Traditional Advertising vs. Content Marketing – Why Make the Switch?

December 16, 2018

It’s 2019 now. With each New Year comes new challenges, and new marketing budgets. 

So moving into this year you may have heard a lot about content marketing and its advantages over traditional advertising. But you are not quite sure whether outsourcing your content is the best decision for your business at this point.

You probably have a few questions like:

  • What are the advantages of content marketing?  
  • Why is content marketing better for my business than traditional advertising? 
  • How can I integrate content marketing into my existing marketing strategy? 
  • How can I find the right content marketing agency to work with? 

Don’t worry. We understand your apprehension to the changing times we live in, and want to give you the best information in order to make the right choice for your business when it comes to inbound vs. outbound marketing.

That is why we made this comprehensive guide to help you make the right decision. Let’s get started.

why you should switch your marketing budget to content marketing in 2019

Why Your Business Needs Content Marketing in 2019

Alright, so you came here to learn more about content marketing advantages that can bring your business to the next level. Let’s take a look at some of the most important advantages to content marketing: 

  • It helps you connect with your audience better
  • It builds organic search traffic 
  • Helps you build and maintain a brand image 
  • Improves conversion rates 
  • Increases lead generation
  • Reduces marketing costs 
  • Increases ROI on marketing efforts 
  • Improves your rankings on Google 

And this is just a brief list of the benefits of content marketing… 

For the purpose of staying on point and comparing content marketing to traditional advertising, we will not dive deeper into the advantages of content marketing in this post. 

Pro Tip: If you are looking to learn more about the advantages of content marketing, and why you should outsource your content to an agency, check out these guides we made. 

8 Reasons Why Content Marketing Is Better Than Traditional Advertising 

Alright, so now that you understand a bit more about what the goals of content marketing are, and how it works, let’s take a look at how it compares to traditional advertising methods from the not so distant past, and some that are still being used today, such as: 

  • Billboards 
  • TV ads 
  • Newspaper ads 
  • PPC campaigns 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Catalogs 
  • Magazines 
  • Radio ads 
  • Etc… 

The thing that is most important to remember when comparing content marketing to traditional advertising is the goal of content marketing. 

Keep in mind, the main goal of content is not to make the sale, but to educate and provide value to your end user. This creates awareness, trust, loyalty, engagement, and interest in your audience. This leads to people returning to your site, and becoming more likely to convert in the future.

content marketing vs traditional advertising

1. Content Marketing Is More Effective

How much more effective is content marketing than traditional advertising you ask? 

Well, let’s put it this way: 

  • Marketers who prioritize content are 13 times more likely to see positive marketing ROI
  • Content marketing has been shown to grow traffic 3x faster at just 32% the cost 
  • 96% of B2B decision makers want to read custom content before making a decision 
  • 56% of consumers want to engage with at least 3-5 pieces of content before making a decision
  • 95% of B2B decision makers find content as trustworthy as testimonials and referrals  
  • For the first time ever, in 2018 content marketing budgets surpassed traditional advertising budgets 

There are thousands more facts that point towards content marketing becoming the dominant form of reaching your audience effectively. 

One of the beauties of working with high quality content is the amount of analytics data you get on your audience. This leads to our next section.

content marketing budgets are more effective than traditional marketing

2. Content Marketing ROI Is Much Higher  

So, you might have spent thousands of dollars on any number of traditional advertising campaigns such as TV, radio, billboards, PPC, etc… but were never truly able to measure the effect it had on your bottom line. 

This is no longer the case. Now you can find data points on just about anything you could imagine from your content marketing campaigns. 

Using Google Analytics and other data analytics platforms to measure your paid campaigns (that focus on high quality content), you can measure things like: 

  • Click through rates 
  • Keywords you rank for 
  • Dwell time 
  • Conversion rates 
  • Behavior flow 
  • And much more! 

Having this data at your finger tips allows you to become extremely responsive with your marketing efforts, making daily changes in order to best meet your audiences needs. 

This not only improves your relationship with your audience, but increases your knowledge of what they are looking for, and also sends great signs to Google. 

Another perk of choosing content marketing over traditional advertising is that this abundance of data allows your marketing campaigns to be more targeted. 

Pro Tip: If you want to learn more about how to track the ROI of your content marketing efforts using Google Analytics, check out this comprehensive guide.

why choose content marketing in 2019

3. Improved Targeting 

So as we briefly touched on above, having more data means that you can attract the right audience, and only allocate your marketing dollars on getting your content in front of the right people.

Translation: Content marketing keeps more money in your pocket, and makes sure that the money you are spending on marketing continually gains a higher ROI over time. 

