Social Media Marketing Vs. Traditional Advertising

Oct 27, 2017 | 0 comments

Oct 27, 2017 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Social Media Marketing Vs. Traditional Advertising



Advertising according to Jaffe (2005) is an art of creating awareness of or spreading about business in the consumers’ minds eye. In most instances, advertising is mainly is to create awareness but it can also solicit sale of a product or service eventually. Traditional advertising incorporates methods such as usage of billboards, newspapers, radios, and magazines. Social media according to Tuten & Solomon (2013) is the technology connecting people whether it is through chat or sharing something. Some examples of social networks include twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn among others and they create platforms where social interactions takes place that is discovering and sharing. Evans (2008) defined social media marketing as the way of using technology in building relationships, attract new customers and in driving repeat businesses by sharing with friends or through friends. Social media marketing is simply word or mouth that is powered by technology and is also a great way of attracting new customers and driving new customers. The essay will discuss social media marketing compared to traditional advertising. Social media marketing and traditional advertising are effective tools for marketing

Traditional advertising tries to find and convert new prospects into customers while social media marketing values their existing customers as best assets

In traditional marketing, marketers uses different techniques to attract new customers to the business to buy goods and services. For instance, traditional marketing methods such as application posters and banners to advertise a product to prospecting customers is simply designed to channel new customers to a business rather than keeping the customers. A potential customer will read the poster, get directed to the business premises for goods and services (Egendorf, 2006). However, there is mechanisms of retaining a customer or reminding them to come back or refer friends. With the rapid technological advancement, the way people are influenced and how marketers influence people have changed. Evans (2010) described it that it was less doing the same things but using new techniques and tools. Marketing is the business of selling and promoting product and services (Silverberg et al, 1998). In traditional marketing, marketers their limited time and resources in trying to find and convert the new prospects. D.E. Visuals et al (2011) indicated that keeping the customers hard earned in traditional marketing was often an afterthought. This is because, until recently, there was little the marketers could do in keeping their existing customers. Historically, the best the ,marketers could do after converting a prospect into a customer was provision of great experience to the customer with the hope that the customer will come back again to purchase more of the goods, in addition to bringing their friends along. However, advancement in technology brought about social media which changed the way marketing and advertising are done.

According to Zarrella (2010), in social media marketing is all about recognizing the existing customers as a business best assets. In social media marketing, for example use of social medias such as Facebook, tweeter, a business will market or advertise his products online and this will attract retain the customers through subscription to the company’s email, or by liking their Facebook fan page. By retaining their customers, the business is able to communicate with their clients with their new products and deals every time they are posted online on their social media platforms. This shows how in social media marketing, customers are the best assets of the business. With the application of technology in marketing, the way in which consumer behaviours are influenced has been enabled both after and before the sale. With easy to use and low-cost tools like the social media and email, business no longer need not to worry that a customer will come back or even come along with his or her friends. This is because it is now possible for a business to reach out to their existing customers either through social media or even email to remind them to come back. Falls & Deckers (2012) asserted that social media marketing is as easy as clicking the like, share or tweet buttons

In summary, a successful business has an understanding that marketing does not just end after the sale, but instead begins after the first sale.

Social media marketing is aggressive in marketing while traditional advertising is a wiser strategy in marketing.

According to Funk (2013), a growing majority of companies that deals with consumer goods and services has an increasing shift in spending on social media marketing away from the traditional advertising methods such as outdoor, print, radio and television. The proliferation of the social media marketing alternatives such as a mobile, YouTube, apps, search engines, and online advertising is attracting money which traditionally was budgeted on traditional advertising. According to Zimmerman & Ng (2013), social media marketing is very aggressive because they grab headlines and attract potential clients like moths to a flame. The social marketing adverts are everywhere on the internet with the huge traffic of people who surf the internet, and they tend to catch the attention of the internet users. Moreover, most marketers who use social media marketing design online adverts with very catchy phrases, blinking pop-ups and other ways to attract people to their website. However, Barefoot & Szabo (2010) pointed out that social media marketing also operate by the same rules as a traditional advertising. For instance, the techniques for television testing can also be applied on commercials posted on social media platforms, regardless of where they will be aired. Similarly, the static banner ads and social media posts are similar to the print ads used in traditional advertising and can be evaluated.

Mastery of the traditional media form of advertising by companies especially the outdoor, radio and television is a far wiser strategy compared to the social media advertising. Over the past recent years, Zyman & Brott (2002) noted that traditional advertising has been suffering from a trend towards social media promotional expenditures consuming the marketing budget larger share. Many companies that deal in consumer goods are spending less on advertising with the hope that one advert on the social media platforms may go viral and accomplish their companies advertising miracles on a very low budget. Cappo (2003) argued that the decline in traditional advertising by most companies has created an opportunity for the companies for the companies which are able to appreciate traditional advertising power. As much as the social media advertising is very aggressive, Williams, Lee & Haugtvedt (2004) is of the opinion that they can be part of a good media mix, but still play a second fiddle to the traditional media. This is because mastery of the traditional media especially the outdoor, radio and television advertising is a far wider strategy because it repeats a message over and over to the consumer until it becomes part of the consumers mind in making decision on purchase of goods. For instance, in television advertising, there is a combination of sound, color, and motion in an advert which has a great impact and create awareness widely and swiftly. Moreover, it is more effective and wise if higher share of goods were tested amongst the consumers before being aired.

