For generations, traditional avenues of advertising — long-influential media platforms like radio, TV, newspapers, billboards and direct mail, along with in-house assets like business cards — have held sway in the marketing world. But in the digital age, newer, more targeted advertising offerings have flourished on the internet, leading many brands to drastically cut back on — and even altogether abandon — their traditional marketing efforts. And as a result, spending on traditional advertising avenues has seen significant drops in recent years.
So, is traditional advertising doomed to fade away in the modern era? Do the advertising avenues most familiar to the marketers of yesteryear still have a place in the modern marketing mix? Read on to get The Brandon Agency’s take on the role of traditional advertising in the 21st century marketing arsenal.
The fast rise of digital advertising
Over the last 20 years, the popularity of digital advertising has skyrocketed. In fact, since online advertising got its start in the early 2000s with a minimal share of total global ad spend, research suggests that it will capture two-thirds of total ad spend in the U.S. by 2023.
This meteoric rise makes sense when you consider the various benefits that digital advertising can deliver to businesses that leverage it. Among its many advantages, digital advertising offers:
Opportunities for lower costs
Because digital ads can be served in a piecemeal manner, reaching consumers one screen at a time, digital advertising formats can enable advertisers to get their messaging out on a very small and focused scale if they so desire. Alternatively, more traditional forms of advertising typically require advertisers to run an ad that goes out to, for example, all readers of a newspaper or all viewers of a television show. As a result, the total cost to the advertiser can be kept significantly lower, allowing businesses with much smaller budgets to get in on the digital advertising game.
Further, while the return on advertising spend (ROAS) of various advertising formats can vary greatly depending on a range of variables and circumstances — and traditional advertising formats can sometimes top digital advertising from an ROAS perspective — digital advertising’s ROAS can be quite high. That is especially the case when a brand’s messaging is deployed in an informed and strategic manner. For example, statistics show that digital search advertising carries an average ROAS north of $11 per $1 spent. And, according to some research, email marketing can deliver an average return on investment (ROI) of $36 for every $1 spent.
A huge potential reach
Statistics show that 4.66 billion people actively use the internet globally — and that more than 65% of the world’s population has internet access. Further, the average internet user spends more than 7 hours online each day, and in the United States, 81% of average adults go online daily. Clearly, digital advertising offers brands the opportunity to reach a vast connected audience that’s devoting large amounts of time and attention to the medium.
Extensive targeting options
Digital advertising enables brands to employ audience targeting and segmentation at higher levels than ever before, all based on a broad range of consumer characteristics including age, interests, geographic location, past online search behavior and past buying habits (just to name a few). And as such, rather than casting a wide net and hoping they reach the right audience, brands can more effectively zero in on the consumers who are most likely to have an interest in their offerings and convert. Further, abundant analytical tools (more on that below) can be leveraged to, over time, even more precisely dial in the audience segments that best respond to brands’ ads and deliver the highest possible ROI on their ad spend.
Highly detailed performance tracking
A range of powerful tools such as Google Analytics are available that make it fairly easy for digital advertisers to track website visitors and their behaviors — enabling them to see where their visitors are coming from, what they’re doing and, as a result, which online advertising platforms are having the biggest impacts on their business. Further, the digital advertising platforms themselves typically offer dashboards with analytical tools that measure ad and campaign performance. With these tools in hand, digital advertisers can take a much more data-driven approach to executing and adjusting their marketing strategies, helping them to maximize the impact of their marketing efforts.
High levels of engagement and interactivity
Thanks to the unique online format of digital advertising, consumers can easily and immediately pursue further interactions and engagement with brands and their offerings in a way that traditional advertising formats simply can’t touch. Because online consumers are already sitting at their computers or scrolling on their mobile devices, digital ads can serve as direct links to more information about the brand’s offerings and even to conversion — all with just a few simple clicks of the mouse or taps on the screen. Additionally, with digital-marketing avenues like search advertising and search engine optimization (SEO), brands have the opportunity to deliver their messaging to consumers just as they are actively searching for solutions like the one(s) the brand is offering, potentially shortening the path to purchase.
Traditional advertising still packs a punch
While online advertising offers a number of benefits — and we at TBA certainly encourage our clients to leverage them — more traditional forms of advertising can still play a powerful role in a brand’s marketing mix. And despite popular perception, traditional advertising formats like radio, TV, newspapers, billboards and direct mail are definitely not dead.
Consider these facts exhibiting the power that traditional advertising platforms still possess:
Paper has powerful perks
According to studies, print advertising offers a range of impact-related advantages over digital ads, including added persuasiveness and attention draw, higher emotional reaction, and increased reading comprehension and recall in consumers.
Direct mail delivers distinct advantages
The benefits that direct mail can deliver include exceptional response rates, a demonstrated ability to gain and hold users’ attention, high levels of consumer trust, and a longer life span than digital advertising formats.
Radio reach remains robust
Reports show that AM/FM radio has more reach than any other electronic advertising medium, with 93% of U.S. adults listening weekly — a percentage that topped figures for TV, smartphones, PCs and tablets. Radio also shows a strong appeal among diverse audiences, covering the spectrum of age groups, ethnicities and demographics.
Adults are tuned into TV
Research suggests that adults watch 13 times as much video on television than over the internet, and that TV advertising can produce four times the ROI that digital advertising does.
Outdoor advertising can stand out
According to research, 71% of surveyed consumers say that ads on digital billboards stand out more than online ads. The same study also found that ads for quick-service restaurants, recreation, gaming and entertainment perform especially well on billboards.
Maximizing effectiveness with a marketing mix
At the end of the day, messaging frequency is the best way to increase the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. And because employing a mix of traditional and digital advertising can increase the chances of reaching consumers at every stage of the buying cycle, this can serve to move the needle more than using any single advertising avenue. So, while we at TBA are certainly advocates of brands employing a robust digital advertising strategy, we don’t suggest abandoning traditional advertising platforms in the process. Especially when employed in the right scenarios and when driven by experience and insights, mixing a brand’s digital ad spend with strategically planned forms of traditional advertising can deliver a range of business-boosting benefits and help brands better achieve their marketing goals.
Could your brand use the help of a team of seasoned marketing professionals to maximize the impact of its marketing efforts — and ensure an effective mix of new-breed and old-school advertising? At The Brandon Agency, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing experts has a wealth of experience boosting clients’ bottom lines with a broad array of advertising types, from the tried-and-true traditional platforms to the latest digital advertising opportunities. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.