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Understanding Ghost Marketing Strategies and Benefits

  • August 29, 2023
  • Reviewed by: Digital Marketing Experts – Editorial Review Board

Home » Informational » Understanding Ghost Marketing Strategies and Benefits

Ghost Marketing Strategies and Benefits

Boo! Did we startle you? Probably not. But if we were talking about the elusive world of Ghost Marketing, then perhaps we might have. Let’s dive into the mysterious realm of marketing’s phantasmal side, where things get done in the shadows, and brands shine without ever revealing their behind-the-scenes specters.

Have you ever wondered how some businesses offer a wide array of services while maintaining a consistent brand image? The secret lies in Ghost Marketing. This innovative marketing approach allows companies to harness the power of collaboration while keeping their brand identity intact. Ready to uncover the mysteries of Ghost Marketing? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

Ghost Marketing is a white label marketing strategy characterized by anonymity, customization and scalability.

It offers agencies the opportunity to focus on core competencies while expanding services without extensive investment. Clients benefit from faster go-to-market strategies, access to specialized skills and tools, along with cost effective solutions.

That! Company is an experienced Ghost Marketing provider offering comprehensive services for successful project outcomes.

Unveiling Ghost Marketing Definition and Purpose

Unveiling Ghost Marketing: Definition and Purpose

Remember those old vinyl records termed ‘white labels’? The analogy moved to marketing, where services were offered under another company’s brand. Now, much like any ghost story evolving over generations, we have “Ghost Marketing”. It’s the same principle: unseen hands doing the work, while another brand takes the accolades

Benefits provided by Ghost Marketing include expedited go-to-market strategies, access to specialized skills and tools, along with cost-effective marketing and brand management solutions.

Ghost Marketing White Label Marketing are the Same

Ghost Marketing and White Label Marketing are the Same

Despite seeming differences, Ghost Marketing and White Label Marketing share a common underlying concept. Both strategies involve one business providing marketing services or products to another business, which then rebrands and markets them as their own.

This strategy empowers businesses to:

Broaden their service range without internal development

Focus on core competencies

Extend services without hefty investment

Offer cost-efficient solutions to their clients.

Examples of Ghost Marketing and White Label Marketing services include:

Digital services like SEO, SEM, and Social Media Management

Content creation and marketing

Website and app development

Marketing software and tools

Why the New Moniker Whispers in the Night

Why the New Moniker? Whispers in the Night…

Marketing has always been about resonating with times and audiences. “White Label” is so last season, and let’s face it, ghosts have more personality! The term “ghost” beautifully captures the essence: an unseen force making things happen. Plus, it gives us the delightful opportunity to use Halloween puns all year round.

Key Characteristics of Ghost Marketing

Key Characteristics of Ghost Marketing (White Label Marketing)

Anonymity, customization, and scalability are the three key attributes characterizing Ghost Marketing. These characteristics enable a seamless collaboration between the third-party agency and the client, ensuring that the client’s brand identity remains intact while benefiting from the expertise of the ghost marketing provider.

Ghost marketing provides a unique opportunity for businesses to leverage the expertise of a third-party agency.

Anonymity The client doesnt know about the provider

Anonymity: The client doesn’t know about the third-party agency

Anonymity is a crucial aspect of Ghost Marketing. Clients can maintain control over their brand and reputation by maintaining the anonymity of the third-party agency while outsourcing their marketing efforts to a white label marketing agency .

This arrangement also benefits the agency, allowing them to provide services to multiple clients without their brand being linked to any specific one, thus preserving their reputation and credibility. To ensure anonymity, a white label approach should be implemented, enabling the client to benefit from the services provided while the third-party agency remains anonymous.

Customization Services branded as the Agencys Own

Customization: Products/services can be branded as the Agency’s Own

Customization is another essential feature of Ghost Marketing. By tailoring products or services to their specifications and branding, agencies can present them as offerings to customers. This flexibility allows agencies to focus on their core capabilities, expand their services without heavy investment, and manage more clients and projects.

On the other hand, clients can enjoy faster go-to-market strategies, specialized skills and tools, and cost-efficient solutions. Common white label/ghost marketing services include digital services like SEO, SEM, and Social Media Management, content creation and marketing, and marketing software and tools.

Scalability Quick way for companies to expand

Scalability: Quick way for companies to expand their offerings

Scalability is the ability of companies to expand their offerings and adapt to changing market demands swiftly. Ghost Marketing allows businesses to scale up or down as needed without the constraints of physical inventory or storefronts. This flexibility enables companies to meet increased demand or explore new markets effectively.

Agencies can emphasize their core competencies and extend their services without considerable investment. Clients, in turn, can benefit from faster go-to-market strategies, specialized skills and tools, and cost-effective solutions.

Digital services commonly offered as white label/ghost marketing services include:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Social Media Management

Benefits of Ghost Marketing For Agencies

Benefits of Ghost Marketing (White Label) For Agencies:

Ghost Marketing can be a real “boo-st” for agencies! By adopting this spectral strategy, agencies can concentrate on their “core-porations,” expand their offerings without frightening financial commitments, and juggle more clients without any supernatural struggles.

This means more spook-tacular communication, a growing graveyard of customers, profit that’s off the ghostly charts, and an overall business that’s eerily successful

Each agency possesses unique skills and capabilities that confer a competitive edge. Agencies can focus on their core competencies through Ghost Marketing by outsourcing non-core tasks to specialized providers.

This not only streamlines the agency’s operations but also ensures that they deliver the best possible results to their clients.

Expansion of services without extensive investment

Agencies can expand their service offerings without significant investment in resources or infrastructure through Ghost Marketing. By partnering with third-party providers, agencies can tap into a vast pool of specialized skills and tools, allowing them to offer their clients a wider range of services.

This translates into increased reach, improved profitability, and better client satisfaction.

Ability to handle more clients and projects

With Ghost Marketing, agencies can:

Take on more clients and projects without overstretching their resources or compromising the quality of their services

Outsource specific tasks to specialized providers

Ensure that each project receives the attention and expertise it deserves

Improve client satisfaction and achieve better overall results

Benefits of Ghost Marketing For Clients

Benefits of Ghost Marketing (White Label) For Clients:

Clients also stand to gain numerous benefits from Ghost Marketing. Some of these benefits include:

Unlocking a treasury of expertise and tools by partnering with specialized providers

Enabling faster go-to-market strategies

Acquisition of specialized skills

Enjoying cost-effective solutions

Faster go-to-market strategies

In today’s fast-paced business environment, speed is crucial. Clients can accelerate the launch of new products and services by outsourcing tasks to external agencies through Ghost Marketing. These agencies possess the expertise and tools necessary for executing marketing campaigns swiftly and efficiently.

This ultimately results in faster go-to-market strategies and a competitive advantage for the client thanks to their effective marketing strategy.

Access to specialized skills and tools

Clients can gain access to specialized skills and tools which may surpass their internal capabilities, through Ghost Marketing. Outsourcing specific tasks to field experts allows clients to ensure their marketing campaigns meet the highest standards, leading to improved outcomes and robust return on investment.

Cost-effective solutions

Budget constraints are often a significant challenge for businesses when it comes to marketing. Providing cost-effective solutions, Ghost Marketing enables clients to avail specialized services without the need for in-house infrastructure and resources.

This translates into significant cost savings, making it easier for clients to achieve their marketing objectives without breaking the bank.

Common White Label Ghost Marketing Services 2

Common White Label/Ghost Marketing Services

White Label/Ghost Marketing encompasses a wide range of services, catering to the diverse needs of businesses across various industries. These services can be customized to meet each client’s unique requirements, guaranteeing a tailored solution that yields optimal results.

Digital services play a crucial role in modern marketing strategies. Ghost Marketing providers typically offer services such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and Social Media Management. These services help businesses enhance their online visibility, drive traffic to their websites, and engage with their target audience on popular social media platforms.

Content is king in today’s digital landscape. Ghost Marketing providers often specialize in content creation and marketing services, which include:

SEO services

Social media management

Email marketing

PPC advertising

Influencer marketing

By creating high-quality, engaging content, businesses can attract and retain their target audience, ultimately driving conversions and generating revenue.

In addition to providing specialized services, Ghost Marketing providers also offer access to cutting-edge marketing software and tools. These tools include:


These tools enable businesses to streamline their marketing efforts, track performance, and optimize campaigns for maximum results.

That Company Expertise and Ghostly Services

The Leading Ghost Marketing Agency: That! Company Expertise and Services

With decades of field experience and a reputation for yielding exceptional results for their clients, That! Company stands as the premier ghost marketing agency. Offering a comprehensive suite of services, including:

Email Marketing

marketing software and tools

That! Company provides a one-stop solution for businesses looking to leverage the power of Ghost Marketing.

With a team of experienced professionals and a commitment to delivering the highest quality of service, that is our goal.

Founded in 2007 – Decades of Experience

Having been established in 2007, That! Company brings years of industry experience to the table. This wealth of expertise enables the team at That! Company to:

Stay ahead of the curve

Provide clients with cutting-edge solutions

Deliver real results

Offer a strong return on investment.

Technologically Built to Protect Your Brand

Technology plays a critical role in safeguarding a brand, and That! Company is no exception. By offering state-of-the-art technologies such as:

Private Label Project Management System for Communication with your clients

Private Label Sales Support (Yes, we meet with your prospects too)

Custom Caller ID

That! Company ensures that their clients’ brands are protected from ever revealing that a 3rd party is doing the work.

Worldwide Team of Experts

Boasting a global team of experts, That! Company encompasses professionals with diverse skills and expertise across various fields.

These experts work together to provide clients with tailored marketing solutions that achieve the best possible outcomes, ensuring the success of each project.

How to Choose a White Label Ghost Marketing Provider

How to Choose a White Label (Ghost) Marketing Provider

Hunting for the perfect Ghost Marketing partner? Don’t get spooked! While it might seem like chasing shadows at first, with a bit of spirit-ed investigation, you can find the perfect phantom for the job.

Understand Your Boo-siness Needs: Before you embark on this ghostly quest, clarify your needs. From content creation to digital hauntings (campaigns), be sure you know what services will make your brand glow in the dark.

Reputation Recon: Ghost Marketing may be about invisibility, but their past results should haunt in a good way! Scour reviews, ask for eerie success tales (case studies), and probe for otherworldly references.

List of Spook-tacular Services: Dig into their spectral specialties. Some ghosts might excel in conjuring content, while others might weave SEO spells. Ensure their offerings align with your business potions.

Transparent Talk, Ghostly Walk: Even in the ethereal world, you want your ghosts to chatter (clearly). Get a feel for their communication rituals – reporting frequency, mystical tools, and a go-to ghoul for concerns.

