The Difference Between Traditional Media & Digital Media

Traditional Media & Digital Media

What Is Media Buying?

Media Buying is the act of paying for placements either on the internet or in physical locations to promote a business, product, or event. 

For example, the act of contacting a billboard company and requesting available billboards to advertise on, would be a responsibility of a media buyer. 

Typically, within advertising agencies, the ad design is made by graphic designers and the text or offer is written by copywriters. 

Once the billboard ad design is finalized, the media buyer will find the best placement for the ad on specific billboards. 

Billboards are priced based on the location. 

Location, location, location. 

A billboard on a busy highway will be much more expensive (and valuable) than a billboard in a rural area. 

Typical costs for a traditional billboard placement can be anywhere from $2,000 – $16,000 per month. 

A billboard is an example of traditional media. 

Digital media consists of any ad that is shown online or through the internet. 

Media Buyers typically handle both traditional and digital media buys and placements. 

I will break down the differences more in the sections below. 


What Is Traditional Media?

Traditional media consists of advertising channels that exclude the internet. 

For example, traditional media could be billboards, radio, television, and print. 

Traditional media has been around since before Jesus, seriously. 

Check out the entire history of advertising here.

Truth be told, before the internet, ad prices were so high mainly because of the lack of inventory.

A lot of these traditional media companies are having a hard time competing with newer digital media. 

But when traditional media was the only form of advertising, business was’a booming.

Now businesses of all sizes have a lot of options when it comes to advertising and promotion with the internet. 

Traditional media today is used mainly for brand awareness. 

Billboards, TV, and Radio are channels to spread the word about your business. 

Print can be great for consideration and conversion if you find the publications that your target audience is reading. 

The issue with print today is that not a lot of people are reading newspapers or magazines, at least not like they used to. 

The internet and digital media came in the late 20th century (1994 to be exact) and helped businesses and media buyers sell more products than ever. 


What Is Digital Media?

Digital Media consists of advertisements placed throughout the internet. 

Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, all offer advertising.

On this page you are reading, there are several Google Display ads. 

All of these ads are forms of Digital Media. 

It is no secret that website traffic is very valuable. 

At the beginning of the internet, websites would post organic content that people would find in search queries. 

Eventually these websites started to harvest data on all their visitors. 

Then they sold that data to advertisers. 

“Do you want to reach more people between the ages of 25-34 who live in Boston and are interested in upgrading their own cars as a hobby?” 

Blogs dedicated to guides on upgrading your own car, curated an audience that some companies would pay to get in front of. 

Advertisers could start really targeting the right people with the right data. 

“Before you upgrade your car, you have to try this first!”

The beauty behind digital media is that with a website that gets 50,000 visitors per day, 5 different advertisers could be on the same website and get 10,000 impressions each per day from the same audience. 

Media Buyers now have access to infinite inventory and the website owners are able to make money off their blogs. 

The ads you are seeing on this blog are tailored specifically to you. 

If you use a different computer or IP address and come back to this blog, the ads will all be different. 

Crazy right? 

Digital Media is typically less expensive and more effective than traditional media. 

You can start advertising your business on digital channels starting at as low as $2.50 per day.


How To Buy Media Placements 

Buying media placements in 2022 is easier than ever, especially when it comes to digital media. 

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and every other platform offers a free ad management dashboard where you can start advertising the same day. 

Before any money is spent on ads, you should be sure to have your ducks in a row first. 

This means knowing who you are targeting, what you are offering, and ad design that will convert that audience. 

Before you advertise online you need to read this first

Buying traditional media placements is a little bit trickier. 

At Cordelia Labs, we have several media buying vendors that help us get placements for traditional media buys. 

We can call them and ask about available billboard inventory or other Out-Of-Home (OOH) options. 

Without using a vendor, you typically have to go straight to the source.

You can Google search “Billboard companies in my area” or wherever you are targeting. 

This is the same with radio ads and television ads. 

You may have to reach out to the exact radio station or television station to see if you can buy a media placement on their program. 

With newspapers, you can typically find the number of the advertising manager online and reach out about advertising. 

Traditional media buying is a bit clunkier than digital media buying. 


Should You Buy Traditional or Digital Media?

So which type of media should you buy? 

The truth is that all media works to expose your business to new potential customers. 

But not all media is for every business. 

My personal (and I guess my professional) opinion on the matter is that traditional media should only be used by companies with bigger advertising budgets. 

Traditional media should be the cherry on top of the cake that will sky-rocket your business past your competitors (assuming they are not using traditional media either). 

I would suggest setting up a digital advertising campaign first.

Set up a three funnel ad campaign on either Facebook or Google at a price you can afford. 

Once this funnel is starting to bring in a positive return on investment, maybe then it is time to look into traditional media placements. 

Also a good way to gauge which type of media is right for your business is by your ad budget. 

$150 – $15,000 per month in ad spend – Only buy digital media.

$20,000+ per month in ad spend – Combine digital and traditional media.

There’s a few exceptions to this rule. 

For example, if you own a local gift shop or roadside attraction off the interstate, a single billboard might be worth the investment. 

Each business is different and should have a personalized marketing strategy. 

Need help with your media buying? 

Feel free to schedule a call with the Half Past Nine team for personalized advice.