Both social media marketing and traditional advertising complement each other and should be applied together for a greater impact and to be effective
Traditional advertising relies on one-way communication while social media marketing relies on of two-way communication

According to Jaffe (2005), traditional media heavily relied on one-to-many paradigm, that is a band or a company creates a message and then transmits the message to the masses through the signage, radio, print or broadcast. For example, a company creates an advert that is aired in broadcasts such as a detergent that will make the clothes brighter, a toothpaste that will make the teeth whiter. The assumption is that the company making advertisement is truthful and correct, and the consumer watching the advert is to believe the brand message. This is a one-way communication system which does not work to promote word of mouth or create engagement. The consumer has no platform to ask questions, to enquire more about the products or even give feedbacks or comments. Egendorf (2006) asserted that these are the hallmarks where social media marketing capitalize on since they can engage and interact with the company unlike lies, and propaganda in traditional advertising. In traditional advertising, the generic message in the advert shows that the company does not care about the consumers since it does not give them a way of talking back to the company. The consumers are meant to be passive consumers of the message, which does not provide a strong motivation to do something, let alone buying the brand. Given that the consumer cannot talk back, the company never learnt if the consumer would love the brand if it only came in a different color, smaller or larger size, had more features or was simpler. Therefore, the brands marketed using traditional advertising is likely to fail because they do not understand or know what the consumer wanted, and they did not provide it also (Silverberg et al, 1998).

Social media, on the other hand, provides he consumers with a platform to engage the company and talk back, which is a two-way communication. For example, a company advertises about its product line on twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms. The consumers are able to question about the features, prices, features, sizes, colors and many more. Tuten & Solomon (2013) stated that the company rather than getting the brand messages, they will be able to get recommendations from friends and consumers in the form of recommended posts and re-shares, which de-commercializes the messages of the brand. According to Evans (2008), social media operate to create a word of mouth form of advertising by encouraging re-shares which amplify a brand message and increases reach. Word of mouth compared to traditional brand messages is more powerful since 92% of consumers tend to believe more the word of mouth.

One way communication in traditional advertising makes the brand absolutely right before the eyes of the consumer, but two-way communication in social media marketing is perfect for reaching larger market.

Pros of Facebook, a social media tool

Facebook, one of the tools used in social media advertising has many advantages compared to any other traditional advertising tools such as billboards, newspapers, radio and magazines. To begin, Facebook is free for a business to set up by simply creating an account. According to Evans (2010), the real cost a company will incur are the resources and time they need in creating their companies social media policies and online management strategy of reputation, finding and updating exciting and fresh content, setting up the sites, monitoring and updating the account regularly as well as promoting it to find new and potential customers to the business. There is also the ability of one-on-one interactions in Facebook as a tool for social media marketing. This is because Facebook allows companies to chat or dialogue with their clients and even the potential clients in a manner that some traditional advertising tools cannot. Zarrella (2010) stated that the conversational nature of Facebook as a social media marketing tool allows a business to breathe life into their brands in addition to connecting to their customers one-on –one. The business will be able to respond to people’s feedback and comments, and post on time. According to Falls & Deckers (2012), Facebook by its very own nature as a tool for social media marketing, can be useful in driving the prequalified traffic to a company’s website. Therefore, the people who follow the company’s social pages is an indication that they have an interest in the company. Therefore, the company through their Facebook fan page should entice people to visit their website by running exclusive promotional and posting new productions on their Facebook fan page. Another advantage of Facebook, a social media marketing tool is that it is flexible with is campaigns. This is possible by adding or deleting promotions or making changes to the campaigns via the sites for networking at a moment’s notice with minimal time required for setup. This is not possible with the traditional advertising tools such as a television advertising, radio, print which the business have limitations on the changes they can make without incurring extra costs (Funk, 2013). Lastly, Facebook has the ability of measuring the results. The company can evaluate their Facebook campaigns through the networks analytic software called Facebook insights. The company will be able to their Facebook fan page metrics such as the number of people who clicked their links or even shared their links with their communities. Moreover, can also see the network which referred the highest traffic to their websites (Zimmerman & Ng, 2013). Barefoot & Szabo (2010) asserted that the success of traditional advertisement tools such as billboards, radios may be harder to measure.

The essay acknowledges that Facebook as a tool and a platform for social media marketing has considerable benefits to a brand or a company. However, this section of the essay refutes the assertions that Facebook, as a tool in social media has many advantages compared to any other traditional advertising tools such as billboards, newspapers, radio and magazines. To begin, currently Facebook is having a rising public struggles with its algorithm for news feed and is marketing approach. May companies with their brands are finding that the subscribers who signed up for their regular updates do not get or see the updates (Tuten & Solomon, 2013). Moreover, Facebook is closely moving to pay only platform for marketing. Therefore, if it is a company that enjoy free Facebook platform to access its wide fan base, the days are numbered (Evans, 2008). According to Evans (2010), Facebook platform is also a time consuming especially for the business owners. The problem is that when the business owners does not do it properly, all their marketing efforts and time will useless. Lastly, Zarrella (2010) argued that Facebook also generates negative users by attracting all sorts of people including the malicious and negative ones. They include the trolls, scammers and spammers with intentions to harm the business reputation by negative comments against a brand.

As much as Facebook is a good platform for social marketing from its large base of fans, it can be detrimental to a business or business when negative comments or negative posts go viral.


In conclusion, social media marketing and traditional advertising are effective marketing mediums that boosts a brand increases sales and create a large base of clientele. The essay compared and contrasted social media marketing and traditional advertising. The essay found out that Traditional advertising tries to find and convert new prospects into customers while social media marketing values their existing customers as best assets. Social media marketing in marketing is more aggressive while traditional advertising is a wiser strategy to employ marketing. Moreover, Traditional advertising relies on one-way communication while social media marketing relies on of two-way communication. The essay further discussed the pros of Facebook as a tool in social media marketing and refuted the argument in a counter overall, social media marketing and traditional marketing have both advantages and disadvantages. However, all are viable and effective in marketing a brand.


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