Where to Invest: Online Marketing vs. Offline Advertising

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Offline Online MarketingWhen it comes to your marketing budget, you want to make the most out of every dollar you spend. Some businesses may have tighter budgets than others, which is why it is important to analyze which channels will benefit your marketing efforts the most.

The debate between digital and print advertising is a conversation that marketers have faced for quite some time. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. However for companies working on a limited budget, it is hard to deny the fact that the cost of generating a qualified lead, as well as some brand exposure, is far less in digital than in print.

Print vs. Digital

Before we get to deep into weighing the different channels, lets clarify that when we discuss print advertising, we are strictly talking about magazines and billboards. For digital marketing we are referring to search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. For our research, we are looking at the cost of an impression, instead of a click or an actual lead, and what that cost looks like in both print and digital.

As we know, almost every company is online and starting to take part in digital marketing right now because it is easier to target, and the entry to barrier on digital is far lower than it is for print advertising. For companies that are working on a limited budget, the digital options are a way for a company to create a foundation for their marketing efforts, while print can do more from a branding prospective.

Print Ads

Print advertisements can be extremely beneficial to a company, especially if it is done consistently, and targeted properly. It is not something you just do one time in a magazine with a big name, it’s a long term game. When looking at the several different magazines, a full-page ad can cost you anywhere from $20,000-$300,000. With varying circulation numbers, the average CPM was between $140-$1,300.

Its important to consider that the number of magazines in a given circulation, does not equate the number of people that are going to see your ad. Since every magazine isn’t purchased, many are left on the stands by the time the next circulation comes out.


Digital Ads

When looking at digital ads for our own accounts as well as some of our clients, the CPM can range from $2.00 – $12.00. This is a big gap that is difficult to overlook. With search campaigns, you are able to customize them to target specific audiences, and make changes at any time. If you see that they are performing a certain way in your data, you can make adjustments to improve it or alter it in any way that you see fit.

What is even more interesting is the fact that for some digital marketing channels, your CPM can be free. Google display ads for example, charge you CPC instead of CPM. Overall, if you are looking to make the most out of a marketing budget, you can see your efforts go a long way with online marketing.



For companies that have the budget and the resources to spend money on a print advertisement, it’s a wonderful form of branding. However, if you have a small budget and are still looking to make an impact in print media, consider smaller publications when pursuing the right outlet for your business. While the big names are great, they may not always be great for your brand. Consider the people that you are really trying to reach, and research the unbelievable amount of print sources that cater to niche audiences. Advertising in those specific locations show that you have an interest in the demographic they are targeting, and show those reader that you are a leader in that field.

That being said, the customization options that come with digital marketing are extensive and difficult to ignore. As a business, you have much more control over how the ads get displayed, who sees them, and what they look like on every device. The detailed analytics that come with online marketing allow you to track the impact of your ads, and give you the insight to create ones that will perform the best for your business. Rather than waiting until the next circulation of magazines, you can make alterations whenever you want.

No matter what, it is important to understand that when it comes to branding, you want to be everywhere. For any print effort you make with your business, its important to have a digital supplement to it. An online presence is essential for a business to survive in today’s world, and if you want to invest in print, you need to make sure there are digital efforts to back it up. When the two channels work together, you can have a very strong and successful marketing campaign.

Whatever your budget may be, we hope this insight can help you make the most of it. Every dollar you spend plays an important role in the growth of your business. Take the time to analyze what you are trying to accomplish for your brand, and determine what marketing channels will help you execute that plan.

With a bug for entrepreneurship and a vision of the growing role of internet and technology in business, he set his sights on getting as close to the cutting edge of the future as possible. Ryan masterminds creative social strategies, search engine optimization, customer engagements and most importantly client retention to meet our clients’ global business objectives.

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