Out with the old and in with the new?

Out with the old and in with the new?

The last 18 months have been wild, in more ways than one. The pandemic has played havoc when it comes to life as we know it, and the advertising spend during the last year and a half is no different.

The topsy-turvy journey of digital and traditional advertising spend came to a head in 2020 and looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. Famously, the debate has always been a “versus” battle between the two ways of advertising budgets but they both have their place and will in the future. 2020, though, was a landmark year.

Disruption brings clarity

Last year brought worldwide disruption. Nearly every human was house bound. And businesses saw the light with digital marketing. Advertising budgets needed to continue to be spent, so the digital world massively benefitted.

Before I go any further… What is traditional media and what is digital spending? The former can be anything from television, newspapers, or outdoor advertising and digital can be anything from social media, website placements or even online influencer campaigns. Everyone up to speed? Let’s crack on with some facts.

Forecasts by both GroupM and Magna Global predicted that 2020 will be the year that digital advertising spend would overtake that of traditional advertising. The prediction included that overall ad spending will fall by 11.8% worldwide, but traditional ad formats will take the bulk of the damage, falling by 20.7% compared to just 2.4% for pure digital ad spending.

It’s natural to make an assumption that this is an ad spend battle of the master (traditional) and the apprentice (digital) but in reality, 2020 and 2021 have been strange years and perhaps 2022 onwards will be the biggest test. Insider Intelligence forecasted in March 2020 that digital spend would go from £16billion worldwide to £23billion by 2024. What’s incredible though, just one year after the pandemic really started affecting lives in March 2021, Insider did their forecast again. It turned out that by 2024, digital ad spend looks set to be at £26billion now – rising by £3billion.

Digital spend is clearly going to be king for years to come, but traditional advertising is still hanging around like mature prince. Basically, what all this means is that there is a place for both forms of advertising but perhaps the shift to digital is due to more reasons than just more people are working from home. In the UK in 2020, digital advertising equated to 74.8% of total media spend, and with that ¾ of spend it shows businesses a new perspective and better instant results.

Ad shift spend graph

Campaigns are everything right now. Whatever your industry, return on investment is a must for customers. With social media, digital placements, website SEO – it’s all trackable to the minute. This makes it more attractive, of course. However, if you also chuck in a heavily targeted radio advert, a local cinema commercial and a television ad spot – you suddenly have an all-round campaign ready to hit every single target you need.

So, what can we take from this?

In a nutshell, it’s all relative to any single business. If you require a podcast advert and cinema trailer placement – so be it. If you want instant and trackable results from the get-go, you must go digital. We can help with all of the above here at CWA and it starts with the objectives and what strategy we produce to meet those goals.

If you want me to check out your social media channels and see if they can be doing more for you, let’s have a chat and I will do a little social health check for you. Message me on and we can see how we can make your channels perform better for you.