Digital vs. Traditional Media Advertising: What’s best?

A common question we get asked in 2018 is what percentage of my marketing budget should be allocated to digital advertising versus traditional media advertising. This is such a complex question because every business and advertiser has unique products and needs.

Digital advertising provides trackable metrics that give marketing managers numbers to “prove” effectiveness. When a digital ad campaign generates a specific number of clicks and achieves a desired click through rate, digital marketers receive kudos for increasing web traffic which gives them as sense of a job well done. However, digital advertising metrics provide a double edge sword. Smart marketers know that metrics aren’t the whole success indicator of an ad campaign and rarely do digital ad campaigns on their own make big impacts without consumers first recognizing their brand/product/service. If they focus too sharply on the metrics, they may miss out on the wild success available from traditional advertising.

Traditional advertising gives consumers Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA). Consider this great Forbes article titled, “ To Keep A Consumer Brand Top Of Mind, Consider Old-School Advertising”, this article breaks down the reasons why traditional advertising is still so important and why having a mix of both traditional media advertising and digital is imperative.

We tell our clients that digital advertising is crucial in today’s connected world but if customers aren’t familiar with your brand they’ll just scroll on by your ad without a second glance. If you want to create impactful advertising campaigns you have to first let customers know who you are and why they should care first. After that, you can run digital ads to stay top of mind or to reinforce the brand message with a stronger call to action.

One way you can do this with all “digital media” is with an ad campaign on Pandora coupled with a digital retargeting and prospecting display campaign. Pandora offers audio ads much like Traditional Radio ads but they’re sold like digital ads so you buy the impressions on a cost per thousand (CPM) just like you would digital ads. (If you want the scoop on Pandora check out our Pandora blog post here) This gives Marketing Directors the ability to track impressions and clicks but also provides the compelling advertising  environment of a Traditional Radio ad with (:30) of sound and emotion conveyed in an audio environment. When we put together Pandora ad buys with digital retargeting and prospecting campaigns we remind our clients that they can’t solely focus on the metrics alone. They do have to consider that while the metrics are a good measure of consumer interactions, not everyone clicks an ad as a response to the message. Many consumers will respond to the ad later when the message is top of mind and relevant to their buying decision.

resort marketing digital advertising for hospitality industry

Example Digital Resort Ad

So for example, a resort markets a summer getaway package and the listener is driving while streaming Pandora. The listener doesn’t click while driving (yay for safe drivers!) but the (:30) audio message resonates and later that evening they mention to their spouse that they heard about a getaway offer at a resort that they’ve been wanting to check out. That’s Top of Mind Awareness. The listener was considering a weekend getaway and the audio ad triggered an awareness of that location for consideration. Had the resort not ran the ad, they may have not been a contender in the consumer’s consideration. Make sense?

You Marketing Managers have tough jobs. You have to provide measurable results for invested marketing dollars. Depending on your product or service this may be challenging. If you’re selling a product online and can pixel and track the sale, digital ads are easy to determine ROI. If you’re marketing a product or service that isn’t purchased with a click, it’s harder to show immediate results. We encourage our clients to measure advertising success by comparing year to year or month to month revenue and web traffic. Did this month compared to this month last year see a big spike in revenue? What did you do differently? Did you advertise on Pandora this year and direct mail last year? Did web traffic spike month to month? What was your mix of traditional media advertising versus digital advertising?

Marketing isn’t science. Although math and science are involved at times. We can’t directly correlate ad dollars precisely with an equation. We sure wish we could! While you can attribute clicks and impressions to ad dollars and look at cost per clicks and cost per thousand impressions, etc., in order to truly measure the overall effectiveness of an ad campaign, you really have to analyze results on a number of levels.

display ads digital advertising campaigns Dove Body Wash doesn’t solely track their ad clicks to determine the success or their ad campaigns. They also don’t exclusively advertise online. They run traditional TV ads all the time. They also run print ads. They then run digital display ads to reinforce their brand and to create a call to action from their brand ads on traditional media that are creating TOMA. So they’ll ultimately measure revenue and increases in market share to most accurately determine where their dollars made the biggest impacts. They likely don’t compare traditional media advertising separately from digital media advertising. They probably analyze the overall effectiveness of their convergence marketing strategy.

We get that you likely don’t have a Dove budget, but these principles are true on both a large and small scale. You really have to consider how the overall campaign strategy impacted your Top of Mind Awareness along with the clicks and impressions.

If you have specific questions about traditional media advertising versus digital media and how to best invest your ad dollars, we’re happy to chat with you about the available options and strategies. We consider our media buying service similar to real estate investing. When you have a home buying budget, you consider what the comps are. Media budgets are the same. If you have X dollars, how can you invest those dollars to make the biggest impact? That’s what we do.

We go over the comps and recommend the best impact for the investment. We don’t have a biased reason to recommend one media over another because we’re compensated the same for every media we buy. We are truly incentivized by repeat business and referrals. We want to see your ad campaigns be wildly successful so that you continue working with us and you tell your friends about us. That’s how we’ve grown over the past 10 years. Word of Mouth Advertising for us, as a business to business company, has been the most impactful method of business development. We’d love to have an opportunity to earn your business and referrals. Give us a shout here to chat about your traditional media advertising or your digital advertising. We’re well versed in both and have perfected the art of fine tuning ad campaigns to maximize your ad budget.