christchurch-star-advertisingAs a business owner, which do you feel more comfortable with: online advertising (e.g. Google ads) or traditional advertising (e.g. newspaper, radio or TV)?

If you picked traditional advertising it may be worth considering your reasons why. For many it has just become the comfortable shoe, the medium they’ve always used, and trusted because they could see their ad in black and white (or colour if you paid a little more). Online advertising seemed shady in comparison, run by ruthless characters quick to take your money and disappear into the darkness.

It’s true, there are some shady characters on the internet you need to be wary of but that’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Online advertising has matured, is used by millions of businesses around the world and offers advertisers a clear return on dollars invested (and shows exactly where those dollars went).

A little story about traditional advertising

For PogoStick Web Services, it was the complete opposite. We were hooked on the clear ROI, measurement and analytics of online advertising. We had never pursued traditional advertising, and had never needed it.

Recently an opportunity was presented to us to advertise in the local Christchurch Star, a free community newspaper with a circulation of around 70,000 in the central business area. For just over $200 we could have exclusive rights to advertise as part of a special 2-page spread on starting your own business. It sounded ideal. But we wanted to do our best to try and measure the impact of the publicity.

We created an ad that included a special website link, and advertised our most popular $299 website package. This meant that if anyone viewed the ad and followed the special link, then we would know they had come to us from the ad in the Christchurch Star. So far, so good!

The ad ran and guess how many visits to our website we got. None. (Update Sep 16: In response to my queries about the lack of results, The Star offered to run the ad again at the start of September. Points to them for trying but once again – zero responses!)

Now of course we don’t know how many people viewed the ad itself. To be fair to the Christchurch Star they can’t guarantee results, and their service in getting the ad to print was second to none (sales rep Michael Meadows is always responsive and helpful every step of the way). We also don’t know if advertising in a traditional medium with only a website link was a mistake.

But the point I want to make is that if the $220 we spent on traditional advertising was put into online advertising we would know exactly where every dollar went, who clicked to visit our site and whether they converted into a contact or a customer.

I’m not saying we won’t try traditional advertising again but the lack of reporting makes us nervous.

It’s the power of tracking your advertising dollar and it’s something that traditional advertising struggles to match. In today’s competitive economy business owners should be more concerned than ever about the effectiveness of their ad spend. Talk to us about running your own online advertising campaign, and compare the difference!

Traditional advertising vs. online advertising: Which is best?
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