For us this a topic that is highly debated in the office because these are services we offer to clients they both do the same thing but in different ways.
PR is more personable and informative. It gives your targeted consumers an insight into your business, your ethos and its aims and objectives. PR covers things such as Press Releases, Press Conferences, Merchandise giveaways Events, etc.
Someone can come to your business launch event and know instantly whether they will buy into your company, because they are seeing what your offering first hand.
PR can also hinder your business if it's not done right whereas Adverts leave more to the imagination.
Adverts, whether they are placed online, in publications or even on the radio gives you limited space to share so much information. Though it reaches a large target audience, a lot of factors go in to the price.
Size - most ad spaces that are online or published are measured by centimeters or by the divisions of an A4 page. The more space you want the more money it is to feature.
Campaigns - now you have the advert up, how long the host publishes for is another factor that affects the price.
Wherever your advert features, whether its on a blog, newspaper, billboard or in a magazine the prices will vary.
Having heard both which would you think is cheaper?
PR is actually cheaper than Advertising. With PR you can write your own press release and send them to editors. If it's interesting they will publish it because they feel it's something their readers would want to read about.
Broadcasting your event on social media outlets, and printing flyers can also draw the attention of your desired audience on a large scale.
Advertising also has its advantages if you want your consumers or potential clients to know about a specific product or service that you're offering or if you're running a promotion that you need the masses to know about then advertising is perfect; because the text will be simple, with catchy phrases that get straight to the point whilst convey the message you desire.
Both things are essential to your business, what you need to determine is which marketing strategy best works for product/service at that given time.