If traditional advertising is “dead,” no one told consumers. Traditional advertising continues to secure trust and engagement, though digital advertising makes it easy to achieve visibility and impact at scale. Small businesses can benefit by integrating traditional and digital ad formats.
Research shows that small businesses most often use digital advertising, but also rely on print, events, and TV for their marketing. A multi-channel approach affords the best of both worlds: cost-effectiveness and personalization of digital formats with the wide reach and credibility of traditional ad mediums. This article explores why traditional advertising is still effective and how small businesses can best overlap their digital and traditional advertising strategies.
1. Traditional Ads Earn More Trust
Consumers trust traditional ad formats more than digital ad formats. According to Clutch, the most trusted forms of advertising are TV and print, both of which are far more trusted than online and social media advertising. Digital formats allow for more precise targeting and personalized experiences, but the anonymity of digital channels undermines the credibility of paid ads. Anyone can serve a Facebook ad. TV and radio ads, on the other hand, are often the product of advertising agencies, experts with insights about engagement and formatting. People are more familiar with traditional ad formats, which also makes them more appealing.
By contrast, consumers skeptical and frustrated by digital ads and distrust publishers like Facebook who have failed to protect their personal data. Trustworthiness is hard-earned for small businesses, and traditional ads are an effective way to improve your brand’s reputation.
2. Traditional Advertising Engages and Doesn’t Annoy
People spend an increasing amount of time online, but traditional advertising lets you reach your offline audience. Traditional ads also achieve more impact than digital ads. According to the Clutch’s survey, TV and print ads influence purchasing more than online or social media advertising. TV is an engaging and retentive, thus is an appealing option for many small businesses.
Meanwhile, digital ad spends soared to $49.5 billion in 2018, a 20.3% increase YOY from 2017, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In addition, 91% of small businesses plan to increase their advertising spending in 2019, according to The Manifest, mostly on social media and other online advertising platforms. Increased competition results in more expensive digital ads as well as increasingly ad-fatigued consumers.
Digital advertising can also annoy consumers by disrupting their online behavior. Ad blockers have gained popularity as people seek an unimpeded browsing experience. A personalized ad experience is a priority for online consumers. Brands that serve irrelevant digitals ads will earn low engagement and risk degrading their brand image with annoyed customers. Traditional ads are more ingrained and less bothersome than digital advertising. In fact, consumers will often watch TV, listen to the radio, and view print media while using their mobile devices.
Traditional ads let businesses leverage their credibility and drive engagement without causing offense or annoying consumers.
3. Consistent Traditional and Digital Advertising Creates Coherent Brand Narrative
The most effective advertising campaigns are a blend of traditional and digital channels. Having consistent messaging across your company’s digital and traditional channels creates an engaging and coherent brand image and narrative.
Combining digital and traditional advertising allows your small business to:
- Maximize your reach
- Target digital audiences with precision
- Track your campaign results
A multi-channel approach also helps you engage your audience on their terms. This way, you can more readily learn your audience’s behaviors and identify the best channel for your target customers. For example, fusing TV and social media can be an effective strategy because many people watch TV with a mobile device in hand. Encourage viewers to follow you to access cross-promotions, or create branded hashtags to make your brand more memorable on social.
Be sure to mention your online presence in any traditional formats. Repeat your website URL on any radio spots, and print it in any direct mail to amplify your digital engagement. Get creative about how you overlap your advertising, but be consistent with your messaging and aesthetic to avoid confusion.
Integrating digital and traditional advertising gives you optimal access to customers and lets you bounce your audience between channels. With more relevant mediums at your disposal, you most quickly and effectively bring your audience into a deeper relationship with your brand.
Traditional Advertising Is Worthwhile for Small Businesses
Traditional advertising helps small businesses reach and engage their offline customers. Though more expensive and harder to track than digital ads, it’s more trusted by consumers and often more impactful. Ideally, experiment with a mix of both traditional and digital ads to learn what your audience responds to best, then budget accordingly.
Kristen Herhold is a Senior Content Writer for Clutch, a B2B news and how-to site in Washington, D.C. She researches advertising and social media marketing agencies and trends.