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Blog,  Digital Marketing

Digital Media vs Traditional Media: What’s the Difference?

Before the advent of digital media, traditional media was the only way for companies to reach their target audiences and get their marketing messages across. Nowadays, digital media has introduced a wide variety of effective creative methods to achieve marketing objectives.

From social media to blogs, digital media has expanded to provide marketers with a myriad of choices to connect with their target audience, build customer relationships, and fuel conversions.

According to Statista, digital media is experiencing rapid growth in various markets, with the United States leading as the biggest market. As such, it’s obvious that digital media isn’t going away any time soon.

Now, before you start strategizing, it’s important to learn the main communications differences between traditional and digital media so that you can make informed decisions for your marketing campaigns.

Let’s get started!


What is traditional media?

According to TechFunnel, traditional media also referred to as “old media”, can be best defined as any advertising channels that has been utilized for marketing purposes in the past. These include TV, radio, newspapers, and billboards.

For years, companies have used traditional media to reach their target audiences and persuade them to make a purchase. These methods were quite effective in helping companies drive sales and improve brand awareness.

Before the Internet, traditional media was the only way for companies to reach target audiences and promote products and services.


What is digital media?

As mentioned in Dave Chaffey’s Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation, and Practice, digital media is defined as communications produced through engaging content on digital platforms like social media, TV, the Internet, and mobile devices.

Over the past few years, digital media has exploded in prevalence and popularity among consumers and businesses alike.

The careful yet effective blend of communications, data, and technology allows consumers to connect, discuss, create, share, and reflect on any content, news, or information that’s delivered on a digital platform.


What’s the difference between digital and traditional media?

Digital media and traditional media are both used for marketing purposes but they both utilize different communications methods to achieve objectives.

For instance, marketing for traditional media uses a “push” approach, in which marketing messages are sent directly to the customer via TV, radio, or another traditional source. These messages often reach a broad audience due to the advertising channels it’s delivered from.

Think of your average TV commercial like one from McDonald’s as an example. A commercial from McDonald’s typically “pushes” a specific message about their restaurant’s food or a recent promotion.

It is a direct marketing effort that stops once you receive the message. McDonald’s has no way of knowing whether you watched the commercial or performed the desired action as a result.

On the other hand, digital media gives customers the opportunity to initiate contact with a business and engage with its products or services. This typically involves a potential customer viewing a company’s social media page or exploring its website.

For companies, having customers engage and interact with their brand provides opportunities for valuable information about their target audience. In other words, digital media enables a “pull” approach, which makes it crucial for businesses to invest in increasing brand visibility and equity.



Digital media is constantly evolving to include new platforms, new methods, and new techniques. However, traditional media shouldn’t be thrown away completely. Now that you know the differences between traditional media and digital media, you can find a balancing act between the two and maximize their strengths.

Of course, make sure you understand what your target audience needs and think about your budget so that you can make the most of your marketing efforts.

Read our blog, Brand Strategy Challenges and How Content Marketing Can Help Overcome It for tips on how to use content marketing for your brand strategy.

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