Differences in advertising between traditional and digital media

Evaluation of the differences between traditional and new media for advertising is necessary in order to select the best media for promoting the online presence. Janal (1998) considered how Internet advertising differs from traditional advertising in a number of key areas. These are summarised in Table 8.1.

Table 8.1 Key concepts of advertising in the traditional and digital media

Traditional media

Digital media

Space Time

Image creation

Expensive commodity

Expensive commodity for marketers

Image most important

Information is secondary

Push, one-way


Cheap, unlimited Expensive commodity for users Information most important Image is secondary Pull, interactive Information (incentives)

Communication Call to action

We can extend this analysis by considering the effectiveness of offline media in comparison with online media. We can make the following observations:

1 Reach of media. We saw in Chapters 2 and 3, that access to the Internet has exceeded 50% in many developed countries. While this indicates that the Internet is now a mass medium, there are a significant minority that don't have access and cannot be reached via this medium. As we saw in Chapter 2, reach varies markedly by age and social group, so the Internet is innappropriate for reaching some groups.

2 Media consumption. Most customers spend more of their time in the real world than the virtual world so it follows that digital media may not be the best method to reach them. However, a counter-argument to this is that the intensity and depth of online interactions are greater and they often involve specific customer journeys related to product research or purchase.

3 Involvement. Use of the Internet has been described as a 'lean-forward' experience, suggesting high involvement based on the interactivity and control exerted by web users. This means that the user is receptive to content on a site. However, there is evidence that certain forms of graphic advertising such as banner adverts are filtered out when informational content is sought. A study of online newspaper readers (Poynter, 2000) found that text and captions were read first, with readers then later returning to graphics.

4 Building awareness. It can be argued that because of the form of their creative, some forms of offline advertising such as TV are more effective at explaining concepts and creating retention (Branthwaite et al., 2000).

We conclude this section with a review of how consumers perceive the Internet in comparison to traditional media. Refer to Mini Case Study 8.1 for the summary of the results of a qualitative survey.

Branthwaite et al. (2000) conducted a global qualitative project covering 14 countries, across North and South America, East and West Europe, Asia and Australia to investigate consumer perceptions of the Internet and other media. In order to reflect changing media habits and anticipate future trends, a young, dynamic sample were selected in the 18-35 age range, with access to the Internet, and regular users of all four media. Consumers' perceptions of the Internet, when asked to explain how they felt about the Internet in relation to different animals, were as follows:

The dominant sense here was of something exciting, but also inherently malevolent, dangerous and frightening in the Internet.

The positive aspect was expressed mainly through images of a bird but also a cheetah or dolphin. These captured the spirit of freedom, opening horizons, versatility, agility, effortlessness and efficiency. Even though these impressions were relative to alternative ways of accomplishing goals, they were sometimes naive or idealistic. However, there was more scepticism about these features with substantial experience or great naivety.

Despite their idealism and enthusiasm for the Internet, these users found a prevalent and deep-rooted suspicion of the way it operated. The malevolent undertones of the Internet came through symbols of snakes or foxes predominantly, which were associated with cunning, slyness and unreliability. While these symbols embodied similar suspicions, the snake was menacing, intimidating, treacherous and evasive, while the fox was actively deceptive, predatory, surreptitious, plotting and persistent. For many

Destroying Adwords

Destroying Adwords

Adwords or Pay Per Click advertising is essentially the 21st century equivalent of direct marketing, allowing advertisers to test ideas in hours rather than months. Learn more about Google Adwords and PPC advertising.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment