The Secret Chronicles of Offline Ads vs. Online Ads
In this uber connected world that we live in today, where your phone sends you an instant buzz the moment a new president is elected from 10,000 miles on the other side of the world, it can be quite difficult to disconnect from the digital world. Like an addictive drug, the screen that sits in front of our faces, whether it be a PC or mobile device, draws us in so deeply that we often don’t realize that hours have gone by and we’ve barely moved a muscle.
Of course, there’s no way to avoid this or discourage it, considering the action of inactivity of using a device will quickly lead to your unemployed, anti-social social status. So while all of us struggle with this balance of the screen world and the real world, we seek for new ways to connect through experiences that don’t require any kind of digital interface.
Incoming….boom! Offline advertising. Many of you may ask, why offline advertising? With new marketing mediums today like Facebook, Google Adwords, and similar, you’d expect me to say that you should put all your ad bucks into online advertising, where you get to see pretty number, direct return on investment, and huge demand generation. Unfortunately, these concepts which we’ve been sold upon for the last decade, are not always as pixel perfect as you would expect. The fact that online advertisers take your wildest dreams of automatically targeting the audience that has the best chance of converting and wrap it into some adtech term called programmatic, does not necessarily mean that sales and money will be the direct result. What is common however, is for larger online ad spenders to place huge budgets on programmatic online buying platforms, which provide somewhat relevant data, bring some customers, and increase some sales. Is that the most effective kind of advertising you could be doing? Well, not necessarily.
In an article written by Robert Glazer of MarketingProfs, some of the top CMO’s of the largest companies around the world are really starting to get fed up with programmatic online ad buying. Taking just a couple steps back, for anyone who is unaware of what programmatic ad buying is, “Programmatic" is a term used to describe the buying and placement of advertising using software and algorithms—bots, if you will. The promise made to CMOs is that programmatic makes it possible to pay only for highly effective ads that are delivered to the right people at the right time: No longer does an ad buyer have to agree to run a specific number of ads with a publisher, or to be locked into a contract.” (Source) It seems like such a sweet deal. You invest your money into ad buying, and the one taking your money promises it will be spread across only those who have the best chance to convert to a paying customer. Sounds amazing, right? But, if it’s not effective and it’s not leading to the best results you could potentially receive, then who cares?!
Some of the major complaints around programmatic online ad buying include focused fraud, lack of transparency, and ungenuine outcomes. (Source) Considering the fact that “more than $7 Billion will be lost this year to various kinds of [online] advertising fraud”, I think some of us should be a bit concerned. (Source)
I want to make sure that I am 100% clear. I am not here to tell you, and nor would I say it any of my other posts, that online advertising is bad. I do not think it is bad. I think it can bring fantastic results, can be highly targeted (especially with google Adwords) and yield some real ROI. The point of this post is to raise awareness. If you are considering using Facebook or Google Ads to advertise your business, think twice. Think about your core product/service and make sure that it deserves to be marketed to. Think about your customers, where they come from, what they do and so on. What websites do they visit? Is it Facebook or maybe there are other niche websites that could be even more relevant to them? If you are a local business with a physical storefront, then I would recommend you stay away from these forms of marketing. There are so many local advertising opportunities that you should focus your efforts on and capitalize upon (many of which are free), that you probably won’t even have enough time to actively engage with all of them.
The next time you are thinking of running an online advertising campaign, just consider twice if it really makes sense for you. We know it’s easy to set up, but if it’s that easy, then probably everyone is doing it. Competition is already high and your efforts can be repositioned elsewhere.
One of my greatest recommendations, especially for local businesses, is to consider an offline advertising campaign. You can use a company like Aadly, or there are a number of other platforms and operators that you can try to find offline advertising opportunities that are directly in your local market. A few of the main operators you could use are Lamar, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Outfront Media. Of course, being the co-founder of Aadly, I have a bias here, but what I can say is one of the greatest benefits of using Aadly versus contacting one of these operators directly is that we aggregate inventory from many different operators and display it in a transparent and easy-to-understand format. You won’t need to send proposals back and forth, negotiate pricing, and be constantly available over the phone as you wait for a sales representative to call you back. Of course, the choice is yours and do what you think makes the most sense for your business and your goals.
The core reasoning for why I am pushing offline advertising for local businesses over online advertising is summed up beautifully in this OAAA(Outdoor Advertising Association of America) quote: “In a world of clicks, likes, and page views, out of home (OOH) advertising is more of a core media buy than ever before. OOH is the real thing. It can’t be blocked, skipped or viewed by bots. OOH is always on, surrounding and immersing audiences with real, powerful, advertising, wherever consumers live, work, travel, shop, and play” (Source) Unlike online advertising, the only concern that you are going to have about your offline advertising campaign is whether or not it will convert passersbyers into paying customers and generate ROI. You may not get pretty excel spreadsheets showing you real-time data on your campaign, however what is that really worth if your “conversions” aren’t real people, but rather bots.
In the coming weeks, you can expect to see more on this topic including more information on how you potentially CAN find ROI in an outdoor advertising campaign. Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe below!