Traditional Media Vs Online Advertising

Traditional TV - Traditional media vs online advertising


Let’s face it, when it comes to advertising, you’ve got to spend money to make money. But what media should you be putting your marketing budget into? Whilst word of mouth, customer loyalty and community outreach are still important methods for generating business, online advertising is where the majority of your potential customers will be.

Consumer behaviour has evolved. The approach towards making a purchase or submitting an enquiry form has become a long and complex process. The internet now plays a key role in every stage of the sales funnel, from awareness and research to consideration and purchase. And with the global pandemic having further expedited digital transformation, advertising online has become a must for businesses looking to keep up with these consumer shifts.

Whilst most businesses may have experience in Traditional Media such as newspaper, radio and TV advertising, many are yet to dip their toes into online platforms such as Google and Meta Ads. And if you’re not yet engaging in Online Advertising it can be difficult to understand the costs and how they differ from more traditional forms of media.

So how does online advertising compare to Traditional Media costs?

Whilst you can’t compare apples to pears, here are close like for likes to demonstrate the costs of Traditional Media vs Online Advertising campaigns. This should help to paint a picture of how more traditional marketing options have evolved into online channels. 

Audio Ads - Radio vs Spotify

Radio Advertising

When exploring radio advertisements your costs will depend on various factors including the number of listeners of the station you are interested in, how long your ad is and how many spots you want to purchase. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the listenership of the station/show you want your ads to feature in, the more you will have to spend. According to Ebiquity, radio ads cost £1.54 per thousand listeners making local stations a more affordable option than national or commercial stations.

To run a radio ad you will need to get in touch with the station directly, or work with a media buyer to purchase your advertisement slots. An important consideration is how you will produce the ad itself, as most stations will expect you to take on the responsibility of writing, recording and producing the audio ad.

Spotify Advertising

Spotify Advertising is a self-managed service, meaning that you are in control of setting up your campaigns, defining your audience and uploading your audio assets. Advertisers are also given access to a range of free creative and production tools, helping you to create professional audio advertisements.

Spotify advertising requires a minimum of £250 campaign budget. For this, you can expect to pay between £12 – £20 per 1,000 Impressions. This equates to £0.012 to £0.02 per Impression, or approximately 12,500 to 20,833 Impressions for a £250 budget. 

Business Listing - Classified Ad vs Google Ads Search Campaign

Classified Ad

Classified ads are printed in newspapers or magazines, which are either sold or distributed free of charge. They are typically listed by categories such as business, announcements and job vacancies. To get a classified ad launched, you will either need to contact the publication directly or book your ad online. Many publications now have an online booking system which is a quick and efficient way to get your ad created and scheduled.

Costs will depend on the readership of the publication, the size of the ad and how many editions you would like to appear in. For example, to run a 3cm x 1 column ad in the local paper for one weekday edition, it will cost around £105.

Example of a classified ad in a local paper costing £105
Above: Screenshot of what a 3xm x 1 column classified ad looks like.

Google Ads Search Campaign

Search Campaigns allow you to advertise your business in relevant Google search results. Businesses can either run their campaigns themselves, or pay for a Digital Marketing Agency to run them on their behalf. 

Search Campaign - Online Advertising
Above: Screenshot of a search campaign ad

Display Ads - Printed Newspaper Ad vs Online Newspaper Ad

Printed Newspaper Ads

Costs for a printed advertisement will depend on the readership of the publication, the size of the ad and how many editions you would like to appear in. For example, for a single 10×7 ad in the National edition of the Metro, you should expect to pay £13,475 for a colour ad. or £10,724 for a black and white ad. A full page will cost you £45,815 for a colour ad or £36,461 for one in black and white.

Advertisers are also responsible for providing the creative asset which is an additional cost which needs to be taken into consideration.

Online Newspaper Ads

 Many printed publications have a website which acts as an online version of the publication, on which advertisers can pay for their ads to feature on. They typically offer a wide range of ad sizes, and their costs are usually on a POA basis. Exposure required, ad size and campaign duration will impact how much those rates will be, but as with all platforms, the higher the viewership, the higher the costs will be. For example, to run a billboard ad in the Business section of the The Guardians website, you can expect to pay £60 per thousand impressions, which equates to £0.06 per ad impression.




Billboard Display Ad - Online Advertising
Above: Screenshot of a Billboard Display Ad on the Metro website.


