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4 reasons online advertising beats print advertising

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by Louise Blakely in Advertising
Reasons you should do online advertising

In this digital world that we live in, it makes sense that online advertising gives a better return than print advertising. It’s the perfect way for small businesses to get attention and often outdo the big boys with the big budgets.

However because it’s not quite as easy and quick as people would have us believe, it’s easy to fall prey to those newspaper and radio sales people who are knocking on our door, selling us the magic pill, mentioning past success stories that include campaigns who have reached thousands!

It all sounds very lucrative, but if you ask the same salesperson what extra revenue was gained from this advertising, there likely wouldn’t be such a definitive answer. Reach just isn’t a great marketing metric. And this is why digital and online advertising trumps traditional advertising 90% of the time!

Related: How to know if you’re ready for online advertising

Here are the top 4 reasons why online advertising beats print advertising:

1. You can measure your results with online advertising

With print media, it’s a guessing game who has seen your advertising, who has engaged with it and who has become a paying customer as a result of it. There are limited ways to track the return on your investment.

But with online advertising, the opposite is true. You can track all of these things on a very granular level, and assess if your advertising investment is worthwhile. You can see not only the amount of people that you’re reaching (which is often the only metric you’ll get from traditional advertising) but how those people reacted, right down to the dollars they spent as a result.

As an example, say you decided you wanted to get in front of everyone in your neighbourhood with a mailbox drop. The below are hypothetical figures based on my experience of what this would cost:

Hiring graphic designer to create flyer = $250
Printing of flyers = $120
Employing teenager/student to drop off flyers – 4 hours at $15/hour = $60
Your time masterminding the project – 4 hours valued at $150/hour = $600

Total = $1030

The only real metric you’ve got at the end of all of this is how many flyers you have distributed. Not how many were actually read before they were tossed in the rubbish. You could also do a lot of online advertising with that same budget.

So if you value your time as the valuable resource that it is, you can see that having an amazing reach for your advertising isn’t enough. You need to know if you made any sales from that time, money and effort that you’ve just spent.

2. You can target your ideal customers

If you’re advertising in newspapers and magazines, you’re taking a spray and pray approach. They generally have a wide range of readers, so many of the advertisements will not be relevant to the reader and will be ignored. You also can’t approach print advertising as a one off, so not only is it expensive but you need to book multiple placements over a period of time to get any cut through.

In comparison, when you advertise online, you can use demographics, location, interests, age and previous engagement with your company as ways to segment who you’re advertising to. Therefore you can get very specific.

This allows you to get your advertising in front of the right people at the right time, when they are ready to engage. And with social media sharing, it is so easy for those people to share your content with their friends to gain even more exposure. You can’t share that easily with a newspaper!

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3. You can get in front of your customer at the right time

The way that people search for content has changed drastically in the last decade. People no longer wait for the newspaper to arrive to read the news, they just pull their phone out of their pocket. With online advertising (specifically Google Adwords) you can be right there when they’re looking for you.

There is one instance where I would encourage print advertising though – when you’ve found a publication that very narrowly targets the niche that you’re working within. It can be a great way to build up a profile in a new market but only if you can commit to placements in every issue for at least a year.

4. You can test for better results online

With online advertising, split testing allows you to measure one part of your campaign against another to see which is performing more effectively. You can compare things like one audience against another, one set of content against another, one call to action against another, or any other form of comparison.

By studying the results of your testing, you can drill down to see the exact thing that work for your audience. This makes your campaign more efficient and in the process, you learn more about what your customer actually wants and enjoys. It allows you to invest in the areas that work, and exclude the ones that don’t, saving precious advertising dollars.

Let’s face it, the advertising industry has changed dramatically over the past decade. The junk mail from your mailbox often goes straight in the bin, most of us only read the news online, and we fast forward through television ads, or skip them altogether. And radio…does anyone even listen to that anymore?

To get started with digital marketing, take the free email course 7 Days of Digital.

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5 QUICK WAYS TO USE RETARGETING TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

FREE CHEATSHEET

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