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Understanding The Differences Between Traditional Digital Advertising And Digital Performance Advertising

November 12, 2020 Sarah Cavill

As digital advertising continues to be leveraged by more and more brands, it’s important to understand the difference between traditional digital advertising and digital performance advertising. Although performance advertising can be a component of digital advertising, it offers unique benefits to brands that strictly traditional digital advertising cannot. By focusing on ROI and measurability, performance advertising is able to offer brands reliable results that are cost efficient. Both types of advertising ideally work together to create the most successful campaigns and find the right alchemy of success for brands and businesses. 

What Is Traditional Digital Advertising?

Shutterstock_1426545566 Smiling black man using laptop at home in living room. Happy mature businessman send email and working at home. African american freelancer typing on computer with paperworks and documents on table.Digital advertising is advertising that happens exclusively within the digital space. Consumers view digital advertising via desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Digital advertising includes both paid digital media channels and earned digital media channels. 

Digital advertising encompasses paid search, search engine optimization, email advertising, display advertising, programmatic media buying, content advertising, social media, social advertising, lead generation and affiliate advertising. Here are three fast facts about digital advertising:

  • Digital advertising is often less expensive to execute than traditional offline advertising, because the creative costs do not include hard production expenses, like printing. Similarly, digital media campaigns can often launch faster than traditional campaigns.
  • Digital advertising can be superior to traditional advertising in its trackability. Using cross-channel attribution to track the entire consumer journey from first impression through conversion, digital advertising campaigns can be optimized to reduce some of the ineffective advertising spend, ideally resulting in stronger ROI.
  • Digital advertising can be cost-effective. Digital advertising campaign budgets range from $0 to millions of dollars with factors including budget, audience and objectives determining the spend. Earned media such as email advertising, social media, SEO and content advertising, although requiring time investments, do not always require media investments, resulting in “free” advertising.

What Are The Benefits Of Traditional Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising provides opportunities for brands to quickly launch digital campaigns targeting high-conversion audiences. By being both trackable and scalable, digital advertising allows brands to not only know if a campaign is working, but make changes or adjustments that amplify successful campaigns in the short and long term. 

What Is Performance Advertising?

Performance advertising is a type of advertising in which all campaigns are designed to achieve a specific objective and the performance of all efforts are tracked. Performance advertising can include a long list of media channels, but all efforts must be tracked against the campaign objective. Actions such as clicks, leads and sales are often the measurements tracked for performance advertising campaigns. Here are four fast facts about performance advertising:

  • Performance advertising can include any and every advertising tactic, as long as the tactic can be measurable. Because it is easier to measure digital advertising than traditional advertising, performance advertising is often restricted to digital advertising.
  • Top performance advertising channels include paid search and PPC, email advertising, search engine optimization, lead generation and affiliate advertising.
  • Advertising campaigns often exist across channels, making attribution tricky, but performance advertising is entirely focused on ROI and results are fully measurable.
  • As an end of funnel advertising strategy, performance advertising is often most useful once brands have established brand recognition, consumer engagement and deployed more traditional advertising assets.

What Are The Benefits Of Performance Advertising?

There are many advantages provided by performance advertising. One key benefit of performance advertising is a clear understanding of whether or not the advertising campaign successfully achieved the defined objective. Because performance advertising campaigns are designed to achieve a specific objective, and because all performance advertising campaigns are tracked against their objectives, it should be simple to evaluate campaign performance and calculate ROI. 

What Is The Difference Between Traditional Digital Advertising And Digital Performance Advertising?

In order to deliver the best results, many brands will appropriately deploy a combination of both traditional digital and performance advertising when launching campaigns. Some brands may choose to invest in one area more than another, depending on budget and the needs of the brand, but the most important differentiating factor between traditional digital advertising and digital performance advertising is tangible, measurable results, providing clear ROI. Brands that invest in performance marketing strategies pay only for the predetermined objectives of the media spend, whether it’s clicks, calls, leads or conversions. The reliability and accountability of performance advertising make it a flexible choice for brands that are looking to maximize ROI, while testing out different types of campaigns to determine what mix of advertising strategies is most effective for them.

Are You Looking For New Ways To Reach Targeted Audiences?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) is the leading global adtech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS helps brands flourish by capitalizing on consumer intent and engagement, deploying sophisticated adtech with big data intelligence to connect brands with consumers at the moments they’re most ready to take action, using messages proven to resonate.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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