What You Can Do With Digital That You Can’t Do with Print

By: Muhammad Yasin

When it comes to advertising, there will always be big competitors: digital and print. One’s old and wise; the other is new and innovative. But when it comes down to the specific needs of a company, they can each do some pretty amazing things on their own that the other cannot.

For those out there wondering what the differences are, here are three things that you can do with digital that you can’t do with print.

1. Real-Time Adjustments

I love how easily adjustable digital marketing is. I’ll create a new campaign with 120 ads, send out those ads, and then watch as people interact—or in some cases, not interact—with them. Then, depending on how the ads are doing, I can make adjustments that can improve the overall success of the campaign, like pulling some of the ads out of the campaign and boosting those that are getting the most traffic.

As long as you have access to analytics, you can pretty much just sit back and watch as your campaign unfolds onto the Internet. You can see which ads work and which aren’t as it progresses, and then play Dungeon Master as you reassess how the campaign will continue to play out. It allows you to give not only the advertised company a better ROI, but it also gives the consumer a better experience.

2. Advertising in an Instant

In the digital marketing space, we’re able to deliver advertising messages to people instantly based on the actions they are taking at the moment. Remember when you went on that hour-long Internet window-shopping spree last week? Well, surely you’ve noticed the ads all over your Facebook—and across the Internet, really—are now advertising specific items you spent a lot of time looking at. This is huge for hitting consumers right when they’re making decisions. When someone looks at that pair of shoes for a substantial amount of time wondering if they should spend the money on them or not, and then leaves the site after deciding not to buy them, you can provide special offer ads for those shoes on their social media or other sites they visit. This could make them re-think their decision, possibly go back, and add those shoes to their cart.

It’s all about being able to deliver special deals and messages right then and there, right when people are already thinking about them.

3. Tapping into Geolocation

Here’s where things get a little creepy. Computers with internet access—phones, tablets, etc.—have GPS built in. At any point, they can be tracked: where they are, where they’re going, how much time they’re spending at specific locations. Yeah, it’s weird, but it’s a digital marketer’s dream come true.

It’s still relatively fresh in the marketing industry, but a ton of social media platforms are starting to tap into geolocation to bring advertisements directly to people based upon where they are and how long they’ve been there. Foursquare is a good example of using geolocation to bring specific advertisements and messages to users.

Here’s an example: if a user is approaching a Midas (full disclosure, they are a client), Foursquare can recognize this and then send them a coupon for an oil change while they are in the area.

For an even deeper example: phones ping in real-time, regardless of whether it’s active or on standby; picking up these pings, these GPS based/capable apps can track your location as close as knowing exactly where you are in a given store, and how long you’ve been there. This means that a store, like American Apparel, can see that you spent some time at a specific clothing rack and then walked out of the store without going to the checkout counter. When it sees this, it knows you were looking at certain items, and the amount of time you were standing there tells them how much you considered purchasing that item. When it sees all of this, it knows you want that clothing article, so they could theoretically send a coupon for the store, or maybe even for the exact item you were looking at. Along with sending offers, GPS tracking can also see how people are traveling through a retail location, what they’re looking at, and what they’re avoiding. Based on the consumer patterns, they can adjust the way they lay out their stores.