Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Many businesses will pick one form of marketing over the other purely to keep to their budgets, we know a holistic online marketing approach is ultimately required, but which single marketing channel is best for you at this moment?

Traditional marketing is a large category that includes many forms of advertising such as newspaper/magazine adverts, television and radio adverts, flyers, billboards, cold calling over the phone and so on. Digital marketing is advertising through online sources such as websites, social media, apps and search engines. Digital marketing is a method that is much preferred in today’s world as more and more people are spending their time online, whether it be on a mobile, tablet or computer.

Measuring of data

Digital marketing allows advertisers to precisely track the performance of their campaigns and to constantly optimise them to move forward. However, with forms of traditional marketing such as newspapers, it is very hard to measure a return on investment. Estimations can always be created but they will never truly be accurate, whereas with digital marketing they will be. Those using digital marketing, such as Pay Per Click Advertising, will benefit from this ability to measure data accurately due to the number of statistics that are created by someone visiting one of their web pages or viewing one of their advertisements. As a digital marketer, you can constantly optimise your efforts from the data that is being collected, whether this is from the number of impressions or the number of people who click on your advert and then perform an act that you will value (i.e. signing up or completing a purchase).


Before digital marketing was around, word of mouth was a pretty standard method of increasing brand awareness (although it was a very slow process). Yet, advancements in social media and other online advertising methods have given marketers the chance to use people with large followings to voice their opinions on certain products and services. Subtle branding in photos or videos can be used for brand awareness but a lot of celebrities, on Instagram for example, promote objects like teeth whitening products directly to everyone that they follow. It’s most likely that everyone will have seen these advertisements but it is just an improvement to the old phrase ‘word of mouth’. It is also beneficial, in this sense, that many people idolise celebrities, or people with large audiences following them, as they will have a strong impact on what brands and products consumers will use. A prime example of this would be a company that is selling a new range of skincare but they have very little brand awareness. If they pay someone with a big following or social media input to say some positives about the product or that they use it then it will reach a lot of people from that one post, therefore encouraging others to check out the website or perhaps buy an item.


Digital marketing is definitely the cheaper alternative between the two, traditional marketing could never compete with the potential that digital has. A single post online has the ability to reach thousands of people but to do this with any type of traditional form will mean a lot of money needs to be spent to create numerous billboards, magazine/newspaper adverts, radio broadcasts, television adverts etc. and just to reach the same number of people. All of these costs are without the efforts and prices of printing materials, which is something online marketers do not have to worry about. Some businesses may feel as though traditional forms of marketing are the best options for them as they often have set pricing, however, a set price does not mean that it is a price that works best for your company. You have the ability to choose your own budget with most forms of digital marketing, however, this is not the case with traditional as you will be spending money to have ads printed or displayed, even if no-one sees them.

Audience and accessibility

Traditional marketing allows advertisers to easily reach their local target audience, through means such as flyers and posters, as well as other certain areas through radio or television adverts. As good as this method is, with the increasing use of smartphones and online activity, the digital marketing method is becoming a favoured one to advertise through. Audiences are measured exactly to ensure that adverts, web banners, etc. are posted in the places that they are created for. A marketer can choose a gender, age range, location and interest that they would like people who see their business to have. The locations can be endless and, unlike traditional marketers, they can have their advertisements seen globally if they wanted to. With new methods, such as remarketing being introduced, the potential customers are constantly being exposed to advertisements the marketer views as relevant, this is as well as people who have previously visited their sites or have already searched for the related topic.

Nowadays, everyone and everything seems to be going digital, from newspapers to banks, and this, therefore, requires a shift in a marketers approach. Traditional marketing is still a key tactic to increase sales and brand awareness and will always be an important method of marketing, but it is vital in this day and age to have some form of online presence. Having some kind of online campaign can bring a whole new crowd of people to a business that may have been struggling to get seen, and it’s a different world of potential consumers that should be taken advantage of.

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