Why you can’t afford to leave digital out of your media mix

by | Jun 30, 2020 | Marketing, Public Relations

As recently as 20 years ago, marketers’ options for advertising platforms basically boiled down to broadcast television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. Now, advancement of digital platforms from web banners to social media ads have relegated these channels under the heading of “traditional media.”

Some companies in these industries buried their heads in the sand, believing that digital was a passing fad, or that it would at least never eat into their market shares in any significant ways. This turned out to be a very bad decision. Others, however, worked to figure out how they could embrace this new avenue and fold it into their existing business models.

If you are responsible for spending ad dollars and think digital is a poor investment, you need to think again. Here are the advantages it can provide, ideally in conjunction with “traditional” media.

Easily updated messaging

Whether you’re buying digital out of home advertising or geo-targeted rotating web banners, you’ll find that it’s far easier to have multiple sets of copy and update information than it is with traditional media.

Let’s use a state lottery jackpot as an example. If the ad buyer for the lottery wanted to include the day’s jackpot in a radio or television spot, they would need to have their production teams produce a new ad (or at least part of one) each time the number changed. If you’re buying traditional billboards or print ads, production is even more cumbersome. On the other hand, changing digital ad copy is generally little more than a “copy, paste, and publish” process.

Precise audience targeting

Perhaps the greatest asset that digital advertising has introduced to the marketing world is shockingly precise demographic targeting. If your target customer is a 35-year-old woman living in a certain part of a certain city with a certain income level, digital ad managers will allow you to specify them as your target and serve your ads directly to them.

This is far more accurate than the somewhat scattershot approach buyers had to take with broadcast and radio, buying ads in programs that generally performed well in certain demos. Unfortunately, the methodology to tabulate traditional media ratings is shockingly arbitrary.

Readily available analytics

Speaking of traditional media ratings, advertisers and buyers used to have to wait for months to receive numbers back from major reporting agencies. With digital, this information is available in real time. Depending on the platform, you can instantly monitor interactions with an ad once it is deployed, see if it is being watched all the way through (for video ads), and see if it is effectively driving traffic to your website or sales portal. If you had told a marketer in the 1980s or 1990s that this was possible, they either wouldn’t have believed you, or thought you’d somehow tapped in to actual magic or sorcery!

Beyond the obvious advantages of real-time reporting, back-end analytics can help marketers identify trends and develop long-term strategies. They now instantly have access to information that would have, until recently, required research projects and focus groups to harness. Now, whether the information is fully scientific or largely anecdotal, it is useful to chart information that shows the correlation between ad dollars spent and revenue earned.

Return on investment

With regards to ad dollars, another crucial advantage digital advertising supplies is a return on investment that is vastly superior to many forms of traditional media. This isn’t to say that digital media is inherently cheaper than other forms of advertising (although in many cases,it is). What this means is that due to the highly targeted nature of the ads you serve to desired demos, you are much more likely to convert sales.

Savvy marketers need to consider every avenue to advertise. This is not a new concept, but many new channels have emerged for them to work with. A media mix that doesn’t include digital is a short-sighted strategy that is leaving money on the table.

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Jeremy Sutter
Jeremy Sutter is a freelance writer and former mobile marketing manager at Adobe.

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