Rivals or allies?

Traditional vs. Online advertising

By Ximena Moreno, Karen Alí Mejía & Cesar Vargas

For more than a century ago, traditional advertising presented in magazines, newspapers, printed media, television and radio, among others, took the stand as the only ways to communicate publicity, until now. Nowadays these means are being displaced from their golden spot by the digital media advertising. More than 3 billion people use social media, including Facebook, the ruling supreme with more than 1870 million users, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. This has transformed the way marketing communications approaches people, resulting in the creation of new methods of sharing this information.  


             Traditional advertising


As advertising is for creating awareness of a business in the mind´s eye of the consumer traditional advertising has been decreasing because nowadays people tend to be more alert in their social network, and digital stuff. But traditional advertising won’t disappear one day to another because several studies actually discover that people get the message easier when they hold the information in “their hands”.

So traditional ads may be old, and may not be as creative and cheaper as digital advertising but they actually have things that may help companies and associations to create awareness. That traditional ads have no more than four kinds of presentation; Billboards, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, make them a little bit bored, and also not that viral. because there is fewer and fewer people who buy newspapers and magazines, or listen to the radio. So the ones who may save are billboards, because they can make a great impression if they are original and big enough.

So we now know that traditional methods have a high success rate and are actually proven, and also there is the chance that anyone who do watch TV, or listen to radio, and read newspapers can learn and be aware of your mdbusiness or service and you can reach to potential customers.

And the big BUT to traditional ads would be the money, they are expensive because every second on TV and the radio cost a lot, because there would be for sure people who will listen. Also billboards and being in newspapers are expensive even more if you want to be on a big one, or on a first page. Here also is the thing that there are more and more people who care about the environment and must of traditional advertising is wasting paper, and using artificial and chemical stuff that make the environment suffer a lot.

                         Digital advertising

adwIn the last few years, the development of digital marketing has grown in great measure from banners to personalized pop-ups, the internet has become one of the biggest means for marketers and communicators to reach their targets. The advantages of this kind of advertising include: the specificity that it offers given the fact that AdWords (the tool that makes a certain ad appear depending on your interests, history search and likes), the easiness to target your publics via social media and it is also cheaper than traditional media.

As a result of all these factors a business or entity can achieve a greater scope which gives them bigger opportunities, an insight on the areas to work in, and a better idea of what their clients want. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to this, first of all the difficulty to keep track of your reach, it is true that there are in fact tools to help measure your impact but the technical part is different to reality, maybe people are just skipping your ads, not clicking on them, or they just pass through them. Another thing that is really challenging is the job of the community manager. This position needs to be filled by someone who understand both worlds, the business and communications one, and the virtual and costumer one. Finding a person that does it becomes really complicated in today’s society.

The biggest risk in digital advertising is the hacking, this becomes a threat as soon as you start a social media page, or website. If hacked, the crisis could turn into a big problem that would need a bigger team of strategic communicators and public relations managers to solve. Last but not least, having a digital communications strategy implies hiring apart from marketers, and communicators a web designer which usually isn’t cheap so it costs another spending to the company.

And if we joined them?

We all know that we live in a society where everybody is multichannel, so for the advertising campaigns succeed they need to take account of this multichannel approach. It is hugely important that markets create a ‘unified brand experience’ across all channels, this includes traditional and digital media. As we have said, both have their own advantages and disadvantages themselves but if you manage to join them  both it can be the key of your success.


Marketers need to create multiple touch points with a consumer using consistent imagery, branding and messages in order to create impact. It’s very important to never lose sight of your audience since they will be key of which media would be better for you campaign.


Some companies may think traditional advertising isn’t effective anymore because of the technological world we live in but let’s not forget that physical material involves more emotional processing which is important for memory and key for brand associations. A 2009 study by the Bangor University found that “physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings suggesting greater ‘internalization’ of the ads”. It also conclude that having the add in your hands has a better meaning because is more real for the brain.

This doesn’t mean that digital advertising hasn’t the same impact on the audience, since we know that most of the companies are trying to get to the customers through social media. It is just a combination of both that can make your message to really impact the people. It’s important to have in mind the pros and cons of both of them.                      Facebook (2)                Facebook (1)










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