How Online Marketing Has Overtaken Traditional Marketing

how online marketing overtaken traditional marketing advantages digital advertising

Marketing today takes many forms. For quite some time, traditional marketing dominated the space with practically zero competition. Radio spots, TV ads, magazine covers, billboards and even newspaper pages shared the spotlight in attracting consumers’ attention. However, technical innovations flooded the market in the early 2000s. The outcome was a snowball effect of changing the way humans operate, interact, and live their lives entirely. Arguably the most impactful technological innovation was the smartphone. Constant access to the digital world sitting in our pockets altered the way in which we operate. As a result, marketers had to adapt too. From this, online marketing emerged and expanded practically instantaneously. Innovations and new strategies have kept the spontaneous, original, and inventive spirit of the online marketing sector alive. 

Online marketing has effectively overtaken the role that traditional marketing formerly claimed. Now, traditional marketing sits on the sidelines while digital steals the show. What makes online marketing so special though? And why are marketers focusing so much on digital now? Below, the ins and outs of online marketing are divulged. Each point presented offers distinct advantages and opportunities of online that go beyond what traditional marketing does. As a result, online marketing has effectively beaten out traditional. 

Online Marketing Yields Better Return On Investment 

One of the biggest reasons why online marketing is beating out traditional marketing is because it offers companies a much better return on investment. A higher return on investment is the result of two crucial factors. Firstly, online marketing is significantly cheaper than traditional marketing efforts. When utilizing certain tactics, it can even be free. Pay-per-click (CPC), pay- per-thousand impressions, and pay-per action all have relatively low costs associated with them. It varies depending on the industry, but cost tends to hover around a couple dollars per desired action performed. Comparatively speaking, traditional marketing efforts are significantly more expensive. Where digital marketing can cost virtually nothing to a few thousand dollars a month, traditional marketing budgets can reach up to millions of dollars. 

In addition to the comparatively low costs, the higher return on investment with online marketing comes from reaching a more qualified audience. Reaching a qualified audience with content tailored to their needs and respective stage in the buyer’s journey makes for more productive relationships and interactions. This means that, given the right content, the right audience will take measurable action after interacting with your online marketing strategy. The more productive and measurable actions your content elicits, the smaller the acquisition cost per customer. This is because the total online ad spend and budget, an already low figure, is spread over more qualified leads, which results in smaller individual lead accrual costs. 

Augments Credibility And Expertise 

Online marketing trumps traditional marketing because it builds and showcases credibility and expertise more effectively and efficiently. This can be done by publishing guest posts on well- known websites and online platforms. Your voice and expertise are backed by the reputation, quality, and character of the site you post on. The more prestigious and reliable the site, the better your credibility, reputation, and overall results from the guest posts will be. No matter the industry or topic, these outcomes apply. It’s especially important to take advantage of the opportunities guest posting offers when your business is expanding internationally and/or just starting out. For example, creating a series of guest posts on Latin America and its respective business environment would be appropriate if your business had just expanded to the region and was looking to reach their target market. 

Online Marketing Generates Better Brand Awareness 

Another way in which online marketing outperforms traditional is by generating and building sustainable brand awareness. With online marketing, the marketing funnel transforms from a series of orderly steps to be followed into a much more dynamic and exciting process. Awareness, consideration, action, loyalty, and advocacy all happen on the same platform, and can happen at the same time, on the same piece of content. Ultimately, this optimizes the effectiveness and existence of the content you created. You get more results and different types of engagement from a single piece of online content than you do a stagnant, traditional piece of marketing content. Additionally, one piece of content online that experiences high levels of engagement benefits from user-generated content (UGC). UGC is great for brand awareness because it multiples results on an exponential level and its essentially free to the company. 

Dynamic activity, diverse content, and optimized online strategies effectively build a sustainable strategy for the brand. Over time, this results in higher levels of engagement, more impressions/views, and online buzz. The sum of these parts forms a reliable, steady stream of growing brand awareness. Moreover, the more content you put out online, the faster brand awareness morphs into brand loyalty, assuming you and your brand supply a quality product/service. 

Online Marketing Targets And Optimizes 

One of the major benefits of online marketing is that it targets and delivers your messages only to those people that want to hear it. Using software like Google Analytics, Google Ads, or other platforms, you can tailor who sees what content. Like any good online marketer, you’ll be creating different types of content depending on the channel on which it will appear, and to which stage of the buyer’s journey it pertains. Modern technology and software use algorithms to study your content and your ideal viewer. It then shows the best and most relevant content to only those that qualify and fit the “target audience description” for that particular piece of content. 

Conversely, traditional marketing tactics lack this ability to optimize and target. Each piece of content is produced on a medium. Here, anyone engaging with that medium will be exposed to the ad. This may seem like a positive since, technically, a greater number of individuals are seeing or hearing your content. However, in the case of marketing, quality is better than quantity. 

Take a radio spot for example. The business that paid for that 30 second spot can’t dictate who hears the it. Sure, they have an idea of what the radio’s audience is like, demographics wise. But they have no way to tailor it to only those that fit their ideal consumer. Thus, the price they pay for the radio spot to reach thousands of seemingly unqualified “leads,” and only have a handful act on it is not effective. It increases the acquisition cost of a customer and is an inefficient means of growing the business. 

Opportunity For Engagement And Interaction 

Similar to effectively targeting the ideal audience, online marketing empowers businesses to engage and interact with them like never before. Given the high volume of digital interactions, consumers expect brands to be active online and interact with them. In fact, 55% of consumers in 2019 reported that ‘likes’ or responses to a customer online helps build a stronger relationship between the brand the consumer. Engagement through online marketing shows consumers you care, you’re listening, and you’re responding to them and their needs. Traditional means of marketing is a one-sided path of communication. Online marketing creates a dialogue between the brand and its consumers, and even between the consumers. 

Engagement and interaction are ways in which businesses can take the advantages of online marketing and magnify them. While consumers enjoy online content, they find that engagement, interaction, and UGC are more effective and more entertaining. Moreover, these components help to create a more authentic brand image and shopping experience, according to 67% of 2019 consumers. 

Measure Results Faster, Easier, And More Accurately 

Finally, online marketing is superior to traditional marketing in that it is easier to track and measure a campaigns actual results and effectiveness. When creating an online marketing campaign, marketers should identify the purpose and goal of the campaign. After identifying the goal, the next step is to determine how progress towards this goal will be measured. Here, online marketing showcases its strengths in measurability. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) pertaining to online marketing help track the effectiveness of an online marketing campaign. Depending on the goal, KPIs for a company’s online campaign could be number of impressions, bounce rate, click through rates, total conversions, lead to close ratio, etc. The array of measurable metrics for an online marketing campaign are seemingly endless. It is advised that you choose around three KPIs when determining campaign success. Software platforms can help you keep track of your KPIs, how they are performing, and the overall effectiveness of your ad. From there, you can determine how to alter your campaign (if need be) to better achieve your goal. 

By contrast, traditional marketing has no definitive way of tracking its effectiveness. We don’t know if someone came into the store and made a purchase because our location was closest to them, or because they heard our radio spot before they left the house. Traditional marketing fails to offer any opportunity for precise measuring of results and effectiveness, and no opportunity to adjust or alter if a change is necessary. 


Overall, online marketing is superior to traditional marketing for a variety of reasons. It is more effective and efficient at producing measurable results for a company. Moreover, more people have immediate access to the world in which online marketing takes place. Smartphones, tablets, and personal computers are integral parts of day-to-day activities and interactions of individuals and businesses. In this highly digital world, online marketing is practically a necessity to having a successful marketing strategy.

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