top of page

The Difference between Fast Ads, Social, Agile, and Programmatic

The advertising world has gone through many iterations, and generations during the digital revolution. First there was social, then programmatic, followed by agile, and now Fast Advertising. The world of advertising has seen many changes as of the past few years so how is Fast Advertising any different? Let’s break down the differences between these methods and fast advertising to help give you a clear idea of where there are similarities and stark differences.

First let’s start with a basic definition:

Fast Advertising is an emerging marketing strategy that plugs brands into real-time cultural and social trends. By rapidly sensing and responding to opportunities in culture, brands deepen relevance at unprecedented speed and scale. Fast Advertising helps brands #winthemoment.

Now let's compare this to other modern methods like Social, Agile, and Programatic.

Fast Advertising vs Social Media

Social media opened up the doors for a new revolution in media and advertising. The big innovation for brands was the ability to be their own publisher. This simple fact allows brands to interact with their audience in real time. Just hit send. By nature social media is fast, but there are still differences between the two methods.

First and foremost the biggest difference between social and Fast Advertising is that social is a channel, where Fast Advertising is a method that can be applied to any channel. Even social efforts can be enhanced through fast methods. #oneminutebriefs on Twitter is a great example of a fast method used in social campaigns.

Fast Advertising begins with a sensing cycle, where the brand is listening to their audience. This is often the same for social media. Social media marketing is often responsive to the market. Brands also use social listening tools to find new signals to influence other efforts.

Creation time of content is also similar in both instances. Social media content is often created quickly. Responses to conversations often happen in real time, and social ads are often created and deployed quicker than other channels and formats. However social ad campaigns can follow traditional creative processes rendering them slow. The timeline for creation for social campaigns varies based on the size of the campaign and company. Small companies often create ads quickly where large brands may take months to get a campaign out the door. The more that is at risk, the longer it usually takes.

Social media and Fast Advertising are similar but not the same. The main similarities between the two methods are they both driven by a sense and response cycle, can be deployed in near real time, and are often designed to be a part of a conversation. The main difference between social media is that fast advertising is a method that can be applied to any channel and social is a channel.

Fast advertising is a method that can be used to up level your social advertising if it takes you longer than a few days to get a social ad out the door. For small brands and businesses who do not need to test their copy or creative before putting it on the market social media and fast advertising will be very similar with the only difference being the channels of deployment.

Fast Advertising vs Agile Advertising

Agile is a method of production. It has been applied to just about everything including advertising. Agile advertising and marketing does allow brands to move much quicker, and Fast Advertising could be considered an agile method, but the two approaches are quite different.

Both Agile and Fast Advertising are iterative methods of creation.They both work from an idea, rapidly test concepts, and then deploy tested and proven products. While they are both iterative there are many differences between them.

First is that Agile can be both a process and a structure. The agile process is iterative, while agile structure has to do with how your teams are set up. Agile teams often work in pods with a layer of shared services supporting them. This is different from traditional marketing and advertising teams who work in traditional hierarchical structures. Fast Advertising is just a process and not a new operations structure.

Agile is also focused on creating the same thing, but faster. Fast Advertising is focused on creating something different, not just something faster. When brands embrace the idea of fast advertising they begin to see ads in a new light, and can begin to use them in new ways. Fast ads are designed to keep a brand in a market by staying relevant to the conversation happening in real time via traditional advertising channels.

Both Fast Advertising and Agile are more like whiskey and Bourbon. All Bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. The same applies here. All Fast Ads are produced in an agile format but not all brands following agile marketing and advertising are creating Fast Ads. They are both iterative processes of creation, but Fast is focused on leveraging traditional advertising channels to have a real time conversation with the market.

Fast Advertising vs Programmatic

Modern advancements in advertising technology have opened up a wide world of automated methods. Programmatic ad buying and deployment, dynamic creative optimization (DCO), and even AI created content are all changing the way brands produce and deploy advertising. These methods speed up time to market, however they are not Fast Methods specifically.

Programmatic, DCO’s, and even AI allow brands to put the right message in front of their audience at the right time. The goal of this technology is to optimize conversions on ads through a variety of methods. Programmatic allows for better targeting of the ads, and real time deployment across a wide landscape, while DCO’s and AI allow for the creative aspects of the ads to be hyper personalized in real time. The methods combined allow for brands to pre select a target audience, and fill up their ad cannon with a large range of creative assets letting the technology make the right combination in the moment.

Where modern ad-tech is about optimization, Fast Advertising is about aligning to the conversation or cultural moment. They have different goals. Ad-tech is designed to drive higher conversion rates, while Fast Ads are designed to drive higher brand affinity.


Fast Advertising is an emerging method of marketing where brands leverage traditional marketing channels to converse with their audience in near real time. In this way it is very similar to social media, however it is not bound by a channel. Fast advertising is an iterative process, which makes it an agile process, however not all agile programs are fast. Finally Fast Ads are often deployed via modern ad-tech. Not all programs deployed via modern ad-tech are fast, as they may have taken months to plan and create. Fast ads require the entire process to be executed within 7 days. There are many similarities, and differences between the three methods but the main difference is the total time of the effort, and the goal. Fast Advertising is designed to help a brand win the moment, and break through to their audience in a new way.


The Fast Ad Blog

Find the latest trends, examples, and ideas on how to move fast. 

bottom of page