Head to Head: Tradional VS. Digital Media

Long gone are the days when audiences could be found in one place; a time when you could reach 95% of the population through free-to-air TV alone, when reach and frequency were the only media metrics to measure success.

We now live in a world where audiences are becoming more and more fragmented with every new social media platform, streaming video on demand (SVOD) service and online publisher which poses the question: How do traditional mediums fit into the current media landscape?

It is a widely held opinion that digital is slowly killing traditional media. And with TV viewership and print readership both seeing declines year-on-year, it is easy to take this position.

While it’s true that traditional media was thrown into an ‘adapt or die’ situation, the major players have responded (and are still responding) admirably to digitise their offerings and recapture some of their lost audiences. Broadcast video on-demand, digital radio stations/podcasts and publishing houses moving online are all results of this with each further fragmenting our audience.

So, is traditional or digital the best way to effectively reach our audience?

A lot of advertisers have moved 100% of their media spend into digital simply because it’s cost efficient & measurable. While both of these are true, there are far more factors to consider:

What are you trying to achieve?

Traditional and digital play different roles within the media mix, with each influencing the other. With this in mind, it is important to determine what success looks like for you before planning any media. For example, if success is defined as traffic to your website, investing 100% of your budget into radio might not be the way to go.

Who are you Trying to Reach?

Believe it or not, everyone cannot be found on the internet (at least to the point of being able to influence them). While the adoption of online platforms like social media is increasing in older demographics, your budget allocation should reflect the reality that they are still massive consumers of traditional media. On the flip side, you wouldn’t target Gen Z in the local newspaper.


Trust is an important and often overlooked metric when considering media. Placing your brand within an untrusted environment can have detrimental effects on how the consumer views it. Conversely, aligning with a trusted environment gives a brand credibility, legitimacy and is more likely to drive consideration. In Roy Morgan’s most recent media trust survey*, Social Media is still considered the most untrustworthy form of media while traditional mediums such as TV, radio and newspapers have all seen increases in trust year-on-year. This trend is set to continue with the influx of new digital platforms entering the market.


These are just a few considerations that should impact our decisions when planning media – there are far more. Brand vs. product messaging, mass vs. niche products, brand health, budget, time of year, creative asset availability, previous learnings… The list goes on.

Traditional should not compete with digital for media spend. They actually perform best when working together!

An effective TV campaign can spark an increase in brand search and increase the likelihood of clicking a Facebook ad. An integrated campaign across traditional and digital maximises reach, while creating enough touchpoints to ensure message retention. Traditional helps legitimise your brand while digital echoes your message in front of the right people.

The key is capitalising on traditional through digital. This can be done by upweighting digital spend during TV or radio activity to ensure that the consumer can find you easily. Reminding the consumer of your message to keep you top of mind. Capturing as much data around people who have shown interest off the back of seeing a TV spot is essential so you can continue the conversation and build your relationship with your audience.

See Latest Articles

See All Articles