Why Our Digital World Hasn’t Completely Abandoned Physical Advertising

Back to Blog - by Kyle Malone

Digital advertising is experiencing record growth. In 2020, when predictions wavered due to pandemic uncertainty, digital advertising spending still managed to grow 14.9%. By the end of 2021, experts predict that ad buyers will spend $191.09 billion in the US, a 25.5% increase from last year. As consumers continue to flock to the web to browse, search, and ultimately make their purchases, this trend won’t slow down.

However, as much as brands rely on the digital world to get their message to consumers, they haven’t all but abandoned traditional forms of advertising. For a good reason.

In the digital advertising industry, we tote that an omnichannel media strategy is gold. This, unsurprisingly, is because today’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers. We aren’t solely spending time on our phones, computers, tablets, and other electronics, so abandoning the physical world would create missed opportunities as consumers move about the physical world.

Traditional advertising complements digital advertising very well (and vice versa). Combining the two strategies allows for maximum brand impact across all outlets.

Historically, brands relied on traditional forms of advertising and slowly adapted to a digital-first strategy. However, now we’re seeing newer brands doing the opposite. So if you’re in the bucket of marketers with a robust digital presence but looking to expand to physical advertising, we’re here to help.

We’ve outlined three forms of physical or “traditional” advertising strategies that will complement your digital media. Let’s dive in.

1. Print Ads

The Benefits of Print Advertising

a. Drives an Emotional Response

Because consumers are physically interacting with your brand in a magazine or newspaper, they can linger over your brand, the products, and the messages. This creates an excellent tangibility factor as consumers physically engage with your brand.

b. Inherent Interest in the Content (and thus, the ads)

You can think of print ads in the same regard as contextually targeted digital ads. People have to be inherently interested in the content of the magazine, newspaper, etc., to subscribe. They are in a state of exploration of their passions or interests, and the ads are a part of that experience, increasing the likelihood of a positive ad experience.

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Retargeting opportunities through PMP deals.

To complement print ads, digital advertisers can leverage private marketplace (PMP) buys to run digital ads on the respective websites where your print ads are running. This will not only continue to drive brand awareness but also encourage online conversations.

b. Increases brand credibility.

The digital advertising industry is constantly combatting consumer privacy, brand safety, and other ad-fraud-related concerns. Of all forms of advertising, consumers trust print ads the most (82% to be exact). Incorporating physical ads into your advertising strategy will boost your brand’s credibility, which will aid a consumer’s likelihood of interacting with your brand when they see an online ad.

2. Radio Ads

2021 marked a major milestone in audio: digital audio channels officially surpassed traditional radio in which US adults spend time-consuming audio. However, the change is narrow; digital audio accounts for 50.8% of total audio time. So, while there is a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers with advanced audio advertising (read more on that in our blog post, Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021 here), radio ads will reach consumers in the other nearly 50% of the time they spend tuning-in.

The Benefits of radio advertising

a. Radio reflects the community.

Most people listen to their beloved local radio stations to stay informed on local events, news, traffic updates, reports, sports, entertainment, and more. This sets the tone for a more personalized listening and ad experience. When listening to the radio, there is a home-grown feeling, so brands can leverage these notions in their radio ads, especially if they’re also a local brand.

b. Radio is affordable & efficient.

Compared to other forms of traditional advertising, like print and TV, radio advertising is much more affordable in both the creation and ad buy.

The creative process for radio doesn’t require props or set-ups and can be produced in a relatively short period of time. Regarding the ad buy, through local stations, CPMs (cost per thousand) run at a fraction of the cost, ranging from $12-30. This is especially affordable when compared to print advertising or TV buys.

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Radio ads are proven to increase SEO.

Studies show that radio ads can increase your brand’s online searches by about 29%. After hearing an ad, consumers will most likely search for your brand directly, helping to boost your SEO efforts.

b. Combine streaming radio, music, or podcast advertising with traditional radio

A combination of digital and traditional audio ad buys will account for 100% of consumers’ time listening to music, podcasts, and the radio. If consumers listen to the radio while driving and then switch to listening through their smart speaker once they’re home, ad buyers across both digital and traditional radio will increase your brand awareness and messaging.

3. Billboards (Out-of-Home)

The Benefits of billboard advertising

a. Always-on advertising format.

Billboards have a unique feature that sets them apart from other forms of advertising: they are always on. Rather than paying for a digital ad or TV commercial that would run a few times throughout the day, a billboard is on 24/7. Naturally, this lends itself to repeated exposure as consumers see it every time they pass by, say on their commute to and from work. While the message on these billboards may be shorter and simpler than other forms of advertising, it has the power to linger in people’s minds as they repeatedly pass by it.

b. Ample opportunity & inventory.

There are over 350,000 billboards in the US that you can access and use to spread your message. Opportunities range from atop a building, on a wall, along a highway, on a park bench, the side of a bus, and many more. This allows you to choose a location where the traffic will most likely include a high percentage of your target audience.

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Supplement the smaller DOOH inventory.

Digital out-of-home (DOOH), LCD or LED screens that use traditional billboard placement to display digital content to the consumer, sometimes with an interactive element, doesn’t yet have the reach that traditional billboards do. While the user experience is often more engaging and dynamic than traditional billboards, DOOH only offers about a quarter of the placement opportunity throughout the United States (81,572 placements).  Combining DOOH buys with traditional buys to cover a larger area is the perfect example of digital and traditional working together to improve your marketing efforts.

b. Measurement solutions tie billboard performance to KPIs.

Using mobile location data, advertisers are now able to tie billboard traffic and performance (people that saw, lingered, or passed by) to their other performance metrics. This means that although the billboards themselves are not digital, the performance of these ad units can be measured in how they impacted your overall strategy, similar to other digital strategies.

Finding a balance between physical and digital

Over the past year, your brand may have decided to pause its traditional forms of advertising as consumers weren’t going about their customary routines. Conversely, your brand might have been born online, and you’ve yet to dip your toes into the traditional advertising pool. No matter the reason for straying away from traditional advertising, it’s clear that there is a benefit to be gained from marrying the two forms of advertising to fulfill the omnichannel customer journey.

Additionally, many of these traditional forms of media are adapting to a digital-first world, whether in the measurement and attribution capabilities or new and improved formats (DOOH, is a great example). Finding the right balance between the two for your brand is essential to ensure you’re not missing opportunities with omnichannel shoppers.

At Digilant, our team of digital advertising experts create omni-media solutions to ensure your brand stays relevant with consumers, both online and offline. If you’re interested in learning more about expanding your digital advertising strategy, we’re eager to chat. Contact us today!

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