Beyond the Click — Measuring the Impact of Tangible vs. Digital Advertising


Beyond the Click — Measuring the Impact of Tangible vs. Digital Advertising

First off, happy fall to all of our readers! It’s crazy that it’s already October and we are getting into the holiday season. Just like the leaves, things are continuing to change and beautifully evolve at Strictly Business. We are constantly forming new partnerships with local businesses and organizations to help them promote the amazing work they do, and we’ve even welcomed some new faces to our little work family by hiring a couple of interns who are eager to gain valuable career experience in the areas of writing, graphic design, sales, and so much more.

Something that never changes, however, is our commitment to promoting our clients and sharing reliable, relevant news every month. We’re very proud to not only be a prominent local news source in Lincoln and Omaha, but to also be a strong advertising tool for local businesses. A question we get asked a lot is how we measure ROI for our clients who advertise with us, which is a great question. When deciding how and where to spend your marketing dollars, having an expectation for what you’re going to get in return is very important. Unfortunately, we still see companies that put too much emphasis on hard numbers and statistics. Even though all the editorial we publish in the magazine is shared online and backlinked to our clients’ website to enhance their SEO, our greatest strength really is the tangible print presence we have.

There is no denying that people do not perceive “tangible ads” (print, television, radio, poster campaigns) the same way they do digital ones. According to David Pilcher with Freeport Press, when digital marketing hit the scene, marketers were wild to finally have a way to see, in real-time, performance data. It was the promise of digital media to deliver a highly-targeted audience with easy-to-see “results.” Yet, the whole idea was unchartered territory, and ad fraud escalated and brands chased vanity metrics that failed to deliver. Still, print couldn’t shake its reputation as being too hard to measure. Now, industry experts are reevaluating expectations when it comes to important measures of impact.

In David’s article, he referenced comments made by Nathalie Taboch, general manager at Ebiquity Paris, made at a roundtable event sponsored by The Drum in partnership with Print Power. Nathalie did a great job of defining the appeal of digital ads: “Digital is all about the now, the instant. It’s snackable content that will create an impulse, favoring an action or a reaction.”

Unfortunately, since companies do have that pressure of grabbing attention in an instant, their online marketing tactics may be deceiving—giving off the impression of something too good to be true, otherwise known as fake news. This is so frustrating for consumers.

You may start seeing higher numbers of page visits on your website as the result of a digital ad, but if the user feels like they were tricked into getting there, that doesn’t help your brand. What is nice about tangible content such as print is that it makes a deeper, memorable connection without being forced in front of someone’s face, which serves a long-lasting brand image.

“More marketers and brands are coming to realize that quality attention is the one thing that vanity metrics can’t win you,” David concluded. “Attention-grabbing strategies won’t sustain your bottom-line business goals. Creating content for the ‘like’ or the ‘share’ could be backfiring. Consumers are getting really good at ignoring, blocking, even reporting digital content. Instead, it’s time to return to strategic marketing plans that make the best use of a mix of media. And for deep, trusted engagement, that means print…however, you measure it.”

Ultimately, tangible marketing should support digital marketing and vice versa. Don’t feel that you need to take an all-or-nothing approach. Use both tangible and digital advertising to reach customers, generate brand awareness, and build stronger connections.