Kenji Govaers: Digital vs. Traditional Advertising



While digital media have attracted plenty of attention and marketing dollars, traditional media continue to play a big role, especially when it comes to the ability of consumers to recall advertising messages. Kenji Govaers, a partner in the Consumer Products practice, discusses new findings on traditional media and the best advertising strategies for larger and smaller brands.

Read the Bain Brief: Online or Traditional Advertising, What's Better for Brands?

Read the transcript below.

KENJI GOVAERS: There are different ways to compare traditional media and digital media. Much of the discussion is usually about engagement and targeting. But Bain research has found that, actually, if you look at it from a recall and a reach perspective, traditional media is actually quite efficient.

What we did is based on in-field surveys. We analyzed the cost and the reach of traditional and digital media. What we found out was fundamentally two things. The first one was that the traditional media reach can go as high as 60%, while digital media tends to plateau at 30%. So while digital media cost per impression could be cheaper than traditional media, if you look at the ROI, traditional media is actually quite high.

The second learning was about the purchase intentions. There's no single answer as to what is the best platform between traditional and digital. But what was interesting here was that the combination of traditional and digital was much more powerful than any single platform taken in isolation.

So what does that mean for the brands? For large brands with mass appeal, repeat and reach is still the name of the game, and traditional media is very, very important here. For smaller brands, there could be a case to be made to start with digital media at the beginning, because it's cost efficient. But then as you want to increase your reach, you have to add traditional media to the mix.

So I guess what we're saying here is that, while a lot of attention is being placed on digital media as a new platform for the future, I think it's very fair to say that traditional media has a very, very big role to play still, especially from the perspective of reach and recallability.