Advertisers will also need to provide the ad creatives, and publishers typically have a range of technical specifications which advertisers must abide by. This is likely to include editorial conditions and file formats. 

Video Ads - TV vs YouTube

TV Advertising

TV Advertising is generally sold on a ‘Cost per Thousand’ basis, meaning that the higher the viewership of the channel or slot you want to appear in, the higher the costs will be. For example, a nationwide advert running during primetime on ITV will cost significantly more than a regional advert running on a smaller digital channel. Toast TV reports that it costs between £50-£300 for a single ad to appear on a small digital channel. However to appear in a primetime slot it can cost anywhere between £10,000 – £30,000. Similarly the length of your ad will impact the cost, with longer ad lengths being associated with more expensive rates.

Production costs for a TV advertisement can also be significantly higher than a general online video asset. Due to the higher investment thresholds required to advertise on TV, advertisers should consider a professional video creation service. As a rule of thumb, advertisers should set aside 15-20% of their overall TV advertising budget to be used for the video creation.

YouTube Ads

YouTube campaigns are a self-service option, run through the Google Ads platforms. They have no minimum spend, and any budget can be utilised on the platform. However the higher the spend, the higher the volume of impressions the ad will be able to generate, and the higher quality video placements it will be able to afford. 

YouTube Online Advertising

Above: Screenshot of an ad running before a video on YouTube

On average, it will cost £1,650 to reach a total of 100,000 views, which equates to £0.017 per view. Advertisers also need to provide the video assets themselves, which is a cost factor which needs to be taken into consideration.

In order to run an effective YouTube campaign, a range of different videos need to be created for each of the different ad formats available. Providing a range of different ad options to the campaign will increase its range and make it easier to reach a larger audience. YouTube does offer extensive information and advice on best practices for video assets, as well as creative tools to support their creation. 

Things to Consider With Advertising

Regardless of the path that you want to take your businesses marketing down, there are a few things to take into consideration:

Considerations Traditional Media Online Advertising
Tracking It is difficult to track the impact of Traditional Media advertising campaigns. By nature they do not provide any direct tracking method  Through tracking codes and UTM’s you are able to see how a particular online advertising campaign generated a valuable action, such as website visit, enquiry form completion or an online sale.
Familiarity It is likely that someone in your business has some experience in advertising via Traditional Media methods. This could make the issue of campaign creation, monitoring, reporting and troubleshooting more efficient.  There is a lot of new terminology, acronyms and processes to get familiar with when you first start advertising online. It will take some time to get familiar with it all and can seem daunting at first. 
Competition  With more businesses moving to Online Advertising, you may be able to get a better deal on traditional media opportunities, as sellers are having to work harder to fill their slots. More businesses are advertising online. Unfortunately as demand increases, so do the costs. Costs are ever increasing across most online advertising platforms due to supply and demand.
Targeting  Your targeting is limited by your choice of media platform. For example, if you choose to advertise on a local radio station then you can be sure that the listener will be in the location you need. However, you can not guarantee any other demographics such as their age, gender or marital status.  Online advertising offers an extensive range of targeting options to ensure your ads are shown to your target audience. Depending on the platform, targeting options include: age, gender, marital status, location, ‘Affinity’ audiences, life events, ‘In-Market’ audiences, device and online behaviour patterns. 
Asset Creation Businesses are typically responsible for providing the assets required for Traditional Media advertising. This would mean that you would need to either produce the assets in-house or pay for a design agency to create your collateral on your behalf. Most Online Advertising platforms offer some form of asset creation assistance, usually via a free to access tool. This makes it easier for businesses to create marketing collateral which can be used for their online campaigns. 

None of this to say that any marketing method is better than the other. The efficiency and effectiveness of both traditional and online advertising options will always depend on your business, your goals and your target audience. However, it is important to take all aspects into consider when making a decision on how to allocate your marketing budget.

You shouldn’t be afraid of expanding your marketing activities into Online Advertising. Whilst the methods of advertising may differ, the key principles are still the same – know your audience, define your product/services offering and align your marketing with your business goals.



However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need more guidance, then we’re here to help. You can book a free consultation to talk through your brand’s goals and start laying the groundwork for a successful, well-rounded online advertising strategy.

Want to know more about Victress and our digital marketing training and strategies? We’re also offering free 30-minute clinics with our brilliant specialists. Get that niggling question answered, chat through your options on the various platforms, or drop in to meet our Heads of Department to see what we can offer you. Book your social media or PPC slot today.



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