Can Digital Advertising Replace Traditional Advertising?

Digital Advertising

99% of the time. That’s my answer. Here’s why…

If we think about traditional advertising the channels include broadcast with television and radio, newsprint and magazines, billboards and out-of-home advertising, and finally direct mail. These are great mediums to reach a fairly large audience, albeit shrinking, which is extremely diverse in demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle. If we’re a major political campaign or major brand these channels are appropriate. All others – it is time to go digital.

Digital has received a bad reputation because of its infancy years. When digital advertising first started, it was in the form of banner ads. While these would be the equivalent of traditional advertising in reaching the masses, there simply weren’t masses in any one spot online to reach. The limited inventory of digital banner ads made them less effective than desired. Next, digital developed the ability to target. This is a great tool, but once again, it was not fully developed. The limits of early targeting did more to eliminate potential audience members than to include the largest qualified target audience. Again, it was too early.

Today’s digital allows marketers to perform the same tasks as traditional, and in a much more effective manner. The ability to create brand recognition by wide range exposure can be achieved through intelligent placement of online and mobile advertising within the most popular sites. Consider placement in these areas: online news media sites, weather, streaming video and audio sites including radio and tv sites, search engines, shopping & travel sites, oh and even dating sites. Throw the wide and varied social and network platforms in the mix and you’ve got nearly all of your target population. A broad enough online media plan will certainly create brand presence.

Advertising and marketing plans have been based on a few simple practices – multiple touch points, offers or enticement, and response mechanisms. No question, digital can win in this competition. The ability to have multiple touch points is certainly much more exceptional when we consider search, social and mobile advertising opportunities alone. The enticement or offers can be personalized in this space, thereby creating a much greater engagement rate, and of course the response mechanisms can be instantaneous.

Traditional advertising requires greater lead time to be able to place, realize and review responses. Your newspaper ad needs to be designed and submitted days before placement, television requires production and placement which is easily weeks ahead of placement. Again, while these channels certainly have a place, they have significant challenges.

Digital advertising can be created and launched in the same day, while more serious campaigns do require additional time of course. Campaign effectiveness can be monitored in a live environment, and of course changed at will.

Why is traditional so popular then? Easy – all clients understand it. How difficult is it to understand; you produce a tv commercial, pick the network and show lineup that you want to run in and presto, there’s an advertisement. You know the average viewership of that spot and the demographics. It’s not complicated.

Flip the channel to digital, and it gets a whole lot more complex. What type of digital ad are we placing? Will it be a banner ad, search, mobile? Will it interact with the user? Where will the ad take the user and what is the experience post-click? Is the placement based on demographics or lifestyle choices? Will we pay for the ad based on impressions (traditional media style) or engagements?

You be the judge. Here are two easy questions. You decide where to place your ads:

How many minutes a day does your target read a newspaper or listen to the radio?

How many minutes a day does your target spend online – desktop or mobile?

Digital has evolved, and it just keeps getting better.

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