Digital Advertising vs Traditional Advertising

Updated: Jan 12

Let’s start by saying there is value in both. But depending on your advertising goals and budget, one may be more accessible than the other.


Traditional Media


Traditional media, also called legacy media, refers to communications that share news, advertising and other data through long-standing channels such as radio, newspapers, magazines, television, billboards and direct mail. We are all familiar with these as they have been a part of our daily lives for decades.


There are pros and cons with traditional media when trying to reach a consumer audience. Pros include that advertisers are able to advertise when audience counts are at their highest (prime-time TV shows, morning and drive times, high traffic areas, etc.) and in premium positions in print. Print pieces can create eye catching, touch-and-feel experiences, while broadcast can evoke emotional reactions. Traditional media has a certain comfort level and can increase brand awareness and stature.


​A big con is the cost. Television, radio, print and outdoor budgets must include the media costs as well as the production costs. Research shows traditional media comes at a much higher price tag overall. For example, TV advertising, according to Statista, can come in at $36.19 / 1,000 viewers compared to an average CPM (cost per thousand), for 2020, at $9.09 on Facebook, as per Revealbot’s 2020 monthly CPM Report. Some advertisers may find the pricing of traditional media to be a barrier.


As well, traditional or legacy media does not allow for immediate access, in real time, of significant metrics. ​In today's world, advertisers expect and need this information quickly so they can react to and adapt to changing information.


Digital Media


We continue to see a diverse range of retail advertisers shifting their advertising spend from traditional media to digital media — which can include everything from social media to websites to search engines and other programs. Digital media can provide advertisers with creative flexibility so they are able to reach target audiences where they are most often — in many cases, online — and to offer what is needed in the marketplace when it is wanted.


A prime example is how local and national retailers are working hard to identify what consumers want during the COVID-19 pandemic — and how best to deliver on meeting those needs. Being able to shift and change, update and amend or completely pivot their offerings is more important than ever.


Whether it’s the need to provide an option for click and collect, delivery, boxed items or new products and services they never dreamed of at the beginning of 2020, each retailer is looking for ways not just to survive, but to grow and win new market share through innovative and flexible approaches.


Remember that not all online media solutions are built the same. When looking to invest your valuable marketing dollars in a digital channel, choose carefully and ask yourself:

  1. Does the channel include the right audience for my product or service? Is my audience living and working in the ​geographic regions my business serves? Find an online media channel that matches your target audience​(s).

  2. What other reputable brands are advertising in the same channel? These are the companies you will be advertising beside and you want to make sure they are enhancing your brand, not detracting from it.

  3. How will my brand equity be protected? Do I have final say in the creative? If you are lucky enough to find an online media channel that comes with creative support, make sure you have final approval prior to an ad going live.

The ability to quickly advertise ever-changing and updated products and services is no longer optional – it is table stakes. To grow and succeed in the new marketplace, retailers will need to be creative in what they are bringing to consumers and how they are letting consumers know about their business.


There’s no question — capitalizing on the flexibility offered by digital advertising can help you build a marketing mix that keeps your business top-of-mind with consumers.

At BOOM, we match local and national retailers with more than 120,000 consumers through our multi-tiered loyalty platform. Click here to learn more about becoming a #BOOM Brand.

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