The battle between traditional vs. social media advertising continues. Yes, we wish everyone could just get along, but there’s only so many resources to invest in marketing, and target audiences continue to move toward social media as a key part of the sales funnel. So where does that leave traditional marketing? We’ve come up with several future predictions you should prepare for!

Social First Becomes Viable – and Advised – for All Companies

When we say “social first,” we’re talking about a strategy that starts with creating content for social media and then adapting that content for online ads and traditional advertising. The opposite approach used to be more common, but we’re seeing this change and it’s smart to expect the shift to keep on coming until ideas are formed with social media in mind, and only rolled out to traditional marketing afterward. That means finding ways to incorporate social media messaging and outreach on traditional billboards, mailers and other materials, which is an interesting challenge!

Production Costs Begin to Level Out Price Differences

There’s a ton of social media marketing content out there – and a ton of online marketing in general. We’re already seeing that customers are getting burnt out on all the marketing attempts. The solution is to create high-quality social media content that really stands out from the crowd.

But this approach also affects one of the traditional benefits of social campaigns: They’re really, really inexpensive compared to traditional marketingor at least they were. When social media content becomes necessarily differentiated in terms of quality, it’s going to take more investment in producing that content (photos, videos, professional quality, full-time social experts, etc.). While the publishing costs may still be extra low, the production costs are on the rise for many companies. Meanwhile, traditional marketing is losing favor, and we’re seeing prices drop there. All this means that we’re watching a slow convergence of costs for the two types of marketing – at least if you want to succeed.

SEO Becomes More of a Factor

This is a lesson that companies are quickly learning. Traditional marketing does almost nothing for SEO: You may get some more organic traffic, but that’s about it. Social media content is having an increasingly important impact on SEO, with factors like Facebook profiles and even some post interactions affecting SEO, especially as Google’s results continue to evolve.

What this means is that social media content is starting to include more advantages, while traditional marketing is starting to offer fewer advantages from the cost-benefit perspective.

Local Reach Grows Into a Deciding Factor

The appeal behind traditional advertising (as well as traditional online ads) is that they can reach a lot of people at the same time in reliable numbers, while social media is more hit or miss. However, these days “broad reach” is losing ground to “local, targeted marketing.” Companies are finding more value in advertisements that are guaranteed to raise local awareness and bring in business from the region.

This has been and remains the guiding light for traditional advertisements: If they can guarantee local results, they can stay in the game. But that guarantee won’t be easy for all formats since a lot of traditional advertising takes the “shotgun” approach.

Style Favors Social Interaction

Social media is having another impact on traditional marketing: style and tone. When today’s buyers respond to social marketing, companies look for ways to integrate that success with other channels, and that means finding a way to bring social media to physical media. The first and extremely awkward attempts can already be seen on billboards with tweets and hashtags. The challenge in the future will be incorporating social media into traditional ads more effectively to build engagement.

New Devices Create New Marketing Options

Here’s an interesting question: If devices like Amazon Echo decide to incorporate ads – and they are planning on it – what are those ads? Are they traditional media like radio ads, or are they more digital or social media inspired by your likes, preferences, and follows? It’ll be a little bit of both – traditional in format, but online in content. Expect to see more of these hybrid forms pop up over time as traditional ads evolve.

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