed to appeal to your consumer’s emotions to build awareness. Advertising usually takes multiple forms and can be adjusted for branding as a way to let consumers know about your brand’s existence, as opposed to a specific product or offer. You can control the content and pay for the space of your message. Ads are typically placed strategically for a long term outcome for your business whether you provide a service or product. Advertisements are meant to strengthen customer loyalty, inform about a new product or service and to build your companies brand.
“How do I use this?” Personally, when I sit down to create a post or send a tweet, for example, I first have to think is this something I want to use for advertising later or is this a true promotion. Promotions will be short term VS long term. I will evaluate my long term and short term goals and decide the suitable course of action that makes the most sense to me!
In the video below I will go into some more details about this topic, and I will even include some highly recommended books about marketing and advertising below! Thanks for reading!