Costs: No Sneaky Spirits: While we love surprises during Halloween, unexpected costs aren’t welcome. Ensure there’s clarity in their pricing, and no hidden charges lurking behind the tombstone.

Flexibility: Ghosts that Adapt: Your business might evolve, and you’d want ghosts that can float along. Ensure they can shift, twist, and turn as the winds of your business change.

Cultural Seance: It’s important that your Ghost Marketing provider vibes with your brand’s aura. After all, you want to create harmony in your haunted mansion, not clashes.

Checklist of criteria to consider (e.g., reputation, expertise, communication, pricing)

Evaluating potential Ghost Marketing providers involves considering key factors such as:


By conducting a thorough assessment of each provider based on these criteria, businesses can ensure that they select a provider that meets their specific needs and delivers the highest quality services.

The importance of setting clear expectations

Clear expectations are vital when choosing a Ghost Marketing provider. By being as specific as possible and ensuring that both parties are in agreement on the project scope, timeline, budget, and other pertinent details, businesses can minimize the risk of misunderstandings and ensure a smooth collaboration.

Other uses of Ghost

Other uses of “Ghost”

Despite its common association with paranormal experiences and supernatural phenomena, the term ghost can also bear metaphorical meanings in various related contexts.

In this case, we’ve explored its use in the world of marketing, highlighting its unique applications and benefits for businesses and clients alike.

Ghost Commerce – Reselling Another’s Product Under Your Brand

The “ghost” concept in marketing also extends to Ghost Commerce. It involves promoting and selling products or services without actually owning them, typically through affiliate marketing and content marketing strategies.

Like Ghost Marketing, Ghost Commerce allows agencies to focus on their core competencies, expand their services without major investments, and manage more clients and projects, while clients can benefit from faster go-to-market strategies, specialized skills and tools, and cost-effective solutions.

In conclusion, Ghost Marketing offers a powerful solution for businesses looking to expand their service offerings, maintain brand consistency, and achieve better results. By leveraging the expertise of third-party providers, businesses can enjoy a range of benefits, including faster go-to-market strategies, access to specialized skills and tools, and cost-effective solutions. So, whether you’re an agency or a client, it’s time to embrace the power of Ghost Marketing and watch your business soar to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions 7

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ghost marketing.

Ghost marketing is an undetectable form of marketing in which businesses employ third-party companies or individuals to create and promote content on their behalf.

This strategy allows them to reach a broader audience without disclosing their involvement.

What are examples of ghost brands?

Some of the biggest ghost brands include DoorDash , Uber Eats, and Grubhub. All these brands offer their own private labels, allowing customers to order food from a variety of restaurants without ever seeing the restaurant’s branding.

How does Ghost commerce work?

Ghost commerce is a form of online retail that does not require any physical presence. It involves promoting products and directing customers to other retailers without setting up a store or developing their own products.

This is similar to dropshipping, influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing.

How does Ghost Marketing differ from White Label Marketing?

Ghost Marketing involves one business providing marketing services or products to another, which then markets them as their own.

White Label Marketing works in a similar way but also includes rebranding of the product or service.

What are the key characteristics of Ghost Marketing?

Ghost Marketing is a form of digital marketing characterized by anonymity, customization, and scalability.

It is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, as it allows them to reach a wide audience without having to invest in expensive advertising campaigns.

Ghost Marketing is also highly customizable.

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Mastering the Art of Ghost Marketing Strategy

Ghost Marketing Strategy

marketing, staying ahead of the competition is crucial. Ghost marketing, a strategy that has gained traction in recent years, is proving to be a game-changer for businesses looking to outmaneuver their rivals in the online realm. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the intricacies of ghost marketing, uncovering its nuances and providing actionable insights that can help your business soar above the rest.

Understanding Ghost Marketing

Ghost marketing is a powerful strategy that revolves around the art of subtlety. It involves creating a strong online presence without explicitly promoting your brand or product. Instead, it relies on engaging content, SEO techniques, and strategic placements to attract and retain a target audience. By doing so, it subtly influences consumer behavior, leading to increased brand recognition and trust.

The Foundations of Ghost Marketing Strategy

1. high-quality content creation.

The cornerstone of any successful ghost marketing strategy is exceptional content. Your website must offer valuable, informative, and engaging content that keeps visitors coming back for more. By consistently producing high-quality articles, blog posts, and multimedia content, you not only establish authority in your niche but also encourage organic growth.

2. Keyword Research and Optimization

To outrank competitors in the online realm, mastering keyword research and optimization is imperative. Thoroughly researching relevant keywords and strategically incorporating them into your content can significantly boost your website’s visibility on search engines.

3. Guest Blogging

Collaborating with authoritative websites in your industry through guest blogging can be a game-changer. It allows you to tap into their audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

4. Social Media Engagement

Effective ghost marketing extends beyond your website. Engaging with your target audience on social media platforms can help build a loyal following and drive traffic to your site.

Crafting a Ghost Marketing Strategy

1. identify your target audience.

Begin by defining your ideal customer profile. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. Tailor your content to resonate with this specific audience.

2. Create Compelling, Non-Promotional Content

Produce content that provides real value to your audience without overtly promoting your brand. This approach builds trust and credibility over time.

3. Consistent Branding

While ghost marketing doesn’t emphasize direct promotion, maintaining a consistent brand identity is vital. This ensures that when your audience is ready to make a purchasing decision, they remember your brand.

4. Leverage SEO Strategies

Optimize your content for search engines by conducting thorough keyword research. Use on-page and off-page SEO techniques to improve your website’s visibility.

5. Analyze and Adapt

Regularly monitor the performance of your ghost marketing strategy through analytics tools. Adjust your approach based on the data to ensure continuous improvement.

The Benefits of Ghost Marketing Strategy

Implementing a successful ghost marketing strategy offers a plethora of benefits:

  • Enhanced brand recognition without the hard sell.
  • Increased organic traffic and search engine ranking.
  • Building long-term customer relationships based on trust.
  • Expanding your online reach through strategic partnerships.
  • Boosted authority and credibility in your industry.

Ghost marketing is not just a buzzword; it’s a powerful strategy that can elevate your brand above the competition. By crafting exceptional content, optimizing for search engines, and engaging with your target audience, you can master the art of ghost marketing and secure a prominent position in the digital landscape. Embrace subtlety, provide value, and watch your online presence flourish. In a world where competition is fierce, ghost marketing can be your secret weapon for success.

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Ghost advertisement explained.

If this is the first time you have heard of a ghost advertisement, don’t fret. Ghost advertising is rising in popularity, but it isn’t as well known as other traditional marketing strategies. As the name suggests, a ghost ad shadows or “ghosts” a conventional ad. Basically, a ghost ad will tell you how effective an ad is. In other words, ghost advertising is a form of web analytics. If you’re new to web analytics, we recommend that you try Google’s free analytics service, Google Analytics . Google’s web analytics and ad management services can make using ghost ads easy. That being said, whether you are a beginner or a veteran when it comes to data analysis, you and your business can benefit from ghost advertisements.

Table of Contents

How A Ghost Advertisement Works

A ghost ad is a cross between a UTM source and an A/B test. A UTM source provides web analytic data on a specific advertisement or webpage. Similar to a ghost ad, a UTM source will tell you how an advertisement is performing and who’s viewing the ad. A/B testing allows you to compare an advertisement or a webpage’s analytic data. Ghost advertisements have a similar function. A key difference between A/B testing and a ghost ad is A/B testing must be randomized. You should see A/B testing as your audience is either receiving ad A or ad B. In other words, A/B testing is an experiment that uses a random sample.

Control Groups

A ghost ad watches over a control group or a group that doesn’t change. In other words, group A sees an ad, and group B doesn’t. Next, it alerts an administrator whenever an ad could have been viewed. Administrators typically belong to an advertising agency. To clarify, a ghost ad predicts how likely an ad would be viewed. A ghost ad can also anticipate a user’s behavior in response to the ad. To summarize, a UTM source gathers analytic data on a specific ad. A/B testing examines how a user will react to an ad. Lastly, a ghost ad forecasts if someone will respond to an ad through data collection.

Ghost Ads vs Ghost Bids vs Ghost Tests

When conducting your own research, you’ll run into terms such as “ghost bids” and “ghost tests.” Ghosts ads, ghost bids, and ghost tests are related but shouldn’t be used interchangeably. To clarify, they’re the same subject matter but have different functions in ghost advertising. A ghost ad is the advertisement the control group encounters that measures ad effectiveness. A ghost bid is the control group. Finally, a ghost test is the process of showing a ghost ad to the control group. A ghost test is also called incrementality testing. To enumerate, ghosting advertising is the process of testing ad effectiveness. The test itself is a ghost test. The ad that is being tested is a ghost ad. Lastly, the control group is known as the ghost bid or the individuals who make a ghost bid.

How to Use A Ghost Ad

Ghost advertising is simple. Similar to A/B testing, there should be at least two groups. The first group will be the non-control group or the group that sees the new ad. The second group will be the control group or the group that won’t see the new ad. The ghost ad then tracks when the non-control group sees your ad. Next, an advertiser can make an offer based on the results of the ghost ad. Essentially, a ghost ad answers the question “Should I make an advertisement for [product or service] or not?”

Google Ads is Google’s online advertising platform. Unlike a ghost ad, you can directly interact with a Google ad. In fact, you encounter Google ads more often than you think. For example, the first search result that has “Ad” next to the URL name is a Google Ad. Ghost advertising is one of Google Ads’ features. Google Ads is a pay-for-service feature, and its prices depend on the services you decide to use. In Google Ads, ghost advertising is often dubbed as a Google Conversion Lift Test. A Google Conversion Lift Test operates the same way as a ghost ad. With a Google Conversion Lift Test or a ghost ad, you can see what part of your audience could have seen your ad and even converted!

Unfortunately, to use Google’s ghost advertising service, you must have a Google team already formulated. Furthermore, you must be approved for testing. However, if you have a Google team and your client (the advertiser) is approved, Google will handle everything. Thereafter, you’ll be given a collection of the acquired data. The testing process can range from one to four months.


For those who don’t have the means to take advantage of ghost advertising through Google Ads, you have other options. Other advertising services outside of Google offer ghost advertising as a part of a package. That being said, ghost advertising is still an emerging marketing strategy. If you decide to complete the metrics by yourself, it’ll be difficult or almost impossible for web analytics beginners. We recommend everyone who is able tries ghost advertising as it’s cheaper and more effective than a PSA or a Placebo Test.

Predicted Ghost Ads

A traditional ghost ad is not as new user friendly as other advertising and marketing strategies. However, predicted ghost ads are a great alternative. As the name suggests, a predicted ghost ad is a ghost ad that gives you a prediction of who could have interacted with the ghost ad. It’s not as definite as a ghost ad, but it offers most of the benefits of traditional ghost advertising. Predicted ghosts ads are cheaper and can target audiences more effectively than other ad effectiveness strategies.

