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The challenges and opportunities of a converged offline/online advertising media mix

The challenges and opportunities of a converged offline/online advertising media mix

The battle between offline and online media has raged ever since digital advertising emerged. Since that time the two advertising ecosystems have aggressively competed for advertising spend. In reality, each has its particular strengths and weaknesses.

We are now at a critical inflection point where concerns about privacy, use of cookies, ad fraud, campaign effectiveness, and inappropriate application of audience data is challenging the mainly programmatic online media model effectively dominated by Facebook and Google.

Likewise, as print and broadcast, tv/radio channels are challenged by alternative online and/or streaming channels the industry is reassessing offline media.

Both offline and online media have a place in almost any sophisticated advertising campaign

Over the decades both publishers and advertisers have ever-increasingly adopted an either/or approach. Publishers have continued with costly and inefficient direct offline media sales while separately allowing their brands and digital assets to be commoditised by programmatic networks. Meanwhile, Advertisers have continued their costly and inefficient offline media buying while separately utilising opaque programmatic networks to drive ever-increasingly ineffective digital campaigns. Thus we have effectively seen the separation and isolation of offline and online campaigns and the related damage to campaign synergies.

Given this critical inflection point, it may, in the light of decades of practical experience, be time to reconsider the merits of each and their place in the media mix as we proceed into the next decade.

Offline media

Offline media refers to tried-and-tested traditional advertising channels that advertisers have relied upon for decades. These channels include Cable, Broadcast TV/Radio, Print, Cinema, Sponsorship, and Outdoor.

Digital research firm eMarketers estimated that in 2021 advertisers will spend USD 104 billion on offline media.

Traditionally, primarily because of its high-cost structure, offline media could only be afforded by major advertisers with large budgets. As online media alternatives emerged, and largely because of the programmatic approach, smaller businesses could now afford to advertise thus growing the market and commoditizing major publishers assets.

Selecting the most appropriate offline media largely depends on the demographic the campaign is targeting, the message, the creatives, the budget, and numerous other criteria

You may want to advertise on TV, but TV has an average CPM of $28. Radio is less prestigious, but at a CPM of $10, it’s much more attainable. Outside is even more accessible, with a CPM of $5. As ever, selecting the right media mix to meet campaign objectives is critical.

Online media

Online media can best be defined as the digital publisher channels that have gained popularity in the last decade or so. These are epitomised by the likes of Facebook, Google and ever increasingly other channels such as Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.

As mobile devices become an ever greater presence in our everyday lives, online media has become an increasingly effective way for advertisers to reach targeted audiences. Advertising spend on online media continues to grow, with an estimated spend of $USD172 billion in 2021.

The relative advertising spends between offline and online media can vary significantly country-by-country

Online media encompasses all forms of internet-based advertising including a portfolio of web and mobile ad units. Unlike offline media, online media can be highly targeted to a particular visitor to a site even allowing advertisers to reach consumers as they enter their store, for example, using push notifications.

Online media has an average CPM of $2.80 which is one of the reasons why it’s so attractive to smaller advertisers. Theoretically, you only pay for what you get.

The convergence of offline and online media

Despite the way that they are often positioned by their protagonists, offline and online media should not necessarily compete. In a well designed and structured campaign offline and online media should complement each other and make your advertising campaign more cost-effective.

Today savvy advertisers are ever-increasingly utilizing multiple channels, reaching across both offline and online media, to reach their target audience, with an appropriate message, at the appropriate time, in the appropriate place, at an appropriate cost.

Consumers tend to associate a certain amount of prestige with offline media.

Traditional offline media, unlike digital online media, has a certain cachet with consumers. Viewing a 30 second TV commercial creates the perception that the business is established, credible, and trusted. This perception is often lacking in online media.

Advertisers must monitor the effectiveness of both offline and online campaigns. While online media provides campaign analytics to advertisers it is helpful to contrast and compare the performance of both offline and online media. Together, the two can paint a more complete picture of the consumers who may be interested in your offer which, in turn, tells you how you should refine and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

We are now seeing the convergence of offline and online media

For example, ever-increasingly broadcast tv/radio is being superseded by on-demand streaming channels and podcasts delivered to identifiable internet-connected smart devices. These are essentially digital channels that can be targeted, monitored, and monetised.


Offline media and online media tend to be viewed as mutually exclusive. That is not the most effective way to build a cohesive and effective advertising campaign strategy.

To reach the widest possible audience at an effective frequency it is wise to take advantage of both offline and online channels.

Online media tends to benefit the demand-side and disadvantage the supply-side by commoditizing major publishers digital assets.

From its inception, Infomo has focussed on balancing the interests of its supply-side and its demand-side partner by offering a full-service advertiser infrastructure providing publishers with an efficient and effective service to manage and sell both offline and online media assets.

With thanks to eMarketers

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