Traditional vs Digital Advertising

When it comes to shouting out about your business, sometimes money talks and the best way to get your message in front of the right audience is to use advertising.

There are so many paid options out there to promote your business, it can be hard to know where to start.

With the rise of our digital world, more and more businesses are moving their advertising online. Globally digital advertising has grown in popularity so much that worldwide digital ad spending is predicted to reach over $375 billion by 2021 – but is this always the best option?

We’ve put together a quick analysis of both traditional and digital advertising to help you make the right decision for your business.

But first…

Let’s define the different types

Traditional advertising refers to any type of advert that isn’t online. This means print, broadcast and outdoor advertising like billboards.

Digital advertising is any advert put out online, such as paid social media advertising, display adverts and Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

The advantages of digital advertising

  1. Digital advertising is a direct way to connect with target audiences. For example, a customer might be on the brink of making a purchase after seeing a sponsored social media post, but they need a bit more information about the product to reach a decision. That customer could directly message you a question about your product or find the FAQs section on your website in just a few clicks and this could result in a purchase.
  2. Digital advertising can be more targeted – one of its biggest advantages is that everything is connected online, and this makes the discovery-to-purchase process much smoother for the customer. Adverts can be tailored per search trends, age, hobbies etc, whereas you don’t have control over who sees a traditional advert.
  3. Digital adverts are much more reactive and better suited to change. For example, you can’t easily edit a billboard so they can quickly become dated, but you can switch digital ads on or off and amend them based on data you have collected.
  4. Digital advertising can be more cost effective. Traditional adverts are usually pricier – obviously this depends on the reach of the publication, the position of the ad or the location of the billboard you choose – but the reach of a digital ad will generally be much greater for a lot less money.
  5. Digital advertising is more measurable. One of the biggest pull factors for businesses is that it is much easier to measure the return on your investment when using digital, and this is an important part of analysing results to improve your adverts in the future.

The advantages of traditional advertising

  1. Traditional advertising plays an important part in reaching local audiences, and physical adverts can be kept for a long period of time – though there are plenty of websites for regional publications that can also be targeted with a digital banner ad.
  2. Traditional advertising can be attention grabbing. It’s much easier to stand out from the crowd with a creative billboard in prime spot then it is to cut through the noise on social media. An increasingly digital world has, in some cases, saturated advertising spaces online and customers are drawn to finding out about brands and products via more traditional avenues.
  3. Depending on your target audience, digital adverts can be seen as less trustworthy and more annoying. According to PowerTraffick, from 2018 to 2019, the total number of devices around the world with ad blockers rose from 142 million to upwards of 615 million. Evidence suggests that as much as 70% to 80% of users are ignoring sponsored search results and choosing to click on organic search results, highlighting a distrust of something that is paid for online.
  4. Traditional ads can also be a better option when targeting an older demographic or individuals who might not be online that much, as it’s always more beneficial to reach your audience where they prefer to consume information.

But should we really be pitting two forms of advertising together? Or can these two methods work in unison? It’s important to understand how to reach your target audience effectively, and it might not be a one-size-fits-all approach.

So, what should I use for my business?

It ultimately comes down to which one fits the needs of your business. When trying to choose between traditional and digital marketing, it’s important that you understand your customer, the industry you’re in and what your competitors are doing. There is room for businesses to employ both traditional and digital methods in their marketing strategies, but these must be clearly defined within a wider marketing plan for ad spend to be effective.

Before placing any ads, businesses and marketers must decide the overall objectives behind their advertising campaign. Are you looking to increase general brand awareness, or increase sales of a particular product? Are you looking to find new customers or retain current ones?

Budget constraints are another important consideration when planning an advertising campaign. If your budget is limited, digital may be a better way to get a return on your investment with a smaller upfront cost.

As with all marketing methods, we must adapt to the changes in the market, and creativity is key!

If you need support to get started with your next digital advertising campaign, marketing and digital agencies like ours are happy to help you put a strategy together and implement it.

Find out more about our digital marketing services and get in touch
via our contact page to have a chat with a member of our team.