Another alternative to a ghost ad is a dark ad. A dark post is an unpublished post that still exists on your audience’s feeds. For example, if you ever saw a post for a pair of shoes from brand A on your feed but it’s not posted to brand A’s page, it’s because it’s a dark post. You can use dark ads on Instagram and Facebook.


A key difference between a ghost ad and a dark post is, unlike a traditional ghost ad, your audience can see your ad. Try to see a dark post as a ghost ad’s cousin. However, you’re still receiving targeted data based on how your audience responds to an ad. You can learn what ad performed the best and which audience responded the most to it. Furthermore, you can test the effectiveness of your ads without the commitment of an actual social media post. In other words, you don’t have to worry about promoting these posts as you do for your other permanent posts. Learn how to create your own dark posts here.

Why Ghost Ads?

A ghost advertisement can give an advertiser additional security. It’s cheaper, but most importantly, a ghost ad tells an advertiser how their ad could perform. Taking advantage of ghost ads can save you time and money, especially if you’re a business that can’t afford to have an unsuccessful ad campaign.

Why You Should Invest

Unlike PSAs, ghost advertising can measure true ad effectiveness. In other words, the data is more direct and clear. Instead of surveying two different audience types, you receive true comparative data. It measures who was exposed to the ad and who could have been exposed to the ad. Comparatively, with PSAs, you must pay for impressions and it only examines people who were shown the target ad and people who are more likely to view PSAs. Ghosts ads are more cost-effective in the long run and deliver more authentic data.

How Ghost Ads Create Successful Campaigns

Ghosts ad can collect more accurate, authentic, and useful data than other data collection strategies. If you’re aware of how your ad campaign is doing, you’re able to improve its effectiveness and audience reach. You can get beneficial information such as who could have seen the ad and did they convert.

ghost branding definition

To put it in perspective, let’s say we own a successful e-commerce business selling t-shirts. If the ghost ad tells us that our audience made a conversion or clicked on the ad, that means it’s likely they will behave similarly to a different ad. If our competitor received 2000 conversions on a BOGO sale ad, that means we should experience something similar for our BOGO sale ad. In contrast, if the ghost ad tells us that our competitor only received 500 conversions, we know it isn’t a good time to launch our advertising campaign.

In addition to being able to scale the success of an advertising campaign, ghost ads can help us strengthen an ad campaign. For example, if our competitor experienced a low impression and conversion rate for their ad, then we have an idea of what not to do.

Why Ghosts Ads Are Competitive

Ghosts ads can give you a competitive edge. Whether you’re an advertiser or you are selling ad space, you’ll know how an ad will perform. As an advertiser, you can see how your ad will perform before you publish it. As a third-party selling ad space, you’ve more bargaining power when selecting ads to place on your website. Most importantly, ghosts ads aren’t as popular as other ad effectiveness strategies. In other words, you have a competitive advantage over your competitors. Want to know more about ghost ads and how they can fit into your marketing strategy? SEO Design Chicago offers various marketing, SEO, and web analytic services that can help you make the most out of your business. Visit us at and schedule a consultation with us today.

  • What is a ghost advertisement?
  • How to use a ghost ad?
  • What is a ghost bid?
  • Should I use ghost ads?
  • What is a predictive ghost ad?

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Marketing Transformation

What Is a Ghost Ad? How to Use These Tests to Prove Social Advertising Effectiveness

By Liz Alton on October 24, 2019

In the spirit of Halloween, we're asking two important questions: What's a ghost ad, and why should your social advertising team care about them?

For starters, The CMO Survey predicts that social media advertising budgets will double by 2023. In order to generate reasonable ROI with social media ads, measuring their effectiveness is critical—and traditional A/B tests may no longer be enough. Ghost ads provide brands with a new way to evaluate the effectiveness of their social ads strategy.

What Is a Ghost Ad?

According to Think With Google , ghost ads are an ideal solution for measuring ad effectiveness because they offer "apples-to-apples comparisons," letting brands gauge how their ad is received by two separate consumer groups—those targeted and those who would have seen it organically.

Shane O'Neill, director of content for Nanigans, breaks it down even further in an article for the company's blog : "In short, ghost ads monitor a control group and flag when a brand's ad would have been served to a user in that group. An advertiser then bids on that impression using the ghost ad."

When running a social advertising campaign, it's typical to continuously run tests to improve your creative and targeting, as where ads are displayed is the secret sauce of keeping costs down and reaching the right people. Ghost ads help take the guessing game out of how an ad will do and provide a significant departure from previous testing approaches.

Let's take how we determine the ROI of Facebook ads, for example. Most Facebook ads have three parts: an image, a headline, and body copy. There's also the targeting you're using (the audience you're defining to reach with your ad) and where you're telling the algorithms to show your ad. With a traditional campaign, you might run two ads that are completely identical except for one element, such as the image. When you have two different ads being served, you can see which one is more effective with your audience, and then double down your spending on that ad.

The American Marketing Association points out why this approach is flawed: "When measuring incrementality, advertisers need to compare the performance of their campaigns on targeted user populations, against control groups where their ads are not served." In other words, you need a strategy that does more than tell you which option of two ads is more effective—you need a way to determine whether, when it comes to driving action, simply seeing the ad was more effective than not seeing the ad.

Predicting the success of advertising campaigns has historically been both costly and difficult. There were few options available: Brands could use audience segmentation or run a public service announcement (PSA) test. In a PSA test, a brand would run their social ad campaign and then buy social ad space for a nonprofit. Those data sets could be compared to determine how seeing your ad—or not seeing your ad—impacted action. However, there are a wide variety of factors that are hard to control for, including seasonality.

How ghost ads work is a little technical. But with more and more pressure to prove ROI, these tests can be hugely valuable to your marketing team.

Image attribution: Pixabay on Pexels

How Do Ghost Ads Work?

One of the main benefits of ghost ads is that they allow you to test the effectiveness of your efforts without spending on advertising that's not for your brand. (Although, we do want to acknowledge that buying ad space for a worthy nonprofit is a great way to give back!)

In a paper for Simon Business School , the developers of the ghost ad method explain that these ads "can reduce the cost of experimentation, improve measurement precision, deliver the relevant strategic baseline, and work with modern ad platforms that optimize ad delivery in real time."

But how does it work? Instead of buying ad space, a control group is created alongside a noncontrol group. Consumers in the noncontrol group see your ads at the frequency your spending and campaign guidelines dictate. Meanwhile, consumers in the control group see the standard mix of ads they'd see as though your brand wasn't advertising. Ghost ads track when your ad would have been served.

As an advertiser, you bid on the impression that would have been shown. Consumers don't see the ad, but the data is available in the advertiser's dashboard to help answer the question: "Was my advertising more effective than not advertising at all?" Currently, Google and Facebook support ghost ads, with other platforms predicted to soon offer these features as well.

However, more broadly predictive ghost ads are also available. With predictive ghost ads, you can't definitively see if you would have won the impression, but you can get a sense of the probability. Those insights can provide direction in your campaigns and the deeper rationale for the importance of advertising at all.

The Future of Ghost Ads

In a nutshell, the benefits of ghost ads are that they let you answer important questions such as, "Is our advertising effective at all?" When you talk to senior brand stakeholders who are looking at a fixed pot of marketing spending, they shouldn't be left wondering, "What is a ghost ad?" They should, instead, understand how effective advertising efforts have been and the methods in which you used to come to that conclusion.

While traditional A/B testing shows that you're continuously refining your ad performance, ghost ads help you make the case for advertising—or why you should devote your efforts to the conversion potential of a specific platform. Don't let spending on social ads scare your CFO or leadership team. Help them understand that specific, testable methods like ghost ads can take the horror out of any foray into social advertising.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter.

Featured image attribution: Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Liz Alton is a technology and marketing writer, and content strategist, for Fortune 500 brands and creative agencies. Her specialties include marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, cloud, and mobility. She's worked with clients including Adobe, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Twitter, ADP, and Google. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA. She is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism from Harvard University.

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Article: 30 Best Ghost Logo Design Ideas You Should Check

30 Best Ghost Logo Design Ideas You Should Check

ghost branding definition

Created by Joel L. Anderson |

The origins of the ghost logo design can be traced back to the emergence of digital technology and the internet. The early 2000s witnessed a surge in online startups and tech companies, many of which sought to establish a unique visual identity. One such company was Snapchat, a popular multimedia messaging app founded in 2011. Snapchat's iconic ghost logo, known as the "Ghostface Chillah," is often credited as the catalyst for the widespread adoption of ghost-inspired designs.

Moreover, the ghost logo's enigmatic nature and lack of explicit meaning allowed for multiple interpretations, making it adaptable to a wide range of industries and purposes. The ghost symbolizes the ephemeral and transient nature of digital communication, aligning perfectly with the core concept of Snapchat, where messages disappear after being viewed. This symbolism resonated with the evolving digital landscape and captured the attention of other brands looking for a symbol that could represent their own unique narratives.

As the ghost logo gained popularity, it inspired numerous variations and interpretations across different industries. Many companies started adopting ghost-inspired designs as a way to convey a sense of playfulness, friendliness, and approachability. The ghost's a non-threatening and non-corporeal form made it suitable for businesses ranging from technology startups to clothing brands, fostering a connection with their target audiences.

Furthermore, the ghost logo's association with Snapchat, a widely popular and influential platform, helped solidify its recognition and desirability. As Snapchat grew in popularity, its logo became synonymous with the app itself, leading to an increased cultural awareness of ghost-inspired designs. This familiarity paved the way for other businesses to adopt similar visual elements and leverage the recognition and positive associations associated with the ghost logo.

Here are some of the best ghost logo design ideas you can check:

1. Facespook

ghost branding definition

Created by Halo Branding |

  This may look like a Facebook logo, but the letter f icon in the middle is replaced with a white ghost, looking like the letter f. The Facespook logo looks awesome since it has contrasting colors between the background and the white ghost. Blue is going to make people automatically focus on the cute white ghost.

2. Haunted Print Co

ghost branding definition

Created by Akuma.Studio |

What will you convey with the logo? If you are going to print it on dark-colored surfaces, like black shirts, make sure that you use neon colors for the logo. A combination of Tosca and electric violet is going to make your ghost logo look standout when you print it on a black-colored surface.

3. Ryan Lynn

ghost branding definition

Created by Ryan Lynn |

  What kind of ghost do your clients want to use on their logo? If they want a scary and unique ghost logo, create a dog ghost carrying an arm in its mouth. The combination of black and white is going to make the logo look simple yet horror. Black and white are actually the right color to create a horror logo.

