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A Guide to Media Advertising

Media advertising is the use of various media channels to reach a targeted audience. The channels available have grown significantly over the years. Periodicals expanded to radio, then television, and now digital technology increased those channels exponentially. Today’s advertisers have an abundance of media channels to choose from. Each of these channels can help to reach a specific audience segment. The most common channels can be broken down into a few categories:


  • Digital Media: This includes social media platforms, search engines, email marketing, mobile apps, online video platforms, podcasts, and more. Digital media offers some of the most granular targeting available.
  • Print Media: Although websites are replacing printed publications in a lot of areas, there are still newspapers and magazines to advertise in. Other print media include posters, billboards, flyers, and more.
  • Broadcast Media: Even with the rise of digital video platforms, broadcast television and radio remain strong performers, capable of delivering a message to a large number of people at once.

Digital media has been a revolution for advertisers, providing a great deal of flexibility and technological advantages. For that reason, print and broadcast media are often grouped together as ‘traditional media’ for the sake of comparisons.


The Role of Digital Media in Advertising

Before we compare the strategies for digital and traditional advertising, let’s take a closer look at how digital technology has improved the advertising experience for marketers and consumers alike:


Targeted Reach

 Even with reductions in third-party trackers, digital platforms have a great deal of information about their users and know which user is viewing which ads. This provides marketers with the ability to target highly granular customer segments.



Some digital media channel offer the ability to customize an ad based on user data. This makes the already granular targeting even more specific to the viewer, resulting in advertising that’s more relevant and engaging to the viewer



A big part of running an effective advertising campaign is measuring its ROI. Digital platforms can track performance in real time, telling marketers precisely how much revenue each ad placement is responsible for generating.



In addition to providing real-time data, digital media ads can also be modified in real time. This is a powerful advantage that allows marketers to make adjustments to the ads as soon as data is available, maximizing the ROI.



Digital advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise a product or service. Unlike traditional advertising channels, where the size of the audience can’t be changed, digital ads can be shown to whatever number of viewers a budget allows for.



Many digital advertising channels offer interactive features that allow potential customers to interact with the ad. This provides a deeper connection between the brand and its audience and increases engagement with the ad.


Global Reach

Most traditional advertising channels are limited to a geographic area. Some are national and some are more local, but few are worldwide. Many digital media advertising opportunities transcend geographical borders.


Combining Traditional and Digital Media Advertising

As we’ve seen, digital media advertising brings with it many advantages. It’s more targeted, flexible, and interactive than its traditional counterpart. But traditional advertising still has a role to play. For mass-market products and services that appeal to a broad range of people, the lack of granular targeting is less of a concern. And, at least for now, traditional media advertising imparts an extra sense of legitimacy among some consumers. 


The good news is that for situations where the budget allows and both options make sense, the two can work together nicely. The key is understanding the strengths of each platform and playing to each while keeping in mind thet should be working together as a unified approach. Let’s see how that looks.


Strategic Integration

Traditional media is great for reaching large numbers of mass-market consumers and digital media is great for more targeted applications. Each of these strengths can have a role to play in building a well-rounded marketing plan. The mass market approach of traditional media can be used for advertisements designed for brand building while the targeted approach of digital media can use that brand awareness to bolster its targeted customer acquisition. 


To bridge the gap between the two and reinforce the connection in the minds of potential customers, the two methods can promote one another. Traditional ads can point users to social media accounts and social media accounts can post links to YouTube versions of television ads. This will help connect the brand-building of traditional media to digital ads.


Data-Driven Decisions

The superior analytics of digital media might not be available from traditional media channels, but that doesn’t mean the lessons learned from the digital side can’t be applied to the traditional side. Data from digital campaigns can tell you a lot about who your customers are and the types of ads they respond to. It’s much easier to A/B test digital ads, allowing you to get a refined picture of what messaging works best. These lessons can go into creating ads for traditional media that are more likely to resonate with your target audience.


Effective Media Advertising Strategies

Regardless of the type of advertising channel you choose, there are some best practices that will help your campaigns perform their best. If you’re unsure of the best way to implement these, a professional marketing firm can help. 


  • Audience Segmentation: By segmenting your audience by demographics, interests, behaviors, and preferences, you can craft ads that appeal directly to an individual segment. 
  • Multi-Channel Approach: There are many channels across the digital and media advertising landscapes. Figure out which of these your audience segments spend time on and utilize as many as possible.
  • Consistent Messaging: A big key to making an advertising campaign work is getting the audience to remember you. Consistent brand messaging goes a long way in making that happen.
  • Leverage Data: Collect as much data and analytics as you can for each campaign and use that data to measure the campaign’s effectiveness. Learn what works and what doesn’t and continually refine your ads.
  • Call-to-Action: Ads should have a clear call-to-action that tell the viewer what you’d like them to do. This could mean asking them to call you, to download an ebook, to purchase a product, and more.
Austin Kruger
I'm a data-driven marketer with a passion for crafting engaging content and optimizing campaigns for results.
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