Traditional vs. online advertising: Pros and cons of both


Every business owner knows this dilemma. The time comes and you have to choose where to stack your chips – whether to place an emphasis on online advertising, or to opt for more effort on the traditional size.

Both types of advertising have their pros and cons. Let’s figure out which one offers more potential for you.

Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising includes techniques and media such as door-to-door or word-of-mouth sales, banner ads, cold calling, local posters, billboards, and so on.


  • Traditional advertising is more personal and builds a longer-term emotional connection with the audience when done right. For example, seeing an ad in a magazine or a poster on the subway when you’re mostly free will create a longer-lasting impact than seeing a YouTube ad when you’re trying to watch a video – at which point the latter simply becomes a nuisance.
  • The workflow of setting up traditional advertising, either physically or through people, is pretty straightforward and therefore very easy to implement with little to no know-how.
  • People who are not online due to limitations or choices can only be targeted via traditional advertising.


Apart from higher costs for the same results, the main problem with traditional advertising is its inflexibility.

  • No scope for changing or optimizing your traditional advertising campaigns. Once you’ve printed a thousand flyers or have put up your ad on a billboard you need to start a new campaign entirely to introduce a change.
  • Gaining information on performance is sporadic and somewhat of an incomplete experience. Imagine you have already shot and produced a TV commercial. You now have no means to gauge how well it is performing, what’s failing, etc.
  • It is significantly harder to scale traditional campaigns.

Another major issue with traditional advertising is rooted in the physical nature of the assets. This usually leads to various problems, such as:

  • Higher costs incurred due to the logistics involved.
  • Wear and tear due to various factors (natural and manmade) that lead to the assets becoming ineffective after a point – which cannot be forecast.

That’s not the case with online advertising. For example, the digital marketing firm HillTopBazaar allows you to run campaigns for as long as you wish. It only depends on the budget.

Online Advertising

Online advertising capitalizes on the popularity of social media and websites – the internet in general.


The bottom line is that online advertising is more cost-effective, gives more measurable results, and provides a higher ROI. A firm specializing in this field will be able to give you more insight into what you can expect before you spend a dollar.

  • Most consumers are now online. Their trust in online services and e-commerce platforms is also reinforced. As a result, online advertising has become the advertising medium.
  • Acquiring meaningful leads or running successful awareness campaigns is extremely easy online. No logistical problems.
  • It’s more cost-effective to run online campaigns. The impact you can get for your money online is many times more than that of traditional advertising.
  • The results of online advertising campaigns are measurable from the get-go and through and through. You can derive powerful insights from an online advertising campaign.
  • Fine-tuning, scaling, and optimizing your online advertising campaigns is easy. Sometimes, you don’t even need to pause any campaigns – changes can be made to them live. You’re able to introduce a new optimization within a few hours.
  • Instant engagement is possible with digital campaigns. Google Ads might have a call button that directly lets them call you, or a Facebook ad might directly allow people to message a business, instantly.


  • There’s a fair bit of a learning curve. Unless you’re outsourcing your needs, you will need to factor in the basic requirements such as campaign setup, tracking, and performance measuring. Note that aspects such as design, typography, or the sales copy are common skills for both types of advertising.
  • When done badly (poor quality ads, too frequent ads), online ads quickly become a nuisance and hurt the brand image rather than adding to it.

What Is the Best Choice?

HillTopBazaar’s business development director, Michael Ross, rightly states that “businesses are quickly transforming into digital entities and consequently, it’s high time that all SMEs get their online presence patched up, or they might end up losing big time.”

It seems like online advertising is a much more important factor in a business’ marketing budget. Having said that, traditional advertising should not be cut off completely, since it has its benefits as well.