While typing the headline, I was confused. Which side am I going to take when I put my thoughts together in this blog? Social media or traditional advertising? At one point I knew I was going to be all in favor of social media because that’s the way to go – easy, quick, connects with people instantly and affordable. On the other hand I wonder if social media can survive by itself -without the support of traditional advertising. That’s when you really wonder, is it an either-or fight or can they co-exist peacefully?
So, has social media declared a war on good old, traditional advertising? While some might say social media is just a part of a good full-proof advertising plan in today’s digital world, others feel it is well going to be(or already is) the reason for the decline of other advertising mediums.
An average American spends roughly 13 hours in a week on the internet and the same watching television. But the trend is soon to change because Gen X (age 31-45) prefers spending more time on the internet. Should that be a cause of worry or advertisers around the world should look at it as an opportunity to get up, close and personal with their customers?
Are they really mutually exclusive?
I would think social media and other advertising mediums go hand in hand. Take the example of television vs print. At one point, print medium was the most effective way of reaching out to the masses and then came the television – which stole the thunder from print and took marketing spends to a different level. Though print did not receive the undivided attention of marketers any more, it still continued to be on every marketer’s perfect mix of advertising spends. The reason is simple. It still reached the audience who could not be reached by television and even if it did, it served as a good point of recall. Which has higher recall? Well that can be debated several times over. Similarly, social media should ideally be a ‘part’ of a good advertising plan, and not a mutually exclusive entity. However, the percentage of this mix can be debated depending on the demographics and product or service in question.
The price war
Social media has the power of connecting with the target audience instantly. It is more ‘affordable’. Yes, affordability is another factor where social media scores the brownie points. On one hand a good television advertisement might run your bill into millions but a Facebook ‘like’ on your product or services page might cost you nothing! So how do you decide what is really worth the monies?
The ‘Choice’ is yours!
Experts feel that while social media reaches the audience in a more up-close and personal way, it also gives the customer too much of a ‘choice’. For example the ‘choice’ of being liked or followed. A television ad does not give you that choice. If you are watching a game, you don’t have a choice BUT to watch the ad that plays in the 30 second ad-break. Similarly, if you are reading a magazine, you do not have a choice BUT to flip through the ad on the page before you move to the next one. You can surely change the channel or decide to close the magazine but the chances are unlikey. You are more likely to continue watching the ad in anticipation of the game starting any minute. This is where traditional advertising scores. It reaches you, whether you want it to or not.
So, are they really worth the fight? Maybe not. Maybe a smarter idea is to work on a good mix of traditional advertising and social media to reach the customers more effectively.
Written By: Suruchi Jajoo
Photo Credit: Naimeesha Moola