“Traditional Media is Changing” (Today’s Understatement)

Digital Media

“Traditional media is changing.” That’s an understatement. The real facts are that traditional media is going through a tectonic shift of historical proportions. Although the pattern has been established for many years, advertising money has been, and still is, moving away from TV, radio, direct mail and print media towards digital online advertising. In particular, print newspapers and magazines have been hit hard by declining ad revenues, forcing some out of business and leaving others trying to make sense of a new media landscape which seems to reward “clicks” over quality.

Regardless of how much, or how little, you may care about how fast traditional media is changing, the real story is how much the world of online media continues to expand. We are amidst an unusual period of history where so much is concurrently being developed so fast, in terms of new media and advertising, that the rules of play are in a state of flux. How you are participating in the game today could have a significant impact on your business tomorrow.

For more than two decades Google has gone from a new but well-considered search engine to the dominant advertising behemoth on the planet.

Several years later, Facebook grew from college campuses to become the largest social network ever experienced. And along the way, it’s broken established privacy expectations while becoming the largest “social” advertising platform, surpassed in ad revenue only by Google. An important part of Facebook’s earlier success was attracting businesses to their platform to share their messages socially “for free,” while step-by-step eclipsing that with a paid model. Of course, to the dismay of the businesses that jumped on that bandwagon, Facebook then changed the rules so as to require businesses to pay to reach those same people with messages.

Nowadays, Amazon, already the largest retailer on the planet, is making notable headway as another global advertising player.

LinkedIn is the prominent force in the B2B ad space.

Let’s not overlook the myriad social and other ad platforms, and expect more to come.

Data science and artificial intelligence (AI) are not new to the advertising world but their pace of integration is accelerating. AI is fast becoming a guiding force in a significant portion of the world’s advertising optimization.

And how could we talk about new media without mentioning video? Never before has video creation and consumption been so accessible (re your phone). As a business, leveraging video is akin to having a website in the 90s.

In spite of all the changes, one thing remains constant: mainstream media is still heavily reliant upon advertising revenue for survival. Although there are some exceptions, such as paywalls which require consumer payment to receive media, for the most part, consumers are still resistant to paying for media for an extended period.

Hence, how your business gets its message out to potential new customers is largely going to be informed by new media advertising – especially video. More importantly, it’s usually a strategic mix of media that makes for the most effective marketing. For example, paid advertising, social marketing, articles, infographics and video for everything you can, such as to attract prospects, educate them and help them make purchase decisions.

The good news is that advertising with smaller budgets has never been so opportune. The bad news is that determining the right opportunities for your business will typically require some experimentation and split-testing along the way, which may result in temporary inefficient use of resources.

By the way, testing and optimizing marketing and advertising dollars is not new, it’s just that digital media facilitates the process in ways that could not be dreamed prior to the internet. But it does take some effort to gain the fruits of increasing your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).