This drives more conversions, more clients, and more money. Also, working with a content marketing agency helps you to easily integrate your content marketing campaigns with your existing paid campaigns. We will touch on this more later.

Pro Tip: If you want to learn more about how to target the exact audience you are looking for, check out our buyer persona guide and our guide to finding out what your audience is asking on Google.

4. Building Organic Search Traffic Is Key 

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into a third party software like SEMrush and checked out a website’s traffic just to see something like this: 

why content marketing is better than traditional advertising

At first glance, this looks like a decent graph of traffic right? 


As we look closer, you can see that of the approximate 1,500 visitors this site gets per month, only about 64 of them are organic. The rest are brought to their site from paid advertisements. 

While this certainly means that their paid ads are at least generating clicks, this is overall not a healthy way to build real, quality, organic traffic over time. 

On top of that, the moment that they stop these ads, their traffic will drop off a cliff back down to almost zero, because they have put little to no effort into developing an organic search traffic strategy.

This is exactly what content marketing does. It builds your traffic by answering questions that people in your audience have about your business, industry, and practice. This allows you to slowly build your website in the eyes of Google over time, allowing you to eventually rank for lots of keywords that are relevant to your audience. 

content marketing vs traditional marketing 2019

5. Content Marketing Guides Your Audience Through The Buyer’s Journey

So you might be saying, “Sure, content brings people to my site, but does it convert them like traditional advertising campaigns do?”. The answer to this question is yes, as long as you understand how to implement your content marketing strategy with the rest of your marketing efforts. 

One of the best parts about building high quality blog content for your business is that it is perfectly designed to guide people through each stage of their buyer’s journey: 

  • Awareness 
  • Consideration
  • Decision 

Knowing how to create a piece of content for each stage of the marketing funnel, for each of your buyer personas is essential to getting them to take the next desired step towards conversion goals. 

Pro Tip: To learn more about how to make the best content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, check out this comprehensive guide we made. 

how content marketing compares to traditional advertising

6. Paid Ads Are Becoming Less Effective 

In a recent study by Google, 68 percent of people said internet ads are annoying, while 51 percent said they’re distracting and 38 percent called them invasive. That’s why it comes as no surprise that a study by Google found 56 percent of ad impressions were never even seen by consumers.

On top of this, Google estimates that 70-80% of people completely ignore the first 3 search results if they are paid. That means you are paying to be at the top of search, just to be treated as if you are in the number 7 or 8 spot. 

These are things like banner ads (that literally zero people click on) and Pay-Per-Click advertisements.

Like I said earlier, these tactics can still work for the marketers that really know how to use them, but for the general public, it should not be their bread and butter approach. Think about how you browse the web yourself.

Are you more likely to view content that has been pushed onto by these brands or are you going to instead read things that you search for yourself?

Content marketing helps to improve your click-through rate by introducing organic search traffic to the mix.

The content you produce is geared towards inviting people in by providing them with information they are looking for, rather than coaxing them in or tricking them into clicking on your site by paying for ads.

content marketing vs traditional advertising in 2019

7. Permission Marketing Vs. Interruption Marketing

At the end of the day, one of the main reasons that content marketing is more effective than traditional animadverting campaigns is because it focuses on the viewer’s needs. 

Think about it. As a consumer, do you enjoy having advertisements that have nothing to do with you or your wants rammed down your throat? Not a chance.

Furthermore, do you find it annoying when you do actually have an interest in something and arrive on a page just to find absolutely no helpful information whatsoever? Of course you do. 

This is why content marketing is so effective. Rather than making the act of getting user’s attention the goal, it makes it the first step to converting them into a qualified lead. This shifts the attention from “get as many eyes on this as possible” to “get only the right people on this page, and then satisfy their every need”. 

When you make the customer’s needs and wants your priority with marketing, people do not even realize you are marketing to them. Instead they see themselves in a virtual classroom, where you are the teacher, and education is free.

Educate enough people, and your website will grow prolifically, and attract only the best leads. Then, it is your job to create different types of content that will nurture each lead into a client. 

Permission marketing is the idea that you only pitch a sale to someone once you have given them free value. This makes them far more likely to convert, and also makes your leads far more qualified by the time you try to sell them something. 

how content marketing beats traditional advertising

8. Content Marketing Makes for Very Shareable Content 

Next, let’s think about how your message can spread. How many times have you watched a pre-roll advertisement on a YouTube video and thought “Man, I bet you 9 of my friends would also think this is cool.”?

I’m guessing not many times.

In contrast, how many times have you been doing your own research on a topic that you’re deeply interested in and found an awesome video or article that someone created on that topic and either sent it to one of your friends that you know is also interested in that topic, or posted it on your social media accounts for other people to see?

Probably a lot more frequently. 

