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17. March 2022

Digital advertising: Better than offline marketing?

In this article: 

  1. Digital advertising: Better than offline marketing?
  2. Adaptability is required
  3. What is digital advertisement?
  4. What are the advantages in comparison to offline marketing?
  5. What are the costs of digital advertising?
  6. Offline marketing vs. online marketing: Which one is better?
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQ

Digital advertising: Better than offline marketing?

Businesses prove themselves against competitors with good marketing. Because of the rising competition, it is required to re-think strategies and be innovative. But even more important is advertising to reach the right target group. In the past years, the direction has changed and social media as well as facebook advertising have started a new age of marketing. But are these methods better than the classic ones?

Social Media icons
Digital advertising: More than Social Media | © Adem AY 


Digital advertising: Adaptability is required

The success of a company is not only determined by an innovative idea or a good marketing strategy, but also by being able to adapt to new trends. Back in 2010 digital marketing was still new to many businesses and only a few had their own website or email address. 

Looking at 2022, the direction marketing is going becomes clear. Even small businesses or founders have their own website, upload regularly on social media and speak to their target group with facebook and google ads. 

How dangerous it is to not be adaptive to new trends proves the German company “Quelle”. The business had a strong position on the market for more than 80 years but the situation changed. The company continued to rely on classic marketing strategies and ignored digital trends - bankruptcy filing followed in 2009. To be honest, bankruptcy filing is not only because of one wrong mistake but not adapting new marketing trends indeed was the main reason in this case.

This example shows how important it is to be adaptive to new trends. Yet, the transition from offline marketing to digital strategies is not fully completed - the opposite is the case - regularly, new trends create possibilities but the competition also becomes bigger. 

How important it is to follow new marketing trends can be proven by the approach of businesses of all sizes. About ten years ago many people didn’t even know what “social media” or “social advertising” meant, now it’s part of every good marketing strategy.

-> Article: 7 underestimated advantages of business digitalization 

What is digital advertisement?

Marketing and advertising - many use these terms as synonyms but they have different meanings. Marketing is a holistic, strategic process which doesn’t only focus the aspects of advertising but also involves administrative and personnel decisions. Advertising on the other hand is how businesses communicate their marketing strategies to their potential customers. Classic marketing methods are TV advertising, flyers and banners. Digital marketing re-defines the process of communication and focuses on social media as well as social advertising. 

Examples for digital advertising:

The impact of digital marketing grows and plays an important role in how well businesses communicate with their target group. That creates new opportunities - only a few years ago not many thought about advertising their products through a digital display instead of a banner. But exactly these changes promise to have a new impact on the success of businesses. 


What are the advantages in comparison to offline marketing?

More and more businesses use the possibilities given by the age of digitalization. People of all ages use social media as well as they use google search to find inspiration. Digital displays prove themselves because they appear more high-grade than classic banners and the possibilities regarding designs are much bigger. There are many more reasons because besides reaching the right target group and the process of design, businesses find more other advantages. 

The advantages of digital advertising are the following: 

  • Higher adaptability
  • Mobile availability
  • Efficiency in terms of costs
  • More discreet 

Both companies and their target group benefit from these advantages - this interaction makes digital advertising an useful option as a whole because businesses work more efficiently and they reach new customers at the same time.

-> Article: User Experience: How to execute it in 2022 


Higher adaptability

The rising competition requires companies to think in a different direction. Not only the own offer and the potential interest of the target group is an important factor but also how competitors behave. The short lived needs of the target group requires a flexible display of ads to reach exactly these needs and appeal to the right people.

Classic marketing methods such as flyers or banners find their boundaries there. The design and printing process takes much more time than creating content for digital advertising and the possibilities to adapt are low. For every new trend it is required to print new flyers or banners and the process behind it takes a lot of time.

Taking digital billboards as an example, it shows how uncomplicated modern ways of advertising are: Throughout the day it is possible to display ads for target group A and in the evening businesses can reach target group B. The content of digital signage is adaptive and unbound - even service providers take advantage of that because they are given the possibility to display the latest information on a specific topic.


