Why has Spending on Digital Marketing Outpaced Traditional Marketing?

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In 2017, digital marketing spending passed television broadcast advertising by over $31 billion annually. Annual expenses on digital advertisements reached $209 billion worldwide compared to the $178 billion spent on TV ads. It seems every month new technologies emerge and companies either adapt or get swept under the rug.

In 2018, this spending is showing no sign of slowing – and we expect even bigger digital advertising budgets. Let’s take a look at why marketers are increasingly turning to the web to drive more customer engagement and ultimately, sales.

The Many Advantages of Digital Marketing

It’s no secret why digital marketing spending is up 17.5% and growing faster with each passing month. Digital marketing’s distinct advantages over traditional media make it a much more efficient and cost-effective resource for most companies.

Data Collection

The most critical advantage of digital marketing is how detailed the data collections can be. Through current digital marketing, it’s possible to reach any audience and gather real-time performance data. 93% of online experiences start with search engines, giving companies an amazing starting place to put ads and get attention to their products and services. Data is always changing, and digital marketers can narrow their target audience down to precise demographics.

Running traditional ads, marketers usually gather data at the end of the advertisement’s run. Digital marketing tells you in real-time how the ad is doing while it is still online and it allows you to edit and adjust it to make it even more efficient.

Precise Demographic Targeting

TV ads reach a much bigger audience than digital ads, but that audience is not as precise. Through digital marketing, it is possible to collect specific demographic data relating to the product or service a company is trying to sell. This data makes narrowing target audiences easier and more efficient, ultimately leading to a better ROI than traditional marketing.

Data Collecting can go as deep as finding a customer’s income, marital status, age, and even household size. Customer’s browsing and past purchases history can also be tracked to give a more thorough target audience.


Digital marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing, making it easier for smaller businesses to get started. Costs will always depend on the size of the advertisements, who sees the ad, and which platform the ad is on.

Traditional advertising can get very costly – even getting close to $30 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) using Broadcast TV. Social media advertising, by comparison, only costs about $2.50 CPM on average.

So, Why are Advertisers spending so much money on Digital Marketing?

Digital ad spend is up because it works. Companies want real-time, cost-effective results – and digital marketing gives them exactly that.

In any marketing or advertising campaign, efficiency is key. Digital advertising delivers the best return on investment for many businesses because it allows for precision targeting, real-time data collection, and at an approachable cost.

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