This is naturally how the human brain works. We share things that bring value to us, and we tend to forget things that do not. 

Now I think you are starting to see why content marketing at face value is so effective.

traditional advertising vs content marketing

3 Major Downfalls of Traditional Advertising

Now that you have an understanding of why content marketing is so effective when compared with traditional advertising, let’s take a look at a few more important factors to take into consideration when considering how to allocate your marketing budget in 2019. 

These major problems with traditional advertising help make an even stronger case for implementing a content marketing strategy in 2019. 

1. Ad Blockers Are Very Prevalent and Very Effective 

Let’s start with something we as marketers have no control over, but nonetheless has a huge impact on reaching customers. Over 200 million people now use ad blockers.

This ensures that they will never see our ad no matter how amazing and valuable it is.

You could spend $30 million to film a short video of The Rock using your product to fight an alien invasion and save the world, but since you ran it as an ad it will never get seen by these people.

2. Traditional Marketing Is Becoming Obsolete 

Traditional marketing vehicles are becoming less effective in capturing and engaging the attention of today’s perpetually connected consumer, the Forrester team writes in its report.

The document goes on to say that advertising performs more poorly than branded, value-adding content. According to research from WebMarketing123.

It claims SEO and content marketing are more than twice as effective when it comes to generating leads compared to PPC and social media.

What’s more, people choose organic search results over paid ones 94% of the time, according to a report from GroupM UK and Nielsen. 

The data also suggest that the younger the user, the less likely he or she is to click on a paid ad. There must be a better way! And there is. Content Marketing to the Rescue.

 3. Traditional Advertising Pitches Sales Too Early 

Consumers don’t see good content as advertising. They see that it provides them with valuable information that they were looking for. What would be more beneficial for your company?

A potential customer that you cold email telling them about your services without knowing if she/he needs them, or someone looking for your service waltzing into your place of work and taking a look around.

They came in to learn the story of your brand and to see your past work with other customers, and you can share how specifically you could fix their problem.

why content marketing beats traditional advertising

How To Integrate Content Marketing With Your Traditional Advertising 

These are some of the most key advantages of content marketing over traditional advertising. You are bringing people onto YOUR website to read about you or your business. Now that they’re here, how can you make the most out of it?

1. Answer Frequently Asked Questions with Your Content

Let’s start with making sure we answer all questions that a potential customer might have. If you own a roofing company, a customer might want to know if it’s better for them to go with a traditional shingle roof or a metal roof.

Well, you better have a detailed post explaining the differences and benefits to each. When it comes to content marketing, there isn’t a one size fits all for every business. You need to figure out a few things first before you decide which path is best for your company.

2. Define and Understand Your Audience, and Produce Content for Them

The first thing that we need to define is our target audience, and this is for a few reasons.

Different audiences hang out in different places. If we are selling fidget spinners to 14-year-olds, maybe we want to create an audience and tell our story on Snapchat using videos.

If we are a B2B company that sells a service that would be considered a boring industry to the general public, we probably should focus on engaging blog posts since most B2B decision makers prefer to get their information by reading on the web.

3. Distribute Content on Platforms Where Your Audience Hangs Out

So your audience will dictate 2 things for your content marketing strategy:

  • WHERE you tell your brand’s story and create your content
  • WHAT type of vehicle you use for creating this content then answers to your

Where can be anywhere from your own blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Snapchat. The What just follows the most prevalent and effective type of content for each platform. 

The answers to what type of content can be podcasts, short-form video, long-form video, blogs, or social media content. You’ll really have to spend a lot of time figuring these two things out first because they will play a huge role in determining how successful your content marketing campaign will be.

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Finding The Best Content Marketing Agency To Work With

So you now know that these traditional advertising methods aren’t quite what they used to be and have a solid alternative heading into 2019. What ways will your brand tell its story?

Will you be the next viral video to be played 30 million times on YouTube or will you grow a blog that gets 50,000 monthly readers and slowly builds trust with your customers and become the thought leader of your industry?

When it comes to finding a content marketing agency that is right for you, we understand that your business is your baby, and you want to protect and nurture it.

Our expert team of content marketers has helped companies in a number of markets to reach new markets, cultivate their audiences into loyal brand representatives, boost website traffic and rankings, and ultimately build customer bases from the ground up.

If you are looking to take your content marketing efforts seriously, and want to either start a content strategy or expand and improve upon the one you have had for years, we’ve got you covered.

Give us a call, fill out our form, or shoot us an email to get started. With all of our clients, we take the time to get to know your audience and their pain points in order to provide them with content that blows the competition out of the water and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.

Our content marketing agency based in Manchester, NH may be small, but we have helped our clients achieve some huge goals!

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