How Does SEO Stack-up Against Different Marketing Channels?


Advertising channel selection can vary dramatically between big and small businesses. Big businesses have an abundance of resources and can afford expenditures on traditional media. However, our research suggests that one shouldn’t neglect online advertising and SEO just because they can afford traditional TV ads, print and billboards.

Small businesses utilize online advertising due to the smaller monetary expenses that will be incurred. The image below displays the spending difference between traditional media (TV and print) in comparison to online advertising. This shows that though print advertising increased from 2011 to 2012, it is projected to decrease in the following years.

Another form of traditional media is TV advertising which captures a greater amount of North America`s marketing spend than online ads do. That being said, expenditure growth in the TV market is not increasing at the speed of online advertising, which is growing at a much faster rate. This unmasks the need for large corporations to take advantage of flourishing online advertising channels.

Canada’s Hot for Online Marketing

80% of Canadians are online, accounting for approximately 24.7 million Canadians who are embracing social media, watching videos online, using smartphones and tablets everywhere. For the third consecutive year, digital media advertising revenue has racked up double-digit growth, demonstrating the strength of interactive advertising and marketers` commitment to be where consumers are, which is online.

The way the average consumer watches TV has changed due to the rise of digital marketing. Viewers can stream TV shows at their leisure with new websites, eliminating most commercial viewing and scheduling conflicts. So where does that leave advertisers? With people watching their favourite shows online, TV audiences are migrating.

Most people have developed a critical intolerance for commercials (due to being spoiled by online episode formatting that is, for the most part, commercial free) and turn to their iPads during commercial breaks even if they are using the ol’ cable box. This certainly skews that data in terms of the size of viewership or audience that most TV stations boast about. Maybe millions of people are watching television shows on the network, but are most of them watching the advertising? Unlike with online advertising, these variations are impossible to track and therefore pose a much larger threat to ROI than most big businesses realize.

There’s a Bureau for That?

The Internet Advertising Bureau reported internet advertising revenue increasing 15% from 2011 to 2012 reaching $37,000,000,000.

  • Growth culminated with major revenues from mobile advertising increasing, totaling $3,000,000,000 in 2012
  • Digital video yielded $2,000,000,000. That’s a 29% increase from 2011!

If these channels were not offering sizable returns, they would not be increasing in popularity. Done right, online marketing has the highest fully-traceable return on investment across all channels.

Online Advertising and SEO, What’s In It For You?

Online advertising is experiencing continuous growth each year, thus more and more companies are allocating a significant monetary amount of their marketing budget for online advertising due to three reasons:

  1. It is easy to track online advertising campaign performance
  2. Companies can create customized advertising campaigns for specific audience groups
  3. It is easier to make changes to online campaigns than to traditional advertising campaigns to keep up with the speed of today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.

David Hallerman, principal analyst at eMarketer says, “Some analysts say it will be tough for the big dollars to shift because TV still offers the most reach. Moreover, the big `brands that advertise on TV` want professionally created content and `that isn`t shifting`”.  What the majority is missing here, is that the quality of content shouldn’t degenerate simply because of a change in channel selection.

To maintain their brand, big business should keep their production quality consistent, and simply switch their strategy for distribution to take advantage of online opportunities. Sure, reaching niche markets may require some networking and creative-copywriting-sandwiches around the placement of their videos, but the end most certainly justifies the means. After all, traditional TV spots don’t have the capacity to go viral. – Now there’s a variable that impacts “reach.”

The companies that advertise on TV are typically seen as the corporate giants, however spending a greater amount on traditional media does not mean that they achieve a higher ROI percentage than the businesses doing it digitally.

So, could it be that large companies are stuck in the past and perplexed with the new medium of online marketing? Perhaps it’s easier to design a billboard than it is to create penetrating content that captures your audience niche by niche by starting a conversation. It’s conceivable that larger businesses may still have a huge opportunity to tap into the potential that online advertising offers by applying more highly focused campaign targeting and more diverse channel selection as a starting point.

In most cases, the need for an online marketing agency to take reign and produce a superior level of quality, customized for each business, is clear. Big businesses have infinite room for continuous improvement. Wisdek is a company that can optimize campaigns for businesses, big and small, while handling the type of content diversification and production required for success.

 & Nadine Arous


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