Does Digital Advertising Work? | Digital Marketing

Does Digital Advertising Work?


It is easy to go online and find a great number of articles with statistics on the growth of online advertising and the (alleged) decline of traditional advertising.  Concerning, right?  But look closer and you will see virtually all of these statistics are about how more companies are sinking their money into online-only advertising strategies, with little to no information on whether or not this method actually works.  And there’s a simple reason for that:  It doesn’t.

Yet what you WILL find are numbers on how many people are installing ad-blockers to keep from seeing online advertisements.  Spoiler Alert – It’s a lot.  And no wonder, with studies showing that 75% of people greatly dislike pop-up ads and other such online advertisements, finding them obstructive and intrusive.  People are doing whatever they can to avoid these marketing techniques, rendering the investments so many companies are putting into them pointless.

However, it is easy to find the effectiveness of advertising campaigns using traditional ad methods, and it’s almost all positive.  This is due to the more favorable perceptions consumers tend to have of traditional over online advertising.

Trusting Traditional Ads More

In a recent survey, 2400 consumers were questioned as to which ad formats they trusted.  The results showed traditional advertising at the top with 82% trusting print ads the most, 80% responding with TV, 76% saying mailings, 71% trusting radio, and 69% having confidence in OOH ads.  As for online ads, the closest they came when it comes to gaining people’s trust was online search engine ads at 61%.  Clearly there is a discrepancy between the two ad forms when it comes to credibility.  Why is this?

Simply put, clicking online ads have no guarantee it will lead somewhere safe, as they are some of the most common ways through which someone can accidentally download a virus.  Even an advertisement for a well-respected company is not necessarily safe from being hacked.  And cyber-criminals are constantly finding new ways to circumvent even the most modern malware protection.  Traditional advertising, on the other hand, does not come with the same stigma, as one is not likely to have their personal information compromised simply by watching a TV ad or looking at a billboard.  This means people are far less averse to being exposed to traditional marketing, which means businesses are more apt to successfully convey their messages.

Viewing Companies That Use Traditional Ads as More Established

Another reason people trust traditional ads more than online ones is because there is a standard for traditional advertising that is just not present online.  There are practically no criteria for when and where somewhere can advertise online, which may be good for advertisers, but not so great for helping consumers gain confidence in a product or service.  Even taking away the virus risk, people tend to doubt the quality of goods offered by a company that advertises solely online, particularly when it comes to smaller businesses.

But companies that advertise using traditional methods are seen as more established and people have more confidence in what they offer.  Not only does more planning tend to go into traditional advertising, but the standards are higher than online, increasing the perceived legitimacy of the company.  Even start-up businesses can take advantage of less costly options such as mailings which are proven to be quite effective, especially with the addition of promotional items such as coupons.  And adding a strong call-to-action such as a vanity phone number can help solidify a business’s credibility, as people view those who use vanity numbers as more successful and professional than their counterparts.  As a result, more brand recognition and better trust is gained on the part of the consumer.

Online advertising may be cheaper than traditional, but what kind of returns are businesses really getting?  As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.  The results of traditional advertising are proven, and top companies know this is the best place to invest their creativity and innovation.  Traditional advertising is the superior way to effectively reach customers, so don’t dismiss it.