4. Lazy ghost

ghost branding definition


  A ghost can help you create a fun and cute logo design. A ghost looking like a melted ice cream is going to make everyone smile when they see the logo. Since the theme of this logo is fun, use soft colors like blue, pink, and yellow. Those colors are going to keep your logo looking nice and less scary. 

5. Justin Loomer

ghost branding definition

Created by Justin Loomer |

  Another way to make a fun logo is by using yellow as the main color. The color of the sun will bring happiness, which means your yellow ghost logo won't look too scary. The face of your ghost will also affect the look. Make it smile, and your ghost logo will be friendly and bring happiness to everyone.

6. Patrick Mahoney

ghost branding definition

Created by Patrick Mahoney |

  Monochromatic colors are the most flexible colors. They can make a scary and serious logo, but those colors can also make your logo look simple, clean, and professional. Use simple lines in white to create a ghost on the black background. Combine it with a minimalist font to make it more professional.

7. Phantom Studio

ghost branding definition

Created by Daniel Bodea |

  Horror movies make people believe that ghosts look scary because of their angry faces. But you can make your ghost look different by making a ghost logo with an angry face but not scary at all. To make your angry ghost look cute, draw a small body with cute little hands. Those small hands look like baby's hands and won't scare anyone.

8. Worldly Spirits

ghost branding definition

Created by Defaced |

  No one actually knows the real look of a ghost or spirit. So basically, you are free to make your own ghost following your imagination. One unique way to make a ghost is like making a genie in a bottle. Draw the ghost and a bottle and make it look like the ghost is trying to escape.

ghost branding definition

Created by Roman |

  Just like humans, ghosts can have feelings and expressions. You can make people see what your ghosts feel with the design you made. This ghost, for example, is a shy ghost that doesn't want anyone to look at its face. This unique idea is going to create a fantastic yet simple logo design.

ghost branding definition

Created by Nick Barbaria |

  When a client wants you to create a retro-styled logo with a ghost on it, be creative in choosing the right fonts for your logo. Curves on the typography are going to make the fonts look more vintage. Combine two to three different fonts along with a cute genie spirit. Monochromatic colors are going to make the logo look cool. Use only two colors on your logo.


ghost branding definition


  A zombie face should be an inspiration for your ghost logo design. Many horror movies make zombies look super scary and ugly. You, too, can use the ugly and scary faces of zombies on your logo. But use neon colors like yellow and purple to make the logo look weird. Feel free to mix and match the ugly face of a zombie with other elements.

12. Soul Fire

ghost branding definition

Created by Alex Carruth |

  Here is another logo inspired by the genie in the bottle. But since the logo is for a coffee shop, the ghost comes out of the glass instead of escaping a bottle. And since the business name contains fire, the ghost looks like a flame or fire. This creative logo has three different elements in one piece. 

13. Ghostly

ghost branding definition

Created by Daniel Bodea |

  Your client may want to use typography on the logo. Choose the typography based on the logo you have created. If the basic design of your ghost logo is round or oval, pick fonts that have rounded edges instead of stiff and sharp edges. This is going to blend both elements and create a smooth unity.

14. PhantomLabs

ghost branding definition

Created by Nikita Lebedev |

  A ghost is a flexible element that is going to allow you to mix and match it with any other element. To create a logo for a lab, for example, place the ghost inside the lab glass. Help everyone knows that it is a ghost inside the glass by adding two eyes on the liquid-like ghost.

15. Spooky Sketches

ghost branding definition

Created by Courtney Askew |

  Though the name is spooky, the logo is not spooky at all. The fuchsia and eggshell colors on the logo make it look cute. The skeleton can be scary, but its serious face looks funny, especially when it is drawing a flower sketch on paper. You don't have to draw something spooky just because the logo says spooky.

16. Too Many Spirits

ghost branding definition

Created by Casandra Ng |

  What's the purpose of this ghost logo? If the logo is to promote a camping site, then create a campfire logo with ghosts or spirits for the campfire. If you finally decide to draw some other elements around the flame, make sure that the flame is the main focus. Use a special color for the campfire and white for other elements.

17. Whispurr

ghost branding definition

Created by Eduardo Zaldivar |

  Cats can never look scary. When they are alive on earth, their cuteness makes people fall in love again and again. So, when you're going to create a cat ghost, make sure that it looks as cute as the real cat. Use a flawless font that goes well with the rounded cat logo you have created.

18. Adam Hanson

ghost branding definition

Created by Adam Hanson |

  A skull is a famous element used to create a Halloween logo, a logo for the Day of The Dead, and another creepy logo design. Make your skull logo look classic by drawing a white skull sketch on the blackboard. Should you make it look creepy? You may want to make it look sad instead of angry. This will make people curious about the business you are running.

ghost branding definition

Created by EPLUSN |

  Looking for a cute inspiration for your ghost logo? Mickey Mouse can be your inspiration but try to replace the mouse with a creepy pumpkin. Make the creepy pumpkin logo look unique by adding the legs and hands of Mickey Mouse. Use shades of orange and yellow to color the logo.

20. Suspense Universe

ghost branding definition

Created by Mehedi Islam |

  Another way to create a ghost logo is by using an element that is also used in horror movies. A door and a window can make a logo look creepier. The silhouette of a hand touching a window from another side is an example of a scary logo. Or you may want to add a ghost looking at you from behind the door.

21. Ghostbirds

ghost branding definition

Created by Dmitry Krino |

  Sometimes, the ghost doesn't have to be the main focus of your logo. For example, if your client wants to use birds as the main character of the logo, make the ghost slightly invisible by drawing only the face of the ghost between the two birds. This is a very creative way to design the logo.

22. Easily Starled

ghost branding definition

Created by Alaina Johnson |

  Make something that makes people think out of the box. For example, people are used to thinking that ghosts are scary. Make your ghost look vulnerable so that people are going to look at the ghost on the logo with pity. Dress the ghost on your logo with something cute, like pink lipstick.

23. Danny Recordings

ghost branding definition

Created by Danny Recordings |

  Your ghost will be unique if it is doing something unusual. This ghost, for example, looks like a guitar pick and is heading to the recording studio on its skateboard. The wide eyes of the ghost make it look excited to do whatever it is planning. Add some expressions and make your ghost look more stunning.

24. Spirit Panda

ghost branding definition

Created by Eduardo Zaldivar |

  Everyone loves pandas. This cute animal and its black 'eyeshadow' will make everyone wants to know what you are selling. Since the panda is a cute animal, its ghost should be cute as well. Black and white may make your panda look nice, but an accent color will perfect the design. For example, neon green for the eyeball will make it a little scary, just a little.

25. GhostWriter

ghost branding definition

Created by marcin bernatek |

  Many ways can help you create a ghostwriter logo. A ghost that's writing on paper, a ghost typing on a typewriter, and a ghost typing on a laptop are just some possibilities. Be creative and make the ghost look stressed out, maybe because it has to catch the delaine.

26. Cursed Cemetary

ghost branding definition

Created by Saurav Karmoker |

  A small circle logo can tell everything. This small round logo contains bats, an owl, a witch, Halloween pumpkins, and tombstones. The use of black and orange are going to make it look like a Halloween logo. Add some creepy eyes on the creatures you draw on the logo.

ghost branding definition

Created by simc |

  Combining some different colors on a logo is not easy. But you can do it by choosing the right colors that will create a nice gradient. Magenta, tosca, and yellow will create a nice look for your ghost logo. But since the ghost is already colorful, use black or white for the background of the logo.

28. Rematch Ghosts of the no coast

ghost branding definition

Created by Christian Bögle |

  Three are the maximum numbers of colors to use on one logo. If you choose one color that looks contrasting, the other two should share the same shades. For example, if you are going to use blue as the main color, the complementary can be peach and yellow.

29. Larry Fulcher

ghost branding definition

Created by Larry Fulcher |

  A lot of curves will enhance the spooky look of your ghost logo. Add some curves not only on the ghosts but also on the typography. White color for the ghosts and typography will make the logo look simple but bold. Pick a contrasting color for the background, like charcoal gray.

30. Joel L. Anderson

ghost branding definition

  A weird-looking skull can be a nice idea for your ghost logo. Be creative in creating a skull. To make a creative skull logo, you may want to draw a skull of an animal. And then make it wear something unique like a beanie.

Frequently Ask Questions

What are the cultural or symbolic meanings of the ghost logo designs.

The cultural and symbolic meanings associated with ghost logo designs can vary depending on the context and interpretation. Generally, ghosts are often associated with concepts such as mystery, the supernatural, and the afterlife. In the context of logo design, the ghost symbolizes the ephemeral and transient nature of digital communication. It can also convey playfulness, friendliness, and approachability. The ghost logo's enigmatic and minimalist nature allows for multiple interpretations, making it adaptable to different industries and purposes while retaining a sense of intrigue and recognition.

What types of industries are suitable for using ghost logo designs?

Ghost logo designs are versatile and can be suitable for a wide range of industries. They are particularly popular in the technology sector, including software development, mobile apps, and social media platforms. The ghost logo's association with digital communication and its ephemeral nature makes it an ideal choice for these industries. Additionally, ghost logos can be used in industries related to entertainment, gaming, and creative services, where the symbol can convey a sense of mystery, imagination, and playfulness. Furthermore, clothing brands, lifestyle businesses, and even hospitality and event management companies can also leverage the friendly and approachable image of the ghost logo.

Which colors are commonly used in ghost logo designs?

Ghost logo designs often utilize a limited color palette, typically consisting of simple and clean colors. The most commonly used colors in ghost logo designs are white and variations of gray. These neutral tones align with the minimalist aesthetic and add to the ghost's enigmatic and ethereal nature. White represents purity, simplicity, and transparency, while shades of gray can evoke sophistication, modernity, and neutrality. Occasionally, designers may incorporate a subtle pop of color as an accent to add visual interest and create contrast. However, the overall color scheme for ghost logos tends to prioritize simplicity and understated elegance.

What other graphic elements can I combine with ghost logo designs?

When combining other graphic elements with ghost logo designs, it's important to maintain the minimalist and clean aesthetic of the logo. Some commonly used graphic elements that can complement ghost logos include speech bubbles or chat icons to signify communication, arrows or lines to represent movement or direction, and simple geometric shapes to add visual interest. Additionally, you can incorporate subtle textures or patterns to give depth to the design. However, it is crucial to ensure that these additional elements do not overpower or clutter the ghost logo, as the focus should remain on the simplicity and symbolism of the ghost itself.

Which famous brands or companies are using ghost logo designs?

