Regardless of the size of your advertising budget, the ever-changing landscape of media can make it difficult to decide where your advertising dollars should go. Newspapers and magazines, once the hallmark of advertising, have shifted from print to digital. Cable television is shifting to online, streaming experience. Billboards now use digital programming. On top of all that, social media dominates much of the user’s life, so that can’t be neglected either.
With so much changing and the increasing types of media available, what are the best ways to spend your advertising dollars?
Traditional Media vs. Digital Media
With the older generation still relying on traditional media and the newer generation becoming more comfortable with digital formats, heavily favoring one media type over another is disaster for a marketing strategy. Consumers want variety, and since people still watch TV, buy magazines and listen to the radio, these marketing outlets still have reach and potential.
Some of the biggest brands combine traditional and digital media campaigns in their strategy. We still see commercials for cars, jewelry, electronics and upcoming films and even digital giants like Amazon and Google air television ads for some of their products. Though the cost and targeting for traditional media may be different, it’s still an effective outlet for reaching an audience.
An Integrated Approach
To be successful, most markets are favoring a healthy mix of traditional and digital marketing in their strategy. It’s not just one or the other, but a blend of elements from each that serves to both target the right audience and have the broadest reach within it.
Digital marketing has a few distinct advantages over traditional, however. Prior to online advertising, companies had to spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns that had a narrow focus and may or may not reach the intended audience. With digital marketing, a global audience can be reached for a fraction of that – or free, in some cases – within seconds. This allows marketers to test different campaigns or products to determine where the budget should go. It’s also much timelier than waiting for a print ad to be developed and air. This provides low risk and high reward for advertising dollars.
Digital marketing also allows advertisers to interact with global audiences through innovative messaging techniques, such as chatbots and virtual reality. Unlike stagnant ads or TV commercials, this creates the personal experience for a viewer that helps them connect with the brand.
That said, there’s still a considerable audience for traditional marketing. They may not have the flexibility of online campaigns, but traditional campaigns are more impactful. Online users scroll through countless ads and content all day, so their attention span is shorter than ever. Ads in magazines and on television aren’t as easy to ignore.
We also know that users are often watching TV while scrolling through their phone, so that provides a unique opportunity to reach them with a TV ad and compel them to take action online. For example, a commercial or show may prompt users to answer a question on social media that they could only know from viewing, with the chance to win branded merchandise. Tactics such as these are effective for hitting a broader audience that includes both older and younger individuals.
All About the Audience
Regardless of how you integrate your traditional and digital campaigns, it always comes down to the audience. The more you can set parameters to narrow down to an exact persona, the more informed your decisions will be in terms of where your advertising dollars should go.
Location is important too. In addition to geo-targeting to hit the viewers closest to you, location also informs the best media for your ad spend. City residents often use mass transit to commute, sometimes spending hours on a train, bus or subway, which may be the perfect place for an ad. This could also mean that they’re spending time online with their phone or tablet, leaving plenty of opportunity for mobile ads.
Now, in rural and suburban areas, you’re more likely to see people commuting in their car. Because of this, the strategy could shift to geo-targeted mobile ads, traditional radio or billboards. All of these options are more likely to reach this viewer.
Taking this a step further, it’s also important to remember that there are many subsets within the social media umbrella. Each platform is directed toward a different audience. LinkedIn is a professional platform, Instagram and Pinterest are dominated by young women and Facebook has an incredibly diverse audience. The best use of your advertising budget in social media comes from targeting the right platform with the right audience, rather than casting a wide net to reach everyone.
Focusing on the Message
Once you have a clearly defined audience and deliberate media choices, you have the foundation for choosing where your advertising dollars go. You no longer need to spread your budget across each and every available outlet for mass reach and appeal, like the pre-internet days of traditional advertising. Now, you can prioritize your media and budget to target that specific audience and reap the benefits of a precise campaign.
No matter what campaigns and media you choose, however, you still need to be sure that your message is meaningful. Consumers can deselect irrelevant promotional messages, so your efforts still need to be put into creative, memorable ads, using the information gains from understanding your audience.
Get Started with Geary Company
When deciding between digital, social media, TV or print advertising, remember that these are just tools to communicate your message. Defining your audience and using that data as guidance for the ways to spend your advertising dollars, as well as the specific message you craft, will always get people’s attention.
If you want to elevate your advertising campaign with an integrated approach to traditional and digital strategy, Geary Company can help. Our experts specialize in everything from digital marketing to broadcasting, so we can help you devise the perfect plan for how to allocate your advertising budget to reach your target audience and achieve your goals. Contact us today to see what we have to offer!