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Programmatic Advertising vs. Traditional Advertising: Pros and Cons

Programmatic advertising, which means automated processes of buying and selling digital ad space, keeps conquering the industry. Programmatic ad spending is expected to exceed $720 billion by 2026. 

In turn, traditional advertising implies targeting the audience with offline materials, like newspaper or radio ads. Its spending is forecasted to reach only around $314 billion by 2026.

However, the spending statistics don’t prove that you should entirely switch to programmatic advertising. 

Programmatic advertising: pros and cons

Let’s start with the advantages:

  • Precise targeting. Ads are displayed on any website (connected to programmatic) to the users that meet your audience requirements; 
  • Automation. You set up your campaign, and the platform does the rest. This process takes just a couple of seconds;
  • Cost-effectiveness. As you can specify how much you are willing to pay for every impression, you are in full control of your spending; 
  • Enhanced reach and scalability. You gain access to publishers from all over the world, which can help you reach new audiences and drive conversions;
  • Measurement. Programmatic allows effective monitoring and real-time optimization so that you can analyze and improve the performance easily.

And here are the cons:

  • Ad fraud. Potential fake clicks and impressions mean wasting money. Choose a platform with solid anti-fraud capabilities;
  • Complexity. Understanding programmatic advertising can be challenging. Prefer a solution that is intuitive to use;
  • Lack of control. Your ads may be placed on websites that don’t align with your values. Choose a platform with multiple filters to prevent this.

Traditional advertising: pros and cons

Now, let’s explore the benefits of the traditional approach:

  • Connection with local customers. When you need to target a local audience, offline materials can be effective;
  • Credibility. Due to tangible formats, offline marketing often seems more trustworthy; 
  • Diversity. You cannot really control who will see your ads, so they may attract those audience groups you have never thought about;
  • Brand familiarity. With different offline ads, building and maintaining brand familiarity can get easier.

And here come the cons:

  • Higher expenses. Printing materials and launching offline commercials can be rather expensive;
  • No customization opportunities. For instance, you cannot set up targeting or conduct A/B tests;
  • Lack of analysis. You cannot track, for example, how many people made a purchase because of your billboard;
  • Time spent. Launching traditional campaigns takes much more time than setting up programmatic ones;
  • Loss of interest. Modern customers are less interested in offline materials and often just don’t pay attention to them.

To sum up

Launching digital advertising campaigns is a must in the modern world, and a programmatic approach can help you do this much more effectively. Here, you can learn more about its work principles, and not only. At the same time, you can support your digital effort with offline marketing when relevant.

In any case, each of your decisions must be data-driven. Prioritize your target audience and ensure the selected approach (or approaches) aligns with your goals.

IEMLabs is an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are also a proud member of EC Council, NASSCOM, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The company was established in 2016 with a vision in mind to provide Cyber Security to the digital world and make them Hack Proof. The question is why are we suddenly talking about Cyber Security and all this stuff? With the development of technology, more and more companies are shifting their business to Digital World which is resulting in the increase in Cyber Crimes.


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