Traditional Media vs. Social Media Advertising

Traditional Media vs. Social Media Advertising

Selecting the best advertising mediums for your company can be challenging. There are so many options available today, such as print, radio, television commercials, and the Internet.

How do you select the best advertising mix for your business?

Traditional media has created exposure for thousands of businesses for decades. With the Internet, you can take advantage of social media, content marketing, and search engine marketing.

There are many benefits of social media that indicate how social media is more effective than traditional media. These benefits include the ability to communicate with your consumers in a two-way format, developing a long-term following, and being able to quickly promote new products and services.

However, there is one defining metric that defines the better option between traditional media and social media. This metric is cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

CPM is an advertising metric that measures how many advertising dollars you must spend to reach 1,000 people. The goal of any advertising should be to reach as many relevant people as possible at the lowest cost.

In a recent cross channel media costs comparison, the CPM of various media channels were measured. The results were interesting. Take a look below.



Social media is cheaper than any form of advertising available today. It is one of the only forms of media that can expose you to over 1,000 people for less than $3.

In addition, you can incorporate traditional elements into your social media campaign. You can advertise video commercials, publish articles, host live podcasts and webinars, and much more. Social media is the only “billboard” that can communicate to your customers, answer their questions, and provide them with feedback.

Hidden Costs

There additional costs associated with each medium. Obviously, with direct mail you have to consider print and mailing costs. With TV and radio, you have to consider the spike in prices during peaks times to advertise (rush hour traffic or popular shows). Billboard prices can also range based on quality of traffic and location.

With social media marketing, you only have one “hidden” fixed cost – time. Whether it is your time, an employee’s time, or an agency’s time, you must consider this as a cost. However, this is normally not a cost that depends on so many variables such as traditional media.

While there are many ways of proving that social media is more effective than traditional media, cost is the factor that anyone can agree upon. The ability to track results, laser-target your exact audience, and use data to guide your decisions are benefits you’ll read about in the next section.