One of the most famous brands associated with the ghost logo design is Snapchat, the multimedia messaging app that popularized the symbol. Snapchat's Ghostface Chillah logo is widely recognized and has become synonymous with the app itself. Apart from Snapchat, other notable brands and companies have adopted ghost logo designs or similar interpretations. For example, Ghost, a Swedish hardware and software company, uses a stylized ghost logo in its branding. Additionally, Casper, a mattress and sleep products company, incorporates a ghost motif in its logo, reflecting a playful and approachable image.

Let us know what you think!

All of these fantastic logo design ideas are created by some of the most talented logo designers worldwide. We hope you enjoy our gallery and remember to leave us a comment below. Cheers!

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Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of ghost  (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

intransitive verb

  • bogie
  • familiar spirit
  • hant [ dialect ]
  • haunt [ chiefly dialect ]
  • materialization
  • fantasm
  • poltergeist
  • spectre

Examples of ghost in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Noun and Verb

Middle English gost, gast , from Old English gāst ; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Phrases Containing ghost

  • ghost kitchen
  • ghost / shadow of one's former self
  • ghost pepper
  • ghost story
  • ghost of a chance
  • ghost chili
  • give up the ghost

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“Ghost.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

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ghost branding definition

  • Media Consulting
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Heavy metal, Ghost and the power of branding

  • Daniel Hedger
  • branding , ghost , heavy metal , marketing , music

ghost branding definition

What can we learn from the smart branding and marketing of the band Ghost?

You know who’s really good at branding? Metal bands.

Maybe you didn’t see that coming. Hear me out.

From the iconic logos of Metallica and Slayer to the corpsepaint of Norwegian black metal— not to mention Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie — heavy heavy metal has always had identifiable branding.

And these days, it’s the Swedish band Ghost that has taken heavy metal branding to the next level.

Ghost is a band from Linköping, Sweden, formed in 2006. Ghost is also is a miracle of branding and marketing. This is not to say that the music’s not good — it is, I like it a lot and you should listen to it . (Their new album, Prequelle , comes out June 1.)

But it’s hard to deny Ghost has built itself up on the back of very clever marketing, which they have used to generate engagement and wonder.

First, the aesthetic. Ghost is fronted by a singer who has, album by album, been known by different monikers: Papa Emeritus, Papa Emeritus II, Papa Emeritus III and, most recently, Cardinal Copia. In the mythology of the band, each of these is actually a different person, complete with elaborate coronation ceremonies. (More on this later.)

Each name change comes with a different costume — the Papa-era costume was essentially a papal outfit — as if the singer was the Pope of the Church of Satan. Indeed, the concept of Ghost is that the band exists in an occult horror movie.

The backing band is made up of ‘Nameless Ghouls’, who, as the name suggests, wear matching masks to hide their faces and identities. The overall aesthetic is somewhere between 1930s horror and 1970s experimental film.

That’s just the visuals. The lyrics of the songs mostly reference Satan as a living figure, pledging allegiance and fealty to him as a Catholic Cardinal prays to Holy Trinity.

But here’s where it gets brilliant: although the lyrics seem straight out of a death or black metal band, the music is more in the vein of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult or, dare I say it, Kiss. That is to say, traditional heavy metal or hard rock. And it’s VERY catchy.

It’s a triumph of aesthetic over musical genre; that is, branding over content.

Organic growth

If the aesthetic is quite 1970s, the way Ghost uses branding and marketing is thoroughly 21 st century.

This combination of factors — the Satanic aesthetic, the catchy songs, the ‘transgressive’ lyrics and the sheer theatre of it all — has garnered Ghost a highly engaged, dedicated set of fans.

People were ‘in the know’ if the a) knew who the band was and b) knew it was an act. It was like a secret club to understand this band on these different levels.

(If there’s any question the whole thing is a loving gimmick, the band has covered an ABBA song .)

The way that the band creates mystique and builds anticipation around the unveiling of the ‘new’ frontman is a stellar marketing move.

The heavy metal media will cover the changing of the character — even though everyone knows that it’s the same person, Tobias Forge — as if it were a true band member being replaced.

The fact that Ghost can pretend to get a new singer for each album — and generate social media frenzy about ‘who’ the new singer will be — builds excitement around almost nothing but a puff of smoke.

Accompanying these unveilings are a series of videos, the most recent involving the storyline of the then-current singer Papa Emeritus III being whisked offstage and replaced by an elderly Italian man dressed again in Papal robes. We later learn this is  Papa Emeritus Nil .

After this live stunt, the official Ghost channels released a series of short films where we learn Papa Zero is too old and unwell to perform and must instead be replaced by Cardinal Copia.

Basically, this is all content marketing for Ghost’s new album.

Expanding the audience

If Ghost’s aesthetic was always tongue in cheek, for this latest album cycle it’s downright campy . Yet the band have negotiated this tricky path with aplomb, managing to bring their original fans along with them.

On a sonic level, with their latest shedding of their lead singer from the handsome Papa Emeritus III to the more Mafioso Cardinal Copia , the band is expanding its sound into even more hooky pop rock . This is placing them very well to leverage the dedicated fanbase and expand their audience.

If this all sounds convoluted and complicated, that’s fine. Many things that engage people on an intense level — comic books, Star Wars, football — usually have some element of ‘gatekeeping’, of being difficult to get into at first, of keeping it a ‘cool club’. All you need to know if that this is how one band is engaging and growing its fanbase — and a lot of it is outside the music.

In a genre known to place importance on branding (while of course insisting it doesn’t care about branding), Ghost have used it to great advantage to promote their music. The fact that their music is barely ‘heavy metal’ in the 21 st century definition is almost beside the point. Ghost used heavy metal aesthetic, lyrics and mysticism — and the media — to organically create hype and a loyal, ‘with it’ following.

And it doesn’t hurt that they make really good music too.

I said earlier that Ghost was a triumph of branding over content. It’s more accurate to say it’s branding BEFORE content. The content is a MUST. The branding and marketing bring that content to the audience.

So, to reiterate:

  • Ghost marketed itself as extreme metal band but the music is more in the vein of Kiss, Blue Oyster Cult or Black Sabbath. Scary image and lyrics only reinforced this.
  • This built up a ‘cool’ elite group of fans. People were ‘in the know’ if they liked Ghost.
  • This feeling was reinforced by the fans knowing the whole thing was a shtick.
  • Each album cycle comes with a ‘new’ lead singer, builds excitement out of almost nothing
  • Now band are expanding their sound and their audience but have held onto the diehards
  • They have the content (great songs) but it wouldn’t have been as impressive or as successful without the branding and marketing.

The lesson here for brands should be obvious: your main content does have to be good but it can be promoted and distributed with clever and engaging marketing.

If you need help with your content, branding or marketing, why not get in touch with us today?

Pic credit: Enric Martinez

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Carmine Mastropierro

What is ghostwriting everything you need to know, join the newsletter.

Get my latest content on business, marketing, and copywriting.

No, ghostwriting isn’t Caspar the Friendly Ghost churning out blog posts on a daily basis.

But you hear this term all of the time in different industries.

What is ghostwriting? Why does it matter?

I’m going to be answering these questions, covering typical fees, and explaining the benefits of hiring or becoming one yourself in today’s article.

What is ghostwriting?

So, what is ghostwriting exactly?

Ghostwriting is defined as having work written on your behalf by another writer, but you take credit for it. The public believes that you produced the content, but it was actually made by another individual.

Since ghostwriters do not receive credit for their work, they typically charge a premium. 💰

I can tell you, as a copywriter who has done plenty of ghostwriting, that bylines are insanely effective.

They allow me to grow my brand, get referral traffic, and generate leads organically.

So if I’m not gaining that benefit by writing for another publication, it’s only fair for me to ask for extra compensation. This is an industry standard.

Anything can be ghostwritten, as well. This includes material such as:

  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Social media content
  • Email newsletters
  • Movie scripts

That means that as a writer, you will be able to ghostwrite any material that you specialize in. It also opens the door for you to try out different niches you haven’t dabbled in before.

Make sure to read my guide on how to become a ghostwriter to learn about acquiring clients and building a solid brand.

On the flip-side, businesses will be able to outsource any kind of work to ghostwriters with ease.

This brings me to my next point.

Who uses ghostwriters?

From my experience in the last eight years offering copywriting services, there are very specific types of businesses and clients that opt for ghostwriting.

I don’t know the exact figure. I can’t say any names.

But, I will say that most of the high-level digital marketing content on the internet is ghostwritten.

Many successful direct mail campaigns are written by someone other than the person organizing the campaign.

50% of best selling e-books are written with the help of a ghostwriter.

In terms of roles, I’ve noticed the following individuals receive a lot of ghostwriting:

  • CEOs : Chief executive officers are busy running a company, so they often don’t have the time to write content themselves. I’ve done C-level writing for Forbes,, and other publications, so I have behind-the-scenes experience with this. They need writers that can clearly communicate their organization’s strategies and expertise to a specific audience.
  • Celebrities : Another very busy individual who doesn’t have the time to write something of their own, so they outsource it.
  • Public figures : Speeches are a common material that is ghostwritten for clients. Some public figures use a ghostwriter to have the best possibly structured and impact speech before speaking with an audience.

That brings me to my next point.

Ghostwriting rates

Ghostwriting fees vary from writer to writer. The Writer’s Union of Canada states that ghostwriting books should cost a minimum of $40,000 for 60-90,000 words.

Ghostwriting rates

But what if you’re trying to outsource website content? Well, according to the Professional Writers Association of Canada , ghostwriting requires two to three times normal rates .

Ghost writing

Ghostwriting prices, like all forms of copywriting, will depend on the client’s budget, individual writer, and project scope.

Additionally, Content Wonk performed a study in 2018 to determine the average freelance writer’s rates. Here’s what they found:

Freelance writing hourly rate

28% of respondents charge less than $15/hour, and the top percentile demand $150+/hour.

Follow the rule of thumb that you get what you pay for. Talented writers will always charge more and generate a larger return while cheap writers can be a headache.

Use these as benchmarks and the foundation of how much you charge/pay.

You can also explore my online courses to learn more about earning money as a writer.

Benefits of becoming a ghostwriter

If you’re a freelancer interested in becoming a ghostwriter, there are mountains of advantages you will gain by pursuing this niche. They include the following.

You get to command higher rates

Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Ghostwriting often yields some of the highest paying projects due to the fact that you gain royalties and get to charge a premium for your work.

One downside that I’ve experienced myself with ghostwriting is that you may eventually lack bylines, however. It’s tough to prove that you’ve ghostwritten certain material unless you keep records of contracts, conversations, and have good references.

That’s why I also suggest that you include byline pieces in your portfolio to act as social proof. These will help build trust with clients so you don’t have to run around trying to prove you’ve worked with big names before since you’re publicly associated with others.

