Digital Vs Traditional


(By Wayne Ens) You’ve probably heard that “figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.” Whenever I’m reviewing figures or “research,” I always look first at the source.

With all due respect, research from any source has its built-in biases. Research conducted by RAB, for example, will have a pro-radio slant, while research from the Association of Magazine Media will show magazines in a favorable light.

So, when I see figures from eMarketer, the biased digital marketing and media research firm that says consumers spend less than half their media time with digital media and slightly over half of their media time with traditional media, they’ve got my attention.

Wow!  Despite all the noise about digital, traditional media still rock!

But here is what the eMarketer report doesn’t tell you. Digital, be it mobile or laptop, is a www, worldwide web, media. As of October 2017, the time spent with digital media consumption is apportioned over 1.24 billion websites, 2.8 billion social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more, plus emails, YouTube, Skype and more.

So, let’s look at my admittedly radio-biased “research.” Radio is not a www media…it’s local. While there might be dozens of stations in a market, most people are only exposed to two or three stations each week. So, while “www dot digital” might be great for worldwide marketers like Ford Motor Company or McDonald’s, it’s far too fragmented for local businesses to use effectively.

And radio’s two or three favorite stations also stand out in a 350 channel TV universe.

Of course, it’s a must that local businesses have their own web and social media sites. But their reactive digital media traffic, reacting to a need, must be driven by proactive local radio, creating a pre-need/pre-search awareness and preference for their business.

Wayne Ens in an international marketing consultant, business-to-business sales trainer and author, specializing in helping media companies create stronger partnerships with locally-owned businesses. Wayne has worked with radio stations, TV, newspapers, and billboard companies to help their local-direct advertisers improve their return on investment.


  1. As a former long time radio person (now working with radio companies to add digital to their portfolio to help market local businesses) the sentence “So, while “www dot digital” might be great for worldwide marketers like Ford Motor Company or McDonald’s, it’s far too fragmented for local businesses to use effectively.” makes me cringe. It’s beyond ignorant, it’s flat out wrong. Has this author even bothered to talk to the hundreds of radio stations that have LOCAL customers who successfully use both radio and digital?

    Thousands of local businesses use digital BECAUSE it is so specific in it’s targeting. Radio is the megaphone for brand awareness and digital pairs with it to provide the specificity and the frequency. I would think this publication would expect a more enlightened view from it’s contributors. Nothing in this article is helpful to radio stations.

  2. This is nonsense.

    Two companies, Google and Facebook, account for almost 2/3 of all US digital ad dollars. They directly account for more than half of all time spent on digital media. From an ad buyer’s point-of-view, the digital landscape is not fragmented…it’s a duopoly.

    They can also influence customers at any point of the buying process through Google’s display network and Facebook’s Audience Network. It’s not just about search or liking local business’s Facebook page.

    I know it’s cliché, but if this is still a prevalent perspective in radio, then the industry’s in trouble. Digital is taking local ad dollars. Small businesses can target potential customers in their zip code, they don’t have to blast a message to everybody in the market who just heard that Bob Seger song 5 minutes ago before the marathon spot-block started. They can easily target competition in search. They can pause campaigns and adjust with ease.

    It’s true that people still consume traditional media and that’s something to celebrate. But, if you can’t figure out what you’re up against, move out of the way.


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