a Tour
a Tour

Aug 10, 2022

Traditional vs Digital Advertising for SMBs

If you’re a small to midsize business, figuring out where to best spend your ad dollars can sometimes be tricky. Many businesses choose to dump their entire advertising budget into digital advertising, as they think it’s the most successful way to advertise their business. However, digital advertising isn’t the only effective way to promote your brand! Traditional advertising still plays a big role in the promotion sphere, and is worth looking into as an SMB. Let’s discuss how SMBs should be dividing their ad budgets in both the digital and traditional spaces.

Digital Advertising

If you’re an SMB, you’re most likely already investing in digital advertising. Social media advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok is extremely popular right now. Running ads on these platforms is a great way to grab attention from new consumers who might not be familiar with your brand. 

Display ads and pay-per-click are both great ways to advertise your brand and easily lead consumers to your website. In fact, it was found that “71% of business buyers start their product research online with a search engine”. So if you aren’t already taking advantage of PPC and display ads, you should consider adding them into your marketing mix! 

Deciding which digital platforms to advertise on really all comes down to who your audience is. Don’t always go after the next trending platform. As new social media apps become popular, make sure your audience is on those platforms before investing all your advertising dollars into the newest trending app. Instead, invest your advertising dollars where you know your audience will be.

A combination of display, PPC and social ads is a great way to increase brand awareness. However, consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with them – to the point where only roughly 1 out of every 6 customers who have clicked on a digital ad did so because the ad was interesting enough to warrant a click.

By contrast, 34% said their click was an accident – and 15% said they were tricked into clicking.

So, if you aren’t seeing enough results from your digital advertising efforts, but still want to increase your brand’s reach, you can boost your online advertising efforts with the help of traditional advertising media.

Traditional Advertising

In a digital age, many brands don’t utilize traditional forms of advertising like billboards, radio,  TV, and print ads. Traditional media is thought of to be outdated, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Traditional advertising is still very relevant, especially as consumers become overwhelmed with digital devices and over served with online ads. Let’s take a look at some of the traditional advertising methods SMBs should add to their marketing mix.

Billboards and Other Forms of Outdoor Media

Billboards tend to feel out of reach for SMBs because of the cost, and not to mention you typically only see big brands advertising on billboards. However, with the growing number of digital billboards in the outdoor advertising space, accessing digital billboards is easy for businesses of all sizes. 

Digital billboards are more popular now than ever before, and is more affordable than static billboards. When you advertise on static billboards, you have to purchase a long contract, where you are tied to the same ad creative for months. Digital billboard advertising allows you to change your creative as much as you like. Not to mention digital billboards are more effective than static. A recent study found that digital outdoor signage is 63% more effective than that of static. 

If you’re an SMB looking to advertise on billboards, digital billboards are for you! Brands like Blip offer affordable, self-serve digital billboard advertising, making it accessible to businesses and ad budgets of all sizes. It’s essentially the PPC of billboard advertising, and advertising with Blip allows you to be in complete control of your entire billboard campaign. With no contracts and no minimums, you get to select your own budget, schedule, locations, and upload your own artwork. 

Lucky for you, clients of The Shop will receive the following when they sign up for Blip:

  • Blip will match your first $300 of spend within the first month (prepayment required)
  • Blip will provide a free billboard design for your first campaign

To sign up for this exclusive offer, click here.

Radio & Podcasts

Radio may be outdated, but podcasts are a great way to advertise your SMB! There’s podcasts with niches and followings of all shapes and sizes, so do some research to find one that fits your business and would be a good opportunity to advertise on. You can even offer a discount code or special offer to listeners of the podcast as a good way to track conversions. 


As an SMB you might not be able to, or want to run a TV commercial on a popular channel like NBC, but just like how Blip democratized billboard advertising, Hulu has done something similar. The streaming site has made self-serve advertising available to all businesses, democratizing TV commercial space. With more people using streaming services than cable, you might even receive better results by advertising on a platform like Hulu!

How Digital and Traditional Work Together

It takes about 6-7 times for your brand to make an impression on someone. This means you need to create 6-7 different opportunities for people to become familiar with your brand and advertisements. Each time someone is exposed to your advertising or marketing efforts, you are building brand awareness, putting you one step closer to driving a conversion. The easiest way to do this is to create cross-channel campaigns.

When you utilize both digital and traditional advertising media, you create a cross-channel campaign. Cross-channel campaigns have been known to produce better results, like higher ad recall, increased brand recognition, and more conversions. 

Let’s say you create a cross-channel campaign that combines social ads, display ads, and billboards. Studies have shown that brands who add billboards into their marketing mix see over 4x more FB & IG activations, and a 48% click-through rate lift on their online ads. See? Traditional advertising works to increase your digital efforts!

If you haven’t dived into the traditional advertising space yet, we highly recommend you do so! This is not to say you should abandon your current digital efforts, but by combining traditional and digital advertising, you can see a lift in your ad results and continue building your brand.