Eddy Hyde - Technical Sales Manager

Eddy Hyde

20th May 2016

Is Online Advertising Outperforming Traditional Advertising Media?

The growth of online advertising & decline in popularity of traditional advertising mediums

Since its inception in the early 90’s, the internet has proved to become an extremely effective platform for businesses to advertise on. Online advertising, also known as internet marketing is comprised of search advertising, display advertising, social media advertising, mobile advertising and more.

Increasing by 5.8% to £18.6bn ad spend in 2014, it is expected that UK advertising expenditure will break the £20bn mark in 2016 (Source: http://www.adassoc.org.uk/news/drive-to-digital-sends-uk-advertising-to-its-highest-growth-for-four-years/). In 2015, the UK was predicted to become the first country in the world to spend half of all advertising on digital media, thanks to a surge in the use of smartphones and tablets (Source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/UK-Achieve-World-First-Half-of-Media-Ad-Spend-Goes-Digital/1012280). Google currently dominates the global online advertising market, occupying a market share of 31.45% throughout 2014 (Source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Microsoft-Surpass-Yahoo-Global-Digital-Ad-Market-Share-This-Year/1011012). Nevertheless, Microsoft and social channels Facebook and Twitter have been making market share moves in an effort to bridge the gap, making them hard to ignore.

Improvements in technology and therefore the increase in consumers accessing the internet from a variety of devices has led to online marketers having access to a multitude of information at their disposal. Internet marketers can now target adverts based on personal information from social media and internet browsing habits. The emergence of smart phones, tablets and more recently wearable technology such as the Apple iWatch (all with internet access) has created a platform where marketers have a vastly increased potential reach (in comparison to traditional media), eradicating time restrictions due to consumers having access to the internet 24/7. These new devices have caused a paradigm shift to a more display focused form of advertising with a need for engaging and interactive adverts and a heavy emphasis on imagery and video. It is the competition for the penetration of this mobile marketing industry that will further fuel the growth of online advertising.

The display focused, measurable, results orientated nature of the online advertising industry has led to the demise of various forms of traditional marketing. Gone are the days of ‘push’ advertising messages, with new generations of consumers who have been born and raised in an age of technology and mobile driven communication, holding different expectations.

5 Reasons Why Online Advertising Can Outperform Traditional Advertising

Targeted & Measurable

Online advertising provides an extremely targeted method for businesses to reach its consumers. Businesses can target consumer based by demographic profile, location, device used, search terms and much more. This targeted approach ensures that adverts focus on the correct audience, therefore not spending budget on reaching unsuitable exposure. Internet advertising comes in various forms, including re-targeting, which enables businesses to re-target consumers who have visited their website with ads placed on other online sites. This type of advertising is not available through more traditional methods such as TV, radio and print media as they are not as measurable.

Measured in almost real time, online adverts can be measured to a granular level, allowing businesses to understand exactly who is buying their products/services and what they have searched for to come across the adverts, facilitating further optimisation of the advertising campaign. Tracking codes can be added to check the effectiveness of adverts and establish performance related metrics such as conversion rate and return on investment. This can help businesses understand how much a customer (sale) is worth to them (e.g. cost per acquisition), which is difficult to achieve using traditional advertising mediums. Split testing, where variations of the same advert are used alongside each other, is another valuable aspect of online advertising which is hard to replicate using traditional methods.

Being able to target so specifically and measure results so closely means that online marketing will often yield a higher conversion rate and lower cost per lead than traditional advertising.

Flexible and Active

With the public now actively seeking products and services online 24 hours a day, using desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices, internet ads are the perfect way for consumers to find what they are looking for and businesses to reach out to potential customers and make money. Online marketing provides a two-way interaction, with consumers actively searching and clicking the adverts, traditional mediums are more of a one way street where you pay for advert and hope you reach your target audience and that they act on it.

Social Media provides a form of permission based marketing. Consumers will ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ a brand or business profile or ‘Sign-Up’ to a company newsletter knowing they will receive communication and promotions from that business, essentially giving permission to be marketed to. This information is extremely valuable to marketers and is why Facebook and Twitter have become viable advertising tools for businesses.

Wide Reach

The internet has a vast reach, breaking all geographic restrictions seen within traditional marketing and allowing advertisers to promote to millions of potential customers. With the internet having such a large geographical reach, you may think businesses would be missing out on valuable local reach? However, it is actually the opposite. The detailed targeting available through online advertising channels such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook’s Advertising platform and more, allow precise geographical targeting, designed to specifically target local business. Unlike traditional media where ‘what you see is what you get’, the internet (online marketing) has no space restrictions, although advert text is often limited to a number of characters, you are often only one click away from a website with virtually limitless space and information.

Quick conversions

With online adverts, customers can more than often purchase your product or service there and then, meaning there is no delayed decision making process. This coupled with the fact that the advert will have been targeted based on the consumers search terms and/or interests and likes, means that conversion rate should be higher. Traditional adverts will regularly be pushed in front of the consumer. Because of this, there is a chance that the consumer may be preoccupied, either forgetting to take action following the advert or be completely disinterested and take no further action, leading to a missed conversion opportunity.

Cost effective

Traditional marketing methods often follow the path of interruption marketing, attaching your product or service advert to something the potential customer is already interested in (e.g. TV/Radio/Magazines/Newspapers), hoping they may be interested and convert. With this method, you are paying for the perceived amount of people who will buy the paper, be watching the advert or listening to the radio. With many forms of online marketing, pay per click advertising is available, meaning that marketers only pay once the consumer visits their website or browses the product being sold, based on an informed decision after viewing your ad. The ability to be able to set and limit flexible budgets based on a set of predetermined criteria and choose from a variety of bespoke pricing strategies make online advertising a very appealing proposition to marketers. Using online advertising techniques is often a cheaper alternative for advertisers and can be a much more cost effective proposition, returning a superior measured return on investment (ROI). Additionally, internet advertising is more achievable for SME’s to implement due to realistic budgets, whereas traditional methods such as TV advertising are only accessible by those with large marketing budgets.

Should I invest in online marketing?

The short answer – YES.

Although I believe many forms of traditional advertising methods will continue to dwindle, it is important to have a holistic approach to marketing, combining online and offline marketing and measuring the effectiveness of each campaign. It is important to note that there is a valuable link between online and offline marketing. For example, with traditional methods such as TV advertising, the potential of social marketing has been recognised. Marketers now harness its power by creating live conversations through incorporating hashtags, interactive apps and online polls into their programmes and adverts to reach out to consumers.

Moving forward, I believe we are entering the age of mobile, social and visually focused content, with a new ‘online’ generation of consumers creating a necessity for a new age of advertising. Consumers are now looking for information from their trusted sources, which are no longer manufacturers, but instead, friends and family offering recommendations. This highlights the importance of word of mouth marketing and in advertising terms, social media advertising.

However, we need to ask ourselves if these new breed of consumers are programmed to ignore or bypass online ads? This point further necessitates the need for online ads to be fresh, relevant and interactive, grabbing consumer’s attention and generating conversions.

If you are interested in starting your online advertising journey, let us at SilverDisc help along the way. Our team of experts can help with online campaign strategy, maintenance, reporting and more. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any of your internet marketing requirements.

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