When settling on an advertising strategy, what kind of media do you use? Do you stick with tried and true methods? Or are you more experimental? The battle between traditional and new media has raged on for the past several years, with both forms having their pros and cons.

If you’re struggling to determine which type of media is right for your business, it can be helpful to understand both sides.

What is Traditional Media?

Traditional media refers to advertising channels that have been used for decades. These are the tried-and-true methods that businesses have relied on for years. These channels can be pretty effective, and for many businesses, they account for the entirety of the advertising budget. In terms of dollars spent, digital research firm eMarketers(1) estimated that businesses would spend $104.32 billion on traditional marketing techniques in 2021.

One characteristic of traditional media is that it requires a large advertising budget. For that reason, and because of the emerging popularity of new media, businesses are starting to diversify their marketing strategies to include less traditional mediums, as well.


Examples of Traditional Media

Traditional media include radio, broadcast television, cable and satellite, print, and billboards. These are the forms of advertising that have been around for years, and many have had success with traditional media campaigns.

Even within traditional media, however, there is some debate over which form is best. The answer really depends on who you talk to– your broadcast TV rep, for example, may swear there is no way to achieve the same level of reach and frequency with print advertising. Your radio rep may tell you that radio is actually superior because it interacts with consumers while they are in the car or store, potentially when they are deciding on their purchase.

The reality is that there are advantages of traditional media, and disadvantages– no matter which forms you choose. The right type for you depends on the demographic you’re trying to reach, your message, your budget, and personal preference. You may want to advertise on TV, but TV has an average CPM of $28. Radio is less prestigious, but at a CPM of $10, it’s much more attainable for many businesses. Billboards are even more accessible, with a CPM of $5.

What is New Media?

New media can best be described as digital channels that have gained popularity in the advertising space in the last decade or so. As more and more consumers rely on their cell phones for everything, new media has become an increasingly effective way to advertise. Spending in the new media industry continues to grow, with experts estimating businesses will spend $172 billion on digital advertising by 2021(2).

Examples of New Media

New media encompasses internet-based forms of advertising such as banner ads, social media, and apps. This form of media can be highly targeted, even allowing businesses to reach consumers as they enter their store, for example, using cell phone push notifications. Targeted ads are another popular form of new media– if you’ve ever noticed advertisements related to your recent search history, you’ve encountered a targeted ad.

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New media has a much lower CPM than traditional media, which is one reason why it’s so attractive to businesses. Social media, for example, has a roughly $2.80 CPM.
Relationship between Traditional Media and New Media

In spite of the way it’s often positioned, traditional and new media do not have to go head to head. These mediums can actually be used together to make your advertising campaign stronger than ever. Traditional and new media can complement one another, with each playing a vital role.

To help that concept hit home, let’s look at an example. Say, for a moment, that you own a hair salon and are trying to grow your business. Your target demographic is women ages 18+, and you would especially like to reach mothers whose children need a haircut. You are currently using your entire advertising budget on print and radio, and have seen some return on your investment, but would like to see more.

One way you could achieve that is to spread out your advertising dollars. Imagine your advertising budget as a pie. Each form of media is one piece of the pie, so right now your pie has two pieces: one for print, and one for radio. What if you cut the pie into six pieces, however, and added in a couple of other forms of media. New media, as we’ll get into a little later, tends to be much more affordable than traditional advertising.

You could take some of the radio and print dollars and shift them into targeted mobile ads, sponsored social media posts, and banner ads, and you would exponentially increase your reach.

Traditional Media vs New Media

While traditional and new media can go hand-in-hand, there are a few reasons why you should consider adding new media to your mix over expanding your use of traditional media.

Value

New media is often far less expensive than traditional media. Not only do you pay less for your advertisement, but you also pay less per person that you reach.

Communication/ Interaction

New media tends to be much more interactive than traditional media, as well. New forms of media such as social media allow for direct communication and interaction between business and consumer.

Data-Driven

New media is highly data driven. You have access to exactly how many eyeballs saw your banner ad, for example, or how many people visited your webpage.

Level Playing Field

Social media, in particular, provides a level playing field for all businesses. It doesn’t take exorbitant amounts of money to grow your business using social media.

Cost Efficient

On a related note, new media is also more cost-efficient. Spending money on new media will likely yield a higher reach than spending the same amount of money on traditional media.

Accuracy

An added bonus of new media is the accuracy of its results. Unlike with TV ratings, new media allows you to comb over results that show you exactly how many people saw your ad, how long they viewed your ad for, and whether or not it led to a click-through.

Trust

Having a presence on social media allows businesses to establish a sense of trust with consumers. We tend to trust our friends, and if a consumer follows you on social media it implies that same sense of trust. This also helps promote effective word of mouth advertising.

Real-Time Results

Unlike traditional media, the results you receive from new media are often in real-time. That allows you to make instant changes to your creative in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. It also gives new media a leg up over traditional, where it often takes time to see the results of a campaign.

Global Reach

New media has a global reach, whereas traditional media tends to be highly regional. With new media, you are able to reach the entire globe for a fraction of the cost.

Choice of Audience

New media is highly targeted, and just about everyone uses it. That means you can have your choice of audience.

Virality

Truly effective new media has the potential to go viral. Your content could be shared with millions of people, boosting both your credibility and your image.

Effect on Consumers

New media can make consumers feel as if businesses and brands are accessible– almost as if they are friends. Traditional media promotes more separation between consumers and businesses.

Amount of Usage

In today’s world, consumers simply interact more with new media than traditional media. People tend to spend an ever-increasing amount of time engaging with their cell phone, and less and less time watching TV or listening to the radio.

Ability to Track Results / Result Tracking

When it comes to new media, the results are highly trackable. You can see exactly what demographics your ads are scoring big with, and which ones you’re missing.

Mobility

New media follows the consumer wherever they are. It can follow them right into your store.

Adaptability

New media is adaptable. You can easily switch out the content and creative of an ad or create a new sponsored social media post.

Run Multiple Campaigns at Once

New media allows you to run campaigns with multiple different creatives at the same time. This allows you to better target all demographics.

Ease of Use

Although new media can be pretty daunting at first, once you learn it, it’s actually easy to use. The results are easy to understand, and the sites are easy to navigate.

Targeting Capabilities

New media is excellent if you are trying to target specific individuals or demographics. The targeting capabilities go far beyond that of traditional media.

Customization & Personalization

New media can be easily customized to meet your business’s needs.

Marketing

Traditional media is a form of outbound marketing, where businesses send their message out to consumers. New media is a form of inbound marketing, where businesses interact with individuals who sought them out. Inbound marketing tends to provide more willing consumers than outbound marketing.

Engagement

New media allows for more engagement with consumers. Whether it’s social media or a targeted banner ad that asks the consumer a question, new media opens the lines of communication between business and consumer.