Mobile availability

Having access to content everytime and everywhere - the flexibility of tablets and smartphones has a positive impact on businesses' reach. Banners almost exclusively reach people from one region and flyers barely make it outside the neighbors post box. Things work differently with digital advertising: The target group searches for something on google and then goes to facebook - thanks to social ads a company from Vienna reaches customers from Munich. 


Efficiency in terms of costs

The purchase of a mobile display might appear expensive and social ads can also cost businesses a lot of money. But the adaptability creates space for test phases. Especially social ads provide advantages because the measurability of results gives a better insight and therefore creates potential for improvement. 


More discreet

Digital advertising primarily reaches people who have a potential interest in services or products. Google ads are only visible for people who searched for something specific and digital ads aren’t intrusive either. However, it’s a different story with a flier in the post box and advertising breaks on TV are also annoying (because they interrupt the most exciting scenes of a movie).

Communication: Thanks to digital marketing it is uncomplicated and businesses reach more potential customers | © Headway


What are the costs of digital advertising?

Aspects of cost are individual. The bigger the strategy and the determined methods, the more expensive the execution is. More important than aspects of cost is how efficient businesses use their available budget. Measurability of digital marketing makes it an excellent long term investment because companies can save more money and target the right people.

Not every method of digital advertising provides good measurability but the money saving options show in a different way. Let’s take digital billboards as example: You can hardly trace back how many people buy products after seeing advertising on the display. However, other processes to evaluate the behaviors of the target group promise a more effective use of digital content. 

Just a made up example: Analyses and researches of a business came to the result that at 3 pm mostly young people go to the mall. However, at 9 pm mostly older people visit the mall to go shopping. Thanks to this data, the owners of the mall are given the possibility to make the display of content fit with the target group. 


Offline marketing vs. online marketing: Which one is better?

It’s wrong to say that all classic marketing methods are bad because they are the fundamental approach to digital marketing and many businesses use flyers as well as banners successfully. In comparison, digital marketing only provides advantages.

That mainly shows in the possibilities to adapt, mobile availability, measurability of results and efficiency. The investment in classic marketing is a risk because businesses can’t determine concrete numbers. Sure, not every method provides good measurability but a holistic digital marketing strategy does.

However, there are also two disadvantages in offline marketing. On the one hand it’s complicated to start the right way. Those who have never occupied themselves with digital marketing 101 might need a consultant or many hours of research to find the best strategies for their own business. Another disadvantage are the high expectations - especially small businesses expect too many new customers once they created their own website or started with social media. The rising competition makes that a tough challenge because the good places in google and social media channels are limited. 

However, search engines and social media aren’t the only ways to use digital marketing. In the end, a good strategy combines the strengths of many different areas. In case a company has always been successful with events it of course can still be part of a holistic strategy.


Conclusion: A lasting trend that requires innovation

The comfort zone is a dangerous place especially in marketing. If there is one disadvantage in digital marketing it’s to ignore current trends. However, a turnaround is not accomplished from one day to the next and businesses have time to adapt.

Digital advertising is superior to offline marketing, no matter if we talk about flexibility, costs or mobility. The only disadvantage is the amount of given possibilities and that companies choose the wrong ones. However, the ones who are prepared will not fail.



Following we will answer the most frequently asked questions about digital advertising.


What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing defines a strategic process to market the goods or services of a business. It’s a holistic approach which doesn’t only involve advertising but also decisions regarding administration and human resources. 


What is the definition of offline marketing?

The term “offline marketing” summarizes all possibilities and strategies which businesses used before they had access to the internet.


What is social media marketing?

Channels like TikTok, Facebook and Instagram give businesses the opportunity to market their products or goods and to communicate their positive company image. Social advertising is part of that.


What does content mean in marketing?

Content in marketing describes the texts companies use to market their offer. It includes social media texts, website texts, blog articles and contents which are displayed on screens.


What is digital signage software?

Digital signage solutions provide picture and / or video material which can be displayed on a screen. This way of marketing is part of digital advertising but digital signage is also a source of information.

-> Article: Cloud based solutions B2B: Digital signage and more 



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