Advertising: Traditional Media vs. Social Media

By: Kayleigh MacKay


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When an organization is looking at advertising and where to do so, they would be mistaken to ignore social media advertisements. Choosing to promote a product on social media can be very lucrative. The cost of advertising on, for example, Facebook is substantially lower than other traditional advertising routes. And despite the low cost, advertisers can potentially reach a lot of people: “As of the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users” ( And there seems to be a big shift towards social media marketing: “Facebook advertising revenue has been steadily rising, surpassing an estimated 9 billion dollars in 2015” (Lin & Kim, 2016). Shifting advertising from traditional broadcast and print media makes sense; less people are watching television and reading newspapers and seemingly everyone is online all the time.

Advertisers online have to take a different approach to advertising on social media though. A 2016 study points out that the two most important factors in successfully advertising on social media by creating positive user responses are informativeness and creativity (Lee & Hong, 2016). This may seem obvious, but they are still important points to note. When there are so many distractions online, advertisers need to catch the viewer’s attention and get their message across succinctly; this takes creativity.

Depending on the social media platform advertisers choose, they may need to adjust their tactics. People of all ages use Facebook, but Instagram users, generally, would be younger. Keeping in mind the people the ads are targeting is important. Depending on the product, organizations may want to do a mix of traditional and social media advertising, to ensure that they cover all of the people they need to. There must be a few weirdos out there reading newspapers still (me and the elderly).


Jieun Lee & Ilyoo B. Hong (2016) Predicting positive user responses to social media advertising: The roles of emotional appeal, informativeness, and creativity

Carolyn A. Lin & Tonghoon Kim (2016) Predicting user response to sponsored advertising on social media via the technology acceptance model


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