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Let’s Talk: Has digital killed traditional advertising and media?

Digital technology has changed our world. It has altered how we access news, entertainment and information, our work patterns, and our communication channels. How we buy and sell.

So, as digital advertising and media continue to grow, have their traditional forms become redundant?

Let’s talk…

Simon Cheng, Marketing Director, Menulog

“No, I don’t think digital has killed traditional advertising. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Digital complements traditional, as each plays their own role. Traditional will always be important for mass reach objectives and brand building. While, digital is great for performance and driving incremental brand growth through more targeted reach.

“At Menulog, we are a technology business however we invest a lot in traditional channels – TV, outdoor and radio – because they are still some of the most effective avenues for capturing the attention of mass audiences. Equally, we also invest heavily in performance media, using search and social to convert demand. After all, there’s no point investing in creating demand if you are not then capturing it or driving engagement.

“As the world of media continues to become more fragmented, advertising and communication channels need to reflect how consumers want to consume content. Marketers shouldn’t over complicate things. It’s the right message, right place, right time. The channels that fit naturally against your objectives, are those to go with.

Andrew Cornale, Co-Founder and Technical Director, UnDigital 

“Digital marketing is certainly more readily accessible than traditional advertising and I would argue that it has overtaken traditional marketing in many senses, but has digital killed traditional advertising? No. 

“Traditional advertising still has its place. We see successful campaigns using traditional advertising all the time. However, I’d argue that its high price point and specialised skill set makes it less accessible to the everyday business. For many businesses, digital advertising is more affordable, scalable and targeted. Plus, it’s easier to map ROI against a digital campaign where sales can be mapped directly to it.

“To me, digital marketing is a smarter strategy because decisions are backed by data with less guesswork and, generally speaking, there are just more opportunities to find customers online. If one day, we do see the death of traditional advertising, I’d say digital marketing certainly had a hand in it, but it’s not necessarily holding the murder weapon.”

Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

“There’s no doubt that marketing and advertising have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, alongside the advancements of technology and the internet. 

“While traditional advertising relied on methods such as TV ads, billboards and print journalism, digital advertising has superseded these methods with algorithms that enable marketers to find and sell to their key audiences. Technology has opened the door to endless possibilities, when it comes to advertising, but with changes come challenges. 

“Consumers are battling against a barrage of online noise, through their email inboxes, social media accounts and websites. No platform is left unturned, making creating genuine authenticity with your customers much harder. 

“Interestingly enough, the feeling of digital numbness that has come alongside the pandemic, has led some customers back to traditional advertising. The pandemic has seen a rise in guerrilla advertising that harnesses both the digital and physical world, using billboards, posters or graffiti that can be scanned by a smartphone. 

“As society adjusts to using their smartphones for COVID-19 check-ins or QR codes, modern marketing which amalgamates both old and new advertising methods, is being embraced. Traditional advertising isn’t dead, it’s had a system upgrade with the help of digital.” 

Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth, Localsearch 

“Changing consumer behaviours in a tech-savvy society have significantly impacted the way advertising is created and consumed. Millennials and Gen Zs are far more influenced by digital media – 49% of TikTok users purchase a product or service after seeing it on the app, and 60% of Millennials admit their purchasing decisions are influenced by what they see on Facebook. 

“We’re now seeing a big wave of consumers, including small businesses, turn to digital after weighing up not only print, but broadcast advertising. Although free-to-air TV viewership is increasing with more people at home, its key objective is generating brand awareness – so you may or may not receive immediate action from viewers. Online, you can target audiences with far greater demographic accuracy, targeting the people most relevant to you and guiding them through to where you want them to go. 

“For SMBs who don’t have thousands to spend on TV ads, nailing your SEO and digital presence is far more cost-effective. 

“However you decide to integrate digital with traditional, when consumers do remember your business and need your product or service, you want them to be able to go online and find you. Fast and easy.” 

Cary Lockwood, chief executive officer, Loyalty Now 

“Traditional media and advertising still have parts to play in the cultural zeitgeist, but the real question is: are they as effective in engaging audiences as their digital counterparts? 

“Traditional advertising operates by conveying a broad message to a broad audience. However, in today’s hyperlocalised economy, consumers want their individual voices heard by merchants who offer solutions tailored to their unique interests and behaviours. 

“This growing customer expectation, coupled with a need for business transparency, is one of the reasons experts anticipate some digital advertising methods to become obsolete soon. This is particularly evident in the current phase-out of third-party cookies ahead of 2022. 

“Instead of investing in broader advertising avenues, businesses must embrace targeted partnerships with platforms that boast highly engaged audiences, and that also let merchants leverage hyperpersonalisation to better engage their consumers. This will lead to more committed return customers whose buying power outweighs surface-level interactions with disengaged buyers.” 

Simon McDonald, Regional Vice President Optimizely

“Digital platforms have revolutionised advertising. Traditional mediums lock advertising into one-way communication, whereas digital platforms provide two-way interactive capabilities. Businesses can now customise advertising to personalise any brand experience and utilise real-time metrics to monitor their campaign’s success.

“Digital advertising is constantly evolving, and so is consumer behaviour. Organisations need to embed a culture of test and learn across all of their digital strategies, allowing businesses to quickly respond and evolve with the industry and consumer trends. While traditional advertising is still around, it is always best as part of a larger digital multichannel marketing campaign that can evolve and respond to consumer behaviour.”

Nicole Schulz, Brand Reputation Practice Lead, Sefiani Communications Group

“In a time of increasing misinformation and disinformation online, traditional media has played a vital role in delivering timely, factual and credible information to Australians. The Digital News Report 2021 found that in Australia, trust in news has risen to 43%. As Australians turned to public broadcasters for critical news over the past 18 months, trust in traditional news brands has remained high. In contrast, 64% of Australians are concerned about false and misleading information online. Roy Morgan research found that TV is regarded as the most trusted source of news, nominated by nearly 7 million Australians.

“However, the same research also found that the internet is now Australia’s main source of news. There is no doubt that Australian audiences at large are continuing to shift away from traditional towards digital platforms for news but the credibility and trust attached to traditional new publishers remains paramount. To thrive in the future, traditional media will need to continue to evolve its multi-channel offering to suit and serve diverse and segmented audiences.”


Read more: Making sense of the digital advertising space


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