The New Value of Online Advertising

There’s no question that online advertising is an integral, effective method of reaching today’s consumers. In our ongoing conversation about the benefits of paid, owned, and earned media, online advertising is the most cost-effective form of paid media available today. Further, by its very nature, it lends to exponential creation of earned media because online advertising can be shared via social media and other electronic means such as email and text messaging. And for small businesses on limited budgets, exponential earned media is cheap and effective.

Sometimes, though, it’s still hard to quantify exactly what it is about online advertising that makes it so much more cost-effective and beneficial than traditional methods such as flyers, postcards, and billboards. We sat down to dissect exactly what it is that makes online advertising so superior.

Word-of-Mouth: As mentioned above, online advertising is remarkably effective for increasing word-of-mouth advertising via social media. Very few people are likely to keep and share a paper advertisement (even if they mean to), so that paid media ends with the recipient. However, when an online ad is properly targeted, users need only click a few times to share that information with others, and they very often do just this, turning paid media into earned media with no extra effort on the advertiser’s part.

Targeted Volume: The sheer size of the audience of any one Internet advertisement far exceeds the audience of a traditional paper mailing at the same price. This not only increases your overall reach but also, because Internet ads can be displayed to a truly fine-tuned target audience, you’re reaching the right people. Why spend money advertising to people who are far outside your target demographic when you can reach more of the right people for the same price?

Flexibility and Data: Once you commit to a billboard or a postcard campaign, it’s set and it runs one consistent message. There’s a need and a place for this in many industries and markets. With online advertising, however, there’s much more flexibility. You can run a group of ads and vary the content by audience, time of day, geography, or online location. You can fine-tune the ads as analytics come in demonstrating which are more or less effective, a level of feedback and control that simply isn’t possible with traditional marketing materials.

How has online advertising changed your business? Do you still use traditional  advertising at all? We want to hear from you!