Legacy vs. Online Media: Is one better than the other?

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


Legacy Media

Legacy media, or traditional media, is an offline media such as radio, billboards, direct mail, print and television. We are all familiar with these as they have been a part of our daily lives for decades.

There are pros and cons with legacy 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 legacy 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 legacy 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 and adapt to changing information.

Online Media

We continue to see the shift in advertising spend from legacy media to online media from a diverse set of retail advertisers. Online media can provide advertisers with creative flexibility so they are able to offer what is needed in the marketplace when it is wanted.

Local and national retailers are working hard to identify how to deliver what consumers want during the pandemic. Being able to shift and change, update and amend or completely pivot their offerings is more important than ever. Whether they 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 a way to not just survive, but to grow and win new market share through their innovative and flexible approaches.

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

  1. Does the channel include the right audience for your product or service? Is your audience employed, in the right ​geographic regions? 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 enhance your brand and not detract from it.

  3. How will your brand equity be protected? Do you 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 advertise ever-changing and updated products and services ​quickly is no longer optional – it is table stakes. Retailers, who will grow and succeed in the new marketplace, will need to be creative in what they are bringing to consumers and how they are letting consumers know about their business. Without the flexibility offered in online advertising platforms, retailers​, who choose to ignore online advertising, may be left behind.


At BOOM, we match local and national retailers with 120,000 consumers through our multi-tiered loyalty platform.


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