There is a little doubt what we considered marketing has dramatically changed since the advent of the internet. Traditional forms of marketing; print media, TV, billboard while still having a big place in ad budgets have been losing ground to digital advertising. By 2016 digital marketing will overtake TV in advertising spending, and will consume 35% of all advertising spending in the US. If you look at the growth between digital and traditional forms of advertising you will see where each is going. The growth rate for TV advertising is projected to grow just under 5% annually for the next 4 years, while even email marketing is projected to grow at a rate of 10% per year. That is a huge difference. I am not trying to say that email marketing is set to take over TV any time soon but by many accounts email marketing is no longer the “hot” marketing medium it used to be.
The key to understanding what makes this so important is the why? Why would advertisers switch what has worked for them for so long; TV, print, billboards etc and move more and more of not only their new ad dollars but existing ad dollars to digital forms of marketing? Sure I like to read about what other businesses are doing when making decisions with my own, but I need to also understand why they are doing it. That way I can understand how and if there are changes I need to be making. So let’s look at the two and see why. For the sake of our discussion I will leave out the cost, since I think most people understand traditional forms of advertising are more costly. They have the disadvantage of being more commodity based (paper) or labor intensive (billboard). Technology is automated and can be scaled to a larger audience at fractions of the cost. But cost is not the only factor, effectiveness is equally important.
Let us examine the two largest; TV and Search advertising.
With TV you can place your ad in front of a captive audience in a particular market or across the country. By picking the right time or show you can break down your audience into your target demographic. If you use a phone number specifically for the purpose, you can track the leads generated. It is difficult to know how many people actually watched it, they may have walked away from the TV. Interest is also very difficult to understand since you just threw it in, they may not need it or be in the market for you product. The ad may not be timely, in that it may actually be playing at a time when no one would be available to actually assist them if they did call. There is also the issue of what service/product they might be interested in. Your ad may speak about one or a few services/products but you may never know what the viewer are most interested in.
Internet advertising can also place your ads in front of a small or large audience. There are ways to determine age, sex, and even interests. There is a very simple way for the viewer to show interest, just click. In the case of search ads, the user was actually looking for something you offer based on the keywords they typed. Through phone routing, they can click to call and that number can forward to a cell. Or your site can have a form they can fill out to have someone get back to them. You have the ability to track which keywords led them to you and optimize for it. Through analytic tracking you can see which pages they visited, which links of your website were clicked, which ads were most effective? Now you can even re-market to people who visited your site but didn’t perform the action you wanted.
As you may begin to see the real key outside of cost, is in the analytics data that can be gathered through digital marketing. Digital marketing really is the next step in the evolution of advertising. Combining reach with intelligence will make your marketing more effective by placing your message in front of the people most likely to buy, at an affordable price.