How Digital Marketing Became King Overnight
The Internet has undeniably and irreparably altered the face of advertising for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t take a media expert to recognize. It is, however, one of those industries that have been systemically altered to degrees not always appreciated or realized. Much as automation once eliminated vast swaths of jobs in manufacturing, the Internet has had a similar effect on publishers and traditional advertisers.
Newspaper circulation figures provide easily quantifiable evidence of the evolution. From October 2012 to March 2013, The New York Times, the second largest U.S. Newspaper in terms of circulation, delivered an average of approximately 1.9 million newspapers every weekday. Nearly 1.1 million of those were digital editions.
Compare that to the paper’s peak daily circulation of 63.3 million in 1984.
That’s approximately a 97% drop.
What Does This Mean for Ad Dollars?
The following graph is a stark portrayal of the shift to digital.
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This graph shows print advertising revenue as compiled by the Newspaper Association of America. It is compared to Google’s advertising revenue during the same period.
During this period, Google’s (GOOG) advertising revenue comprised approximately 94% to 97% of the company’s revenue.
There are no indications that this trend is going to reverse anytime soon. That is not to say that traditional print outlets aren’t striving to remain relevant. They are all working towards turning digital assets into advertising revenue streams. Or in some cases fee based online subscriptions.
In Many Ways a Superior Marketing Platform
There have always been challenges with traditional forms of advertising, be they print, radio or television.
Effectively Tracking ROI
It hasn’t always been easy to track ROI with traditional marketing. Many ingenious solutions have arisen, but none without limitations.
The ability to track ROI on the digital landscaping is astonishing. Public outcry about online privacy is visible evidence of this enhanced functionality.
Businesses now have unparalleled knowledge about their customers. Their browsing habits. Their previous purchases. Their hobbies. The shows they watch. The books they read. All these things can be compiled to predict your shopping and searching habits.
Facebook (FB) is a perfect example. With so much information on every user’s interests, effectively advertising to their wants and needs is exceptionally easy.
Advanced Consumer Behavior Tracking
Business know more than just which ad hooked you and when. Advertising firms and business owners can now carefully document every aspect of the buying process.
They know the search terms put into the search engine. They know the specific ad copy that attracted the customer. Even the customer’s call can be tracked and monitored for sales performance analysis.
Business owners can tell exactly how much each click costs. After which they can track what that customer looked at and subsequently bought. Combined, these tools make calculating ROI more accurate than ever before.
These tools enable marketers to continually prune campaigns. They can see which ads are attracting the wrong customers. Which ads are attracting the right customers. Then use hard data to narrowly target only the worthwhile leads.
Where traditional advertising used to be throwing a wide net, digital advertising is like fishing with laser guided ICBMs.