Once you get around this small loophole, you’ll be racking in the big bucks as a ghostwriter 🙂

Royalties on royalties

Not only do you get to charge more upfront as a ghostwriter, but you also normally get royalties for certain pieces of work. These include books, landing pages, direct mail , and other sales copy that generates sales .

Royalties typically hover around the 3% range, but some writers charge more if they have a track record of creating huge results for prior clients.

Imagine you help a client generate $1,000,000 in revenue from a new sales campaign. 3% of that is $30,000 in your pocket on top of the other fees you charge. You would be making nearly six figures per month off of a single project!

You will network and create a name for yourself

Companies will always need business material written. It doesn’t matter if it’s advertisements, books, or website content. There will never be a time in the near future in which businesses don’t require ghostwriting.

That means with enough elbow grease, you will create a name for yourself in whichever industry you position yourself in. This will lead to constant new opportunities and referrals , meaning consistent earnings.

Benefits of hiring a ghostwriter

I’ve been talking about ghostwriting from the perspective of a writer, but how about from the angle of businesses? These are some of the many benefits you can look forward to by outsourcing work to ghostwriters .

You will work with the best

Ghostwriters charge a premium for a reason, and that reason is that they are exceptional at what they do. You will network and hire some of the industry’s best writers that will produce massive results for your company.

This also allows you to create a Rolodex of writers to reach out to when you require material to be written.

They have skills that you don’t

Do you have a decade or more of copywriting , SEO, lead generation, CRO, and other marketing experience? Ghostwriters do .

Hiring a ghostwriter means that you don’t have to take years mastering different skills yourself. Being a great writer doesn’t mean you’re good with words, but rather can sell a product, rank websites, or whatever the goal might be.

This comes from experience and mastery in different fields.

They are professional and easy to work with

While there are always a couple of bad apples, if a writer has worked with big publications and is a successful ghostwriter, they won’t get there for no reason.

Odds are they will be professional and easy to work with. Personally, I pride myself on being a friendly, good person and creating genuine relationships with clients I work with before anything else.

Save time and energy

I run several businesses. I also invest, trade, and constantly network. That means my time is very valuable, and I bet you would agree to the same with yourself, right?

Running a business means that you need to spend every minute wisely. Hiring a ghostwriter will allow you to outsource tasks and spend more time on things that matter.

The reality is that not everyone is a good writer. I’ve been told since I was a child that writing was one of my greatest strengths, so it’s no surprise I became a fantastic copywriter.

Maybe writing isn’t for you. In that case, it’d be a smart decision to outsource to someone like me and focus on what you do best.

Downsides of being a ghostwriter

Not everything that glitters is gold. Being a ghostwriter myself for many years, I want to be honest with some of the downsides so you can make an informed decision.

You lose out on bylines

I previously mentioned that bylines are like crack to writers. Even if you’ve only written for a month, you will agree with this.

Having your name, face, and URL on content drives traffic, improves SEO, and helps build your brand.

I like to think of it as PR management and search engine equity. The more places you’re seen, the better.

However, you lose out on that as a ghostwriter. Someone else takes credit for your blood, sweat, and tears. Although, you do get a fatter paycheck for it 😉

I highly recommend that you do a blend of byline and ghostwritten work to get the best of both worlds.

This means that you command higher rates for material without your name slapped on it but still grow your brand with bylines at the same time.

Check out this list of websites that accept guest authors to start getting more bylined articles out there for people to see.

Some question the ethics of it

I’ve heard the argument that ghostwriting is unethical or causes moral dilemmas. What do you think?

You’re essentially writing a piece of content or sales copy and allowing another person or business to claim it as their own.

Between you and the client, everything’s great. You get paid, they get their project done. Everybody’s happy.

But, what about the readers that think they’re getting propriety content from their favorite website when really you wrote it?

Is that tricking people? Is it deceiving? I would argue that it isn’t since everyone gets what they want at the end of the day and it’s mutually agreed upon.

Similarly, you could always use brainstorming and inspiration from the client to help mold the content or copy. In that situation, you’re still ghostwriting, but more helping their ideas come to life.

It can be painful seeing your content published without your name

Let’s be real. When you pour hours of writing, researching, and editing a piece of content, you feel proud when you’re finished.

It’s all too easy to think that copywriting and content writing is quick and effortless. It’s actually one of the most time consuming forms of marketing and advertising.

That’s why one of the other downsides of being a ghostwriter, which is similar to not having a byline, is simply not getting credit .

Besides the SEO and PR benefits, it’s nice having your name and face tied to something you created.

Unfortunately, you miss out on that as a ghostwriter.

Final thoughts on ghostwriting

Ghosting is a very lucrative path for writers based on the fact you normally charge two to three times normal rates and earn royalties.

Larger brands commonly hire ghostwriters, so there’s a great chance you will network with high-level executives as you pursue this path.

Businesses can also greatly benefit from hiring ghostwriters as they are experienced in generating results like sales, leads, and traffic.

I can tell you, as a ghostwriter and hiring them myself, that they tend to be more professional and organized, as well.

Check out my online copywriting courses to master ghostwriting and related skills.

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Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of ghost in English

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ghost noun ( SPIRIT )

  • A headless ghost walks the castle at night - or so the story goes.
  • According to tradition , a headless ghost walks through the corridors of the house at night .
  • The Society for Psychical Research is investigating reports of a ghost at the old vicarage .
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?
  • There's no such thing as ghosts.
  • astral plane
  • astral projection
  • incorporeal
  • necromancer
  • reincarnation

ghost noun ( MEMORY )

  • abiding memory
  • associative memory
  • at/in the back of your mind idiom
  • clear memory
  • confabulation
  • have a memory like an elephant idiom
  • learn something by rote idiom
  • live (on) in the memory idiom
  • long memory
  • recollection
  • rediscovery
  • reminiscence
  • short-term memory

ghost verb ( WRITE )

  • Around 80 percent of celebrity books are ghosted .
  • Tony is ghosting the memoirs of Eddie, an ex-con who went to prison for his part in a bullion robbery .
  • He is a freelance writer who is ghosting an article for a corporate executive .
  • bang something out
  • bash something out
  • borrow something from something
  • re-registration
  • readability
  • reformulate

ghost verb ( END COMMUNICATION )

  • She was furious about being ghosted by Dan.
  • If you want to finish with a boyfriend , tell him, don't just ghost.
  • He ghosted his girlfriend and then she became his boss .
  • affiliation order
  • break something up
  • break up with someone
  • child support
  • give someone the elbow idiom
  • give someone the heave-ho idiom
  • give someone the push idiom
  • go off with someone
  • post-divorce
  • run out on someone/something

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

ghost verb ( MOVE )

  • Sarah suddenly ghosted out from behind the shed .
  • Three youths ghosted out from a narrow alleyway a short distance ahead of her.
  • Several black shapes were ghosting swiftly over the grass .
  • ballistically
  • make for somewhere/something
  • make towards something/someone

ghost | American Dictionary

Translations of ghost.

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the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.

a mere shadow or semblance; a trace: He's a ghost of his former self.

a remote possibility: He hasn't a ghost of a chance.

( sometimes initial capital letter ) a spiritual being.

the principle of life; soul ; spirit .

Informal . ghostwriter .

a secondary image, especially one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver.

Also called ghost im·age [ gohst -im-ij] /ˈgoʊst ˌɪm ɪdʒ/ . Photography . a faint secondary or out-of-focus image in a photographic print or negative resulting from reflections within the camera lens.

an oral word game in which each player in rotation adds a letter to those supplied by preceding players, the object being to avoid ending a word.

Optics . a series of false spectral lines produced by a diffraction grating with unevenly spaced lines.

Metalworking . a streak appearing on a freshly machined piece of steel containing impurities.

a red blood cell having no hemoglobin.

a fictitious employee, business, etc., fabricated especially for the purpose of manipulating funds or avoiding taxes: Investigation showed a payroll full of ghosts.

to ghostwrite (a book, speech, etc.).

Engraving . to lighten the background of (a photograph) before engraving.

to suddenly end all contact with (a person) without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship: The guy I’ve been dating ghosted me.

to leave (a social event or gathering) suddenly without saying goodbye: My friend ghosted my birthday party.

Digital Technology . to remove (comments, threads, or other digital content) from a website or online forum without informing the poster, keeping them hidden from the public but still visible to the poster.

to ghostwrite.

to go about or move like a ghost.

(of a sailing vessel) to move when there is no perceptible wind.

to pay people for work not performed, especially as a way of manipulating funds.

to suddenly end all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship: They dated for a month and then she ghosted.

to leave a social event or gathering suddenly without saying goodbye: I'm getting tired so I think I might just ghost.

Digital Technology . to remove comments, threads, or other digital content from a website or online forum without informing the poster, keeping them hidden from the public but still visible to the poster.

fabricated for purposes of deception or fraud: We were making contributions to a ghost company.

Idioms about ghost

give up the ghost ,

to cease to function or exist.

Origin of ghost

Synonym study for ghost, other words for ghost, other words from ghost.

  • ghost·i·ly, adverb
  • ghost·like, adjective
  • de·ghost, verb (used with object)
  • un·ghost·like, adjective

Words Nearby ghost

  • Ghiordes knot
  • Ghirlandaio
  • ghost consultant
  • ghost dance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use ghost in a sentence

The expansion of ghost kitchens was well underway before the pandemic.

The spread of third-party delivery apps and ghost kitchens means that many customers largely interact with restaurants through apps, not the restaurants directly.

New “ ghost kitchens,” or delivery-only restaurants capitalizing on the rise of Grubhub and UberEats, popped up, many specializing in wings.

Last year police in New York state arrested an Army drone operator and alleged Boogaloo Boi on charges that he owned an illegal ghost gun.

Group Nine has been thinking about expanding further in this direction by leveraging the ghost kitchen it launched through Thrillist back in December.

The well, ghost or no ghost , is certainly a piece of history with a bold presence.

Now, she says, her coworkers are actively pranking each other and blaming it on the ghost .

First, the ghost of his departed partner, Jacob Marley, comes calling, his face emerging from the doorknob.

As Monday turned to Tuesday morning, five hostages had escaped and the Central Business District had turned into a ghost town.

The ghost writer in question is assumed to be one Siobhan Curham—an established author of both YA and adult fiction.

T least, thet's all I think 't wuz; though thar wuz those thet said 't wuz Claiborne's ghost .

Meanwhile Fleurette had her nourishing food, and grew more like the ghost of a lily every day.

Our poor planet will be but a silent ghost whirling on its dark path in the starlight.

For a moment there was no consciousness in their gaze; then a whimsical ghost of a smile crept about his mouth.

Now it will be as well here to inquire what good has ever resulted from this belief in what is commonly understood to be a ghost ?

