Ah, adverts; those pesky things that we all love to hate. Some great adverts really get good points across and convince consumers to buy products, and there are others that are plain trash.
From a business perspective, adverts used to be the primary way of attracting attention to things. You’d pay for some adverts in a paper, on a billboard, or on the TV, and be pretty assured you’d see a positive ROI. Sure, consumers have always expressed their general dislike for adverts, but there was no denying they were highly effective.
Advertising largely fell into the category of outbound marketing, which included other methods like cold calling, door-to-door sales, and tradeshows. These are traditional marketing techniques that have pretty much been overshadowed in recent years with the rise of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing includes most digital marketing techniques, like SEO, content marketing, and so on. It’s seen as the most effective way of promoting a business/product, as it helps you find your target audience and engage with people that are going to be interested in your brand.
Through the rise of inbound marketing, some people are claiming advertising is dead. It’s deemed no longer effective; but is this true? Are adverts still useful, or should we bury them right now? Well, let’s take a look…
Adverts Have Adapted To Consumer Behavior
You can make some pretty firm arguments that traditional adverts have lost their effectiveness. Print ads are really struggling as hardly anyone buys newspapers or magazines anymore because we download magazine apps or go on blogs/websites. So, if you put a lot of emphasis on print ads for your marketing campaign, then you may well be in a sticky situation. The same could even be said for TV and radio as many people are engaging in entertainment online as well. But, the argument here is that adverts have now taken a different shape. They’ve adapted to consumer behaviour, and we now have online adverts like PPC marketing, adverts in mobile apps, and so on. Therefore, adverts are still reasonably effective, they just exist differently compared to in olden times.
Some Adverts Can Be Considered Inbound Marketing
There’s an excellent debate about whether or not some online adverts are even your typical outbound marketing material. In fact, loads of people believe that online advertising is considered inbound. So, this means that all the online adverts you see on search engines and on websites are a form of inbound marketing. Many people use them to help supplement the rest of their inbound campaigns. For example, a search engine advert helps drive traffic to a website – targeted traffic no less. This leads to people engaging with content, which helps generate leads. The adverts aren’t being too forceful, they’re often just paid links that people choose to click on if they’re interested in them. So, for this reason, you can argue that adverts are still effective, and have almost been merged with inbound marketing, rather than killed by it!
It Depends On The Type Of Advert & What’s Being Promoted
We’ve already said that some traditional adverts aren’t that effective anymore, and more modern versions have come along. However, you can also say that the effectiveness of an advert depends on what it is. Are billboards still an effective way of promoting something? Yes, but it depends on what that product is as well. TV shows and films still benefit massively from posters and billboard advertising. Individual products can also benefit when adverts are placed in good places like at public transport stations with loads of foot traffic. Restaurants are another type of business that can use traditional advertising well in a local area. If you’re trying to promote local business, then advertising is still highly effective – in my opinion anyway. However, if you aim to get people to visit your website, then traditional adverts are just dead to you. You have no need to spend money on them as you can use PPC ads and other inbound ideas.
AdBlocker Is A Growing Problem
This is something of a counterpoint to the one about online adverts. While adverts have adapted and entered the online world, there’s one thing that stands in their way; adblocking software. Most people have software that blocks adverts from appearing in their web browser. Essentially, this renders online adverts useless. Obviously, they’re only useless to people who use this software, and many websites are now putting measures in place that mean people have to turn off the software before going on the site. Also, not everyone uses adblocking software, so they still remain effective to large demographics. However, you could argue there’s no real point in paying for online adverts if they don’t get seen by as many people as possible. Perhaps this is why so many companies put more focus on other inbound marketing ideas to drive traffic to their websites.
So, What’s The Answer?!
Are adverts still effective, or has inbound marketing killed them? It’s an interesting thing to look at, and there are definitely mixed thoughts. In some ways, the rise of online consumerism has made inbound marketing the most effective form of promoting a company right now. If you focus on things like SEO, then you tend to have a great deal of success that brings a strong ROI on your marketing campaign. This has undoubtedly made advertising far less effective for a lot of businesses, compared to what it used to be.
Having said that, there are examples of certain businesses that still benefit from traditional advertising. We mentioned things like restaurants or local stores, they can still gain good foot traffic from advertising in the local area. Plus, there’s the idea of some online ads being considered inbound marketing and thus becoming more effective.
In summary; adverts can still be effective. I think the best thing to think about is this; foot traffic vs web traffic. If you run a business that survives based on how much foot traffic you get, then adverts can still help you massively. If web traffic is your aim, then use digital marketing and inbound techniques as traditional advertising isn’t worth spending money on for you.