7 Key Differences between Digital Marketing & Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing is significantly different from Traditional marketing in seven ways. Read full text.

October 04, 2020
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Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing are significantly different. Especially when it comes to promotion or advertising. However, the fundamental concepts of marketing are almost same, like the concept of Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion).


I have compiled 07 key differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing. These differences are special to the promotion strategy, which is a key component of 4 Ps of Marketing or Marketing Mix.

Let us explore the differences.

1) Cost of Advertising

As discussed in the article Why Social Media is Best for Marketing, cost of advertising on traditional media is much significant. While that discourse was special to Social Media, which is also an example of Digital Marketing, the cost of advertising on any digital platform or media is always less than traditional media.

Take the example of major search engines like Google and Bing, which are also good examples of digital media. They have not set a minimum budget of placing search ads, but their system of ads works on auction, which means you can bid for $1 or for $100.

And the best thing about advertising on digital media is that you are charged only when your ad gets clicked. You get to know how many people viewed your ad and whether they took any action or not.

But the traditional way of advertising charges you no matter how many people viewed it or even anyone viewed it or not.

For advertising on traditional media, you either maintain your own production house, or you go to an advertising agency, which is always costly.

But for digital media, you just need some good copywriters and may be graphic designers, which saves much of the cost.

2) Search Intent

The second key difference is the search intent, which means the intent of the viewer of your ad message.

As you walk through the streets, roads, and shops, or even at your home, you see banners, billboards and TV commercials respectively, all around showing you different ad messages, but you may not be in search of any of those offers. That is why we mostly ignore such ads. That is for traditional media.

But digital media is not like that. Digital media is providing our ad messages to those who are actively looking for it, increasing the chances of a desired action from the customers. We call customers as Leads in the digital marketing terminology.

For example, when you search “Online Courses”, you will find that first few results are ads. So, there are greater chances that you may enroll a course or two.

In sum, digital platforms display ads as per the intent of the person making a search.

3) Performance Monitoring

Measuring how an ad message performed is made possible only through digital marketing. In the era when traditional marketing was the only way to promote an offering, measuring how people reacted to the ad message was almost impossible.

Obviously, how the organization would measure the performance of an ad displayed on a billboard or even on TV?

For digital media, however, there are plenty analytics tools available to marketers, such as Google Analytics, Facebook insights etc.

Not only this, digital marketers also have an edge over traditional marketers when it comes to showing ads with keywords which people are looking for more frequently. Yes, keywords are a significant part of advertising on digital media.

Digital marketers select those keywords which have higher search volume and incorporate those keywords in their ads, so that when people search for those words, their offer should appear first.

In short, measuring performance on digital media is super easy and data driven.

4) Scope of Audience

That is a breakthrough. In the era of digital marketing, the scope of audience has gone from local or regional to cross border and international.

A billboard on the side of a road is for the local people belonging to that area.

A TV commercial is specific to that country only or may be close neighbors.

But a display ad on any search engine is for everyone who is looking for it.

An In-App display ad is for everyone who has access to the application.

5) Target Audience

Targeting the target audience was only is documents before the emergence of digital era.

Marketers would make a profile of their target audience by describing the characteristics of their customer who would be interested in their offering, but when the ad message was live, it was open to anyone.

But that is no more a problem now. Digital platforms help us deliver our ad to those who have an active interest in our offering and at the right time when s/he is looking for it.

6) Level of Customer Engagement

The level of engagement with the customers was not absolutely poor in the era of traditional practices, however, there were significant hurdles for the common mass to communicate to the company.

Digital era has crushed those hurdles, and now it is just a matter of one click. Customer care units are active 24/7. Even some websites would allow you to chat with them on real time basis.

Social media managers are also replying to customers on instant basis.

7) Redesign of Campaign Strategy

What if you are done with an ad and it is now displayed on billboards, but you suddenly realize that people reacted differently. What you expected for the audience to react was completely different. What will you do?

Sure, you must redesign the campaign and make changes to the message. But that will be another ad. A completely new budget would be required.

But with the help of digital media, redesigning the campaign just like editing your post on Facebook. You go to the ad manager and make required changes while your same ad is live and visible.

Bonus Readings

What is Meant by Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is simply marketing or promotion of your offering on any platform connected to internet. All else is same, but the strategy is different and digital marketing has a completely new strategy to be implemented for the success.

What is Meant by Traditional Marketing?

Marketing on traditional media is called traditional marketing. And traditional media include TV, newspapers, Billboards, and pamphlets etc.

What are the Types of Digital Marketing?

The types include,

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine optimization

Social media marketing

Email marketing

Who are Copywriters?

Copywriters are those who are specialized in writing an advertisement message. An ad message is not simply a piece of writing, it has the taste to influence people to react to the message in the desired way.

About Author

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Sajid Ali


The Writer is a student of business administration, with Marketing as the major field of study. He has 3+ years of experience writing for the web. SEO is his especial area of interest.

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