British Dictionary definitions for ghost

/ ( ɡəʊst ) /

the disembodied spirit of a dead person, supposed to haunt the living as a pale or shadowy vision; phantom : Related adjective: spectral

a haunting memory : the ghost of his former life rose up before him

a faint trace or possibility of something; glimmer : a ghost of a smile

the spirit; soul (archaic, except in the phrase the Holy Ghost )

a faint secondary image produced by an optical system

a similar image on a television screen, formed by reflection of the transmitting waves or by a defect in the receiver

See ghost word

Also called: ghost edition an entry recorded in a bibliography of which no actual proof exists

Another name for ghostwriter : See ghostwrite

(modifier) falsely recorded as doing a particular job or fulfilling a particular function in order that some benefit, esp money, may be obtained : a ghost worker

  • give up the ghost

(of a machine) to stop working

See ghostwrite

(tr) to haunt

(intr) to move effortlessly and smoothly, esp unnoticed : he ghosted into the penalty area

Derived forms of ghost

  • ghostlike , adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with ghost

In addition to the idiom beginning with ghost

  • Chinaman's (ghost of a) chance

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

ghost branding definition

Gathering of the Ghosts – January 22, 2024

ghost branding definition

What Is Ghostwriting—And What Does It Mean Today?

  • By Gotham Ghostwriters

To kick off the Ghostwriting Confidential 2021 series, our groups thought it made sense to start with the first question we typically get from new contacts: What does “ghostwriting” mean? And then to explore how it can lead to your success. 

With this post, we will define ghostwriting by covering the history and evolution of collaborative creation, the brief foray away from that approach to sole creative endeavors, and the current swing back to collaboration that’s proving to be a boon for writers and readers alike. Finally, we’ll introduce you to the wide array of benefits authors gain by working with a professional writing partner.

What Is a Ghostwriter?

There’s a narrow understanding of what ghostwriting is among laypeople, and then there’s the broader reality of what it actually is.

The common definition of ghostwriting is the act of one person writing in the name of another person, group, company, or institution without receiving a byline or public credit. But more often than not, ghostwriting is a customized form of collaboration, covering a range of relationships and services tied to the authors’ needs, objectives, and work style.

And today, it is becoming more and more common for these editorial partners to receive public recognition—and even cover-credit for their work in the form of “and John Smith” or “with Jane Brown.” 

Although the common definition is still prevalent, it is changing as people become more exposed to the wide spectrum of roles that ghostwriters play. For example, the author and the ghost might share writing responsibilities, or the ghost might work on certain components, such as writing the stories and case studies or shaping the narrative of a novel or memoir, with the author supplying the original concepts and research. Ghosts also can coach authors to develop a concept and organizational structure, identify their target audience, capture their authentic voice, manage the project, conduct interviews with outside sources, and find pertinent research studies. And ghostwriters can serve as developmental editors, helping authors to shape their work at the earliest stages of production, and as line editors and book doctors, polishing, revising, and revamping manuscripts that need improvement before being published. 

The division of labor varies from one collaboration to another, based on whatever makes the most sense for the success of the project. That’s why we think of ghostwriter as an umbrella term for creative collaborations on many types of projects, including books, speeches, white papers, articles, websites, blogs, podcasts—essentially any type of written content our clients want to co-create with us. 

Ghostwriting Is One of the Oldest Professions

While the general public’s awareness of ghostwriting is a relatively recent development, ghostwriting and collaborative storytelling have been around for as long as the written word. Perhaps the most widely known example is the Bible. Both testaments were written by committee, hundreds of years after the events occurred—in the ancient world, the concept of owning intellectual property didn’t exist. For thousands of years, stories were told collectively, especially in oral storytelling. Thus, the oldest known “texts” aren’t attributed to a single author, but rather are the accumulated reflections and contributions of entire cultures.

It wasn’t until the Age of Enlightenment that individuals began being credited as the sole creators of stories and other artistic endeavors, particularly books and later films. Auteurs (French for “authors”) were held in high esteem for single-handedly producing stories and attaching their names to them. In relatively short order, this notion of a book needing to have a sole source took root, not only in literary circles but in the imagination of readers. 

The rise of the auteur in the 18th and 19th centuries didn’t kill off the practice of collaborative storytelling or the use of ghosts—it just drove our predecessors deeper undercover. Indeed, it’s widely believed that this period is when the common stigma around ghostwriting was born. One of the most telling examples of this is the work and life of Samuel Johnson , the famed English writer and public intellectual. Johnson started his career as what was then known as a “hack” writer—a poorly paid writer for hire. At the height of his fame, he reportedly used a ghost of his own for some of his essays, which he slyly acknowledged by signing them with the anonymous letter T. Johnson later disavowed this practice out of a sense of honor/shame. And after Johnson’s death, his acolyte and biographer James Boswell—who many wrongly confuse as Johnson’s ghostwriter—took that disdain a step further by comparing ghostwriting to selling one’s own birthright. 

The Evolution of Ghostwriting:  From Stigma to Standard Practice and on to Status

Ever since Johnson’s days, many an esteemed writer who has dabbled in ghostwriting has grappled with this sellout stigma. Notably among them were the coterie of great American novelists such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Agee, and Aldous Huxley who each went out to Hollywood after the talkies became a thing to make a buck as a screenwriter/rewriter. This self-inflicted sense of hackery recently earned a co-starring role in the 2021 Oscar-nominated movie “Mank” about the legendary screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, who aspired to be a man of letters and a New York dramatist but had to settle for being the Academy Award-winning author of “Citizen Kane.”

The darker taboo around ghostwriting applies not to the ghost but to the author—that claiming someone else’s words as your own is a form of cheating and/or an act of dishonesty. Yet, anyone who’s been part of a creative endeavor in the arts—from a playwright who incorporates notes from a director and the actors to a writers’ room for a network television show to comedians who use punch-up writers—knows that the premise that there’s a single author responsible for every story is the real fraud.

This holds just as true for the creation of books. Set aside the term “ghostwriter”— countless works of fiction and non-fiction alike that we hold dear were shaped, reshaped, and even rewritten by anonymous editors. Just look at the work of Maxwell Perkins , a giant within publishing circles whose substantial revisions to classics such as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel are widely credited for their success. Each book’s vision and story were the author’s, but the text was the product of a collaboration. That’s exactly what the best ghostwriters and collaborative writers do: help their authors find and express the best version of their vision.

The contributions of ghostwriters have become increasingly known and appreciated—at least within elite circles—with the rise of celebrity culture. Ask most Hollywood talent agents, top PR executives, brand-name CEOs, and political leaders, and not only will they tell you what a ghostwriter does, but also the value they deliver. Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca became household names in the 1980s partly because of their blockbuster bestselling autobiographies, which they could not have written without supremely talented writers such as our friends Bill Novak and Catherine Whitney. Donald Trump likely would not have been president without Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghost on his brand-defining book, Art of the Deal .

What truly and fully brought ghosting out of the shadows, and in turn helped drive a stake through the heart of the stigma, was the ubiquity and transparency of the Internet. In short order, everything and everyone was caught in the Web—there were no secrets anymore. Not only did we know that Barack Obama didn’t write his own speeches, his young speechwriter Jon Favreau became a celebrity in his own right. What became known then became normal, and as such accepted. Some CEOs and celebrities may write their own books, but most don’t—and most readers now know and accept that. 

The Internet has also made the nuts and bolts of collaboration—the actual sharing of artistic creation—much easier through an array of new technologies and platforms. Songwriters can trade tracks and recordings in an instant. Apps such as Google docs allow writers to easily share drafts and collaborate in real time, from anywhere in the world. Other technologies allow authors to share their working texts with their followers and quickly crowdsource notes and ideas for improvements.

As we noted in the introduction to this series, though, the Internet’s most transformative effect on the ghostwriting field has been on the demand side. Self-publishing used to be derided as merely for “vanity” projects. Now, it’s driving the content marketplace—from established ungated platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn to fast-growing newsletter services like Substack to the rise of elite, full-service hybrid book publishers that enable thought leaders to get their books to market on their own terms and timetable. This has turned ghostwriting from a luxury into more and more of a necessity.

The fact is, leaders, influencers, and those inspired to tell their stories or share new thoughts and discoveries tend to be busy people who work long hours to accomplish big goals. They have extensive expertise in their fields, but rarely have the time or the writing skills to, for example, produce on their own a series of thought-leadership articles or a deep-dive book.

And why should they have to do it by themselves? All things considered, choosing not to collaborate with a professional writer is deciding to give yourself a disadvantage right out of the gate. 

Today, working with a ghost is rightly seen by the business, advocacy, and communication leaders our groups partner with as an asset, as the quality of collaborative projects is higher than when authors go it alone, and that leads to greater success. On the flip side, a growing number of accomplished authors are reaching out to us to pursue collaborations because they’ve recognized they can make a lucrative income serving as a co-author or ghost for public figures and experts who can’t write the story themselves, or don’t want to.

Benefits of Collaborating with a Pro Ghost

If you’ve read hundreds of great books, it may seem like a logical leap to actually write one, but that’s not usually how things work out, particularly for first-time authors. Writing a book from scratch can be intimidating, and if it’s your first book, it can be overwhelming and downright scary. So it’s no surprise that a lot of new authors are coming to us for help. They see the wisdom in working with a professional who not only is a skilled writer but also has extensive experience collaborating with authors and understands the trepidation and trust issues authors naturally have. 

With a ghost by your side, the lofty aspiration—or intimidating prospect—of writing a book that meets your goals and makes you proud is not only achievable but also fascinating and enjoyable. With Gotham and United Ghostwriters, authors can sleep well at night because they know they’re in good hands. 

A Ghostwriter Can Help You if: 

  • Your new philosophy or approach is so effective that your colleagues keep saying, “You should write a book.” But who has time when you’re leading the charge 24/7? 
  • You have a personal story to share that can help others, but you have no idea how to put it down in words. 
  • You’re keynoting an upcoming conference and are determined to inspire the audience to take action to improve their business, but writing in a “void” doesn’t elicit your best thoughts or your most creative ideas. 
  • You’ve come up with a blockbuster idea for a novel but don’t have the right skill sets to bring it to life. 
  • There’s content you want to produce, but you adhere to the business adage, “Only do what only you can do”—and writing isn’t on that list. 
  • You want to strengthen your own writing skills by collaborating with a pro. 

Collaborating with a ghostwriter allows you to share your vision in a way that’s true to you. It’s your story, your brilliance, your originality. We simply help bring it to life on the page.

Gotham Ghostwriters

Gotham Ghostwriters is the nation's premier ghostwriting agency.

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What Is Ghostwriting? Everything You Need to Know

POSTED ON Nov 1, 2023

P.J McNulty

Written by P.J McNulty

Of all the types of writing work out there, ghostwriting definitely has the coolest name. There’s just something glamorous and slightly mysterious and edgy about the term ghostwriter. What is ghostwriting? And what is ghostwriting used for?

Ghostwriting is something almost everyone has heard of, but not everyone understands what ghostwriting is. In this introductory guide, we’ll explore exactly what ghostwriting is, the reasons why people use ghostwriters, and the pros and cons to this type of work.

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This blog on ghostwriting will cover:

What is ghostwriting: ghostwriting meaning explained.

What is ghostwriting? Ghostwriting is a form of writing where someone writes in the style and voice of another person whose name is attached to the work. The ghostwriter produces the written content for the project but their own author name is never mentioned. Instead, the writing is presented as if it is coming from the person they are writing for.

Sometimes, people are open about using ghostwriters and mention that they have, often in the acknowledgments page or other section of their book. Other times, there is no mention of a ghostwriter being used and readers are left to assume that the person has produced the writing themselves.

Many people think ghostwriting is what happens when you simply write under another person’s name. But ghostwriting is more complicated that. To give ghostwriting meaning, it requires the ghostwriter to adopt their client’s voice and to get inside their head and see things from their perspective.

Now that you know the basic concept of what ghostwriting is and what it entails, let’s delve deeper and see exactly what ghostwriting is used for.

Why do people use ghostwriters?

There are many reasons why someone might employ the services of a ghostwriter . However, they typically boil down to two major factors:

  • They lack sufficient skill to write a particular project
  • Or they lack sufficient time to write the project

Of course, ghostwriting may be needed due to a combination of the above factors, rather than just one or the other.

One prominent reason for using ghostwriters is when experts in their particular field have ideas to share but fear they lack the skills needed to do them justice. Ghostwriting is what is called for in this case.

Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to working with a ghostwriter, the role of the client can be hands-on or hands-off.

In a more hands-on situation, the person whose name will be attached to the work will have a high level of involvement in the creation process.

They might supply detailed information for the ghostwriter to work with, such as notes, recordings, interviews, or other source materials.

They might suggest changes as the writing is being carried out and will be very particular when it comes to revisions.

Ghostwriting can also be a totally hands-off situation from the client’s perspective. In such a situation, they supply minimal levels of instruction at the start of the project, such as “write me a book about _____”, and the ghostwriter is then left to get on with the work according to their own judgment and discretion. 

What kind of books are ghostwritten?

Almost any type of book can be produced by a ghostwriter, no matter if it's fiction vs nonfiction . 

However, there are some types of book that are more commonly associated with ghostwriting than others.

One of the most prominent types of ghostwritten book is the autobiography or memoir of a famous person. The best celebrity memoirs are often written by ghostwriters because the celebrities lack the time, skill, or inclination to write their own book but still want to share their stories.

Some famous examples include Prince Harry’s memoir and Donald Trump’s infamous Art of The Deal .

Although nonfiction books such as those mentioned above are some of the most common candidates to be ghostwritten, there are also instances where fiction is produced by a ghostwriter.

Typically, fiction ghostwriting occurs in one of two scenarios.

The first relates to entrepreneurial self-publishers, also known as authorpreneurs . These are people who identify a profitable niche of fiction that seems to be selling well.

In order to release a far greater volume of books than they could on their own, they hire ghostwriters and supply them with material such as outlines and background info as well as a style guide. This allows far more books to be released, resulting in greater revenue for the authorpreneur.

The second common scenario relating to fiction ghostwriting is when a famous writer wishes to capitalize on their brand recognition without having to write an entire book themselves. Some of the most famous examples include James Patterson and Tom Clancy.

Overall direction is supplied by the famous author and the ghostwriter’s output is checked to ensure it has the right voice. However, the famous author is not the one actually producing the work. 

Some people frown upon the use of ghostwriters in fiction, but there’s nothing wrong with it in truth. Ultimately, readers care about a high-quality book that satisfies their expectations. The specific fingers that typed out the words is less important.

  What are the pros of being a ghostwriter?

Perhaps you find the idea of becoming a ghostwriter appealing and want to try it out for yourself.

While there’s definitely a wide range of ghostwriting work available, it’s important to have a realistic notion of the process and what it entails. This ensures you don’t go into it blind or with an unrealistic notion of what being a ghostwriter entails.

Some of the main pros to being a ghostwriter include:

  • The ability to write without the self-judgment that comes with having your name attached to the work.
  • The chance to write in different styles, voices, and genres that you never otherwise would if you stuck to projects published under your own name. 
  • The wide range of ghostwriting work available, in both the fiction and nonfiction realms.
  • Typically higher rates of pay than if you carried out a similar project under your own name.

There’s no denying there are plenty of pros associated with being a ghostwriter. However, before you make the decision to give it a go, consider the downsides as well and weigh them up against the advantages to have a balanced perspective. 

Does becoming a ghostwriter have drawbacks?

As mentioned, ghostwriting has its drawbacks. Some of the most common downsides to ghostwriting work include:

  • A loss of creative control
  • The inability to write in your own voice
  • No chance to build your career and platform in your own name
  • The necessity of a great relationship with your client

No type of writing is perfect and ghostwriting is no exception.

To understand what ghostwriting is like, you should speak to real ghostwriters and get a feel for what their experiences have been.

Finally, nothing beats trying it out for yourself. Why not commit to a small ghostwriting project and get hands-on experience to see if it’s the type of work you enjoy?

Should you use a ghostwriter for your next book?

Let’s end by considering one final question – is it a good idea to employ the services of a ghostwriter for your next book?

If you’re writing your first book, we highly recommend writing it yourself. There’s nothing like the experience of writing a book for yourself and enjoying the satisfaction of the end product. 

However, if you’re approaching self-publishing more from a business perspective, you could consider working with a ghostwriter. A prime example would be if you’ve identified a fiction niche you believe to be profitable but don’t have any real interest in writing it yourself. In that case, ghostwriting is what is called for.

Just make sure to do your homework and hire a ghostwriter with a good reputation. Ideally, they will have a track record of positive results related to projects similar to the one you have in mind. Just because someone has succeeded at ghostwriting in one area doesn’t mean they will in another.

So, there you have it. Hopefully by now you have a thorough understanding of what ghostwriting is and what ghostwriting is used for.

Whether you want to try your hand at ghostwriting, or hire a ghostwriter for your next project, we wish you every success.

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ghost brands ( English)

  • Plural of ghost brand

This is the meaning of ghost brand :

ghost brand ( English)

  • ( marketing ) A brand that is no longer successful in the mainstream but still retains some popularity among earlier consumers .
  • 2008 , Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain (page 250) It is true that few now smoke Capstan Full Strength untipped, perhaps the strongest cigarettes still marketed, and only available as a 'ghost brand ' in a few specialist outlets.
  • 2015 , Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City By the 1980s, Mallomars had lost its “leadership status” and was considered a “ ghost brand ” by Nabisco, yet the company has continued to make them. Today, 70 percent are sold in the metropolitan New York area; […]

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ghost brand : ghost brand (English) Noun ghost brand (pl. ghost brands ) (marketing) A brand that is no longer successful in the mainstream but still retains some popularity among earlier consumers…

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Customizing your brand and design settings

How to tweak a few settings in Ghost to transform your site from a generic template to a custom brand with style and personality.

As discussed in the introduction post, one of the best things about Ghost is just how much you can customize to turn your site into something unique. Everything about your layout and design can be changed, so you're not stuck with yet another clone of a social network profile.

How far you want to go with customization is completely up to you, there's no right or wrong approach! The majority of people use one of Ghost's built-in themes to get started, and then progress to something more bespoke later on as their site grows.

The best way to get started is with Ghost's branding settings, where you can set up colors, images and logos to fit with your brand.

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Any Ghost theme that's up to date and compatible with Ghost 4.0 and higher will reflect your branding settings in the preview window, so you can see what your site will look like as you experiment with different options.

When selecting an accent color, try to choose something which will contrast well with white text. Many themes will use your accent color as the background for buttons, headers and navigational elements. Vibrant colors with a darker hue tend to work best, as a general rule.

Installing Ghost themes

By default, new sites are created with Ghost's friendly publication theme, called Casper. Everything in Casper is optimized to work for the most common types of blog, newsletter and publication that people create with Ghost — so it's a perfect place to start.

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ghost branding definition

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  • Edition — A beautiful minimal template for newsletter authors
  • Alto — A slick news/magazine style design for creators
  • London — A light photography theme with a bold grid
  • Ease — A library theme for organizing large content archives

And if none of those feel quite right, head on over to the Ghost Marketplace , where you'll find a huge variety of both free and premium themes.

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Ghost's theming template files are very easy to work with, and can be picked up in the space of a few hours by anyone who has just a little bit of knowledge of HTML and CSS. Templates from other platforms can also be ported to Ghost with relatively little effort.

If you want to take a quick look at the theme syntax to see what it's like, you can browse through the files of the default Casper theme . We've added tons of inline code comments to make it easy to learn, and the structure is very readable.

See? Not that scary! But still completely optional.

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Start here for a quick overview of everything you need to know

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Make Ghost branding optional

There are places (footer, portal screen) where removing the ghost branding is impossible after the v4 update. As a paying customer who wants to start a professional publishing business, I don’t want to come off as someone advertising other services to paid subscribers via link placements across my site. Please consider removing it.

I am pretty sure they choose to do it this way. Meaning; they did not want to give users an easy to “out” by being able to editing theme files.

“Publish with Ghost” is part of the portal.min.js file which is loaded from an external source. The only way around that, at the moment, is to load that script from your theme by adding the portal part to your config.production.json file.

The footer can be removed by editing the theme or by applying CSS using the .copyright class.


By the way, you can’t change the Ghost Admin favicon, why?

Personally, I have no issue with the Ghost branding on the backend — I use Ghost because I like it and the people who run it.

That said, I would prefer the option of not having Ghost featured in the Portal. I use premium themes to get around using it for that sole reason.

So does it load the script twice then? I don’t see how to even stop the external load from happening. It seems to inject the call for it after everything is rendered.

No, it loads it from your theme instead of from a third party.

At least this way you can edit placeholder texts, change the button text and its link and so forth.

How do you override the default script loading in the first place? that’s where i’m stuck.

Hopefully this explains it well enough.

Nice! Yeah, well done. Thanks for that


Hey, could you please attach (give a GDrive link or something) the PDF file for that? I’m having this issue too.

I’ve only been here five minutes but in my honest opinion, this is really bad practice, especially if you are paying customer.

It doesn’t look like they want to remove it or make it optional by the tone of other discussions I have come across on here and it seems they get touchy on the subject which is a little disappointing to see.

I’ll make it available here:


This link is no longer available. Do you have a mirror or something that we can read/download this from? Thank you.

DAVE PARMLEY's profile

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