The Pros and Cons of 5 Advertising Platforms for Local Business

March 27th, 2019 Posted by resources No Comment yet

Local businesses have two main options when it comes to advertising: offline advertising (often referred to as traditional media), such as print and radio ads, and online advertising, on platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Each of these advertising mediums have their respective pros and cons, which we explore in more detail below, but to summarize, traditional local advertising mediums such as print and radio are local. However, the audiences for print advertising are declining, radio listeners are distracted and tune out ads, and traditional advertising can be costly, and cannot be accurately measured.

Online advertising brings with it entirely different challenges. The concern for many local businesses is that, while the audience size nationally is potentially vast, the cost to reach targeted local audiences can be complicated and is increasingly expensive. There is increased pressure from the likes of Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart etc. who advertise heavily online, driving up advertising costs, and making it more difficult  for small, local businesses to compete.

What is the solution?

GetintheLoop combines  the benefits of online and mobile advertising with the convenience and care of support provided by local franchise owners. GetintheLoop is more cost effective than Google and Facebook ads, without the competition and pressure from the online retail giants, and encourages customers to shop local.

We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each of the major advertising channels available to local businesses, to help you decide: Online advertising or traditional media: which is the right choice for my business?

GetintheLoop

GetintheLoop is a locally owned and operated digital advertising platform that makes it easier for people to shop local, and for more local businesses to go digital.

Pros:

  • Cost effective – with one low monthly price it’s easy to budget for and you keep all the profits.
  • Promotes local shopping – GetintheLoop provides local customers with local offers in the palm of their hands, keeping their money in the local economy.
  • Keeps you aligned with changing consumer behaviours – people are using their smartphones for everything, so it’s the best way to get your business in front of them especially when they are nearby.
  • Drives customer loyalty keeps customers connected and coming back with offers and special events
  • Real-time dashboard – see how the audience is responding to your offers and ability to quickly and easily adjust offers on the fly.
  • Intent to purchase – unlike Facebook, GetintheLoop members are looking for something to do or buy with a high intent to purchase.

Cons:

  • Requires in-store employee training – While GetintheLoop’s dashboard provides analytics around the reach, response and actions of your offers within the app, attribution to actual in store sales is not available and requires effort from employees to keep track of GetintheLoop offer redemptions.

Facebook

Pros:

  • Wide audience – about half the population of Canada is on Facebook
  • Targeting options – only spend your advertising budget on reaching those who fit with your ideal customer. With Facebook, you can target by location, age group, gender, hobbies and interests, marital status and much more.

Cons:

  • Competition – the likes of Amazon and Wayfair advertise on Facebook, so right off the bat you’re competing with giants of the retail industry, with deep advertising pockets.
  • Price – yes,  Facebook has historically provided extremely strong value, however their prices have gone up 100% over the past year and as they throttle your post exposure back with algorithm changes you can expect ad prices on Facebook to continue to rise.
  • Time consuming – while advertising on Facebook is relatively easy, it still requires a time commitment, especially in the early days. You can’t just set-it-and-forget-it. Instead, you should be monitoring your account regularly, seeing what engagement levels are like, adjusting spend, introducing more ads etc.
  • Shrinking audience. Facebook’s audience is now primarily 35+. If you want to reach the under 35s you’ll need another platform.

Google AdWords

Pros:

  • Large, intent-driven audience – Google’s power is in its ability to target consumers who are searching online for the exact product you sell.
  • Demographic targeting – you can use Google’s demographic targeting options (such as age, gender, device, location etc) to ensure your ads show up for people in your target audience.

Cons:

  • Hard to manage – knowing the basics will only get you so far. Some small business owners learn the hard way, spending huge amounts of time and money with little to no results. Unlike Facebook, Google’s ad platform isn’t something you can learn in a day.  
  • Lack of trust in Google Ads – Google ads can be a great way to get your brand in front of people for keywords that you’d have a hard time ranking for with SEO, however people have more trust in the organic search results.
  • High competition / expensive – companies big and small are all vying for attention from consumers, and if your business is trying to target the same keywords as the likes of Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart etc. you’re not going to see great success with Google Ads. You’ll have to consider very carefully the keywords you are targeting, check out the competition and search volume, and maybe consider less competitive keywords that are not as close to the intent of your customers.

Print advertising

Pros:

  • Loyal readership – those who like to read magazines and newspapers are loyal to their publication
  • Geographical area targeting – for local businesses, a local publication can be an effective way of getting in front of local customers

Cons:

  • Decline in readership – more people get their information and advertising from online sources.
  • Long lead times – your message cannot be delivered as quickly as with other media.
  • Limited shelf-life – a newspaper ad is usually only relevant for a day.
  • Limited reach, targeting, and reporting options – targeting is limited to readership demographics, and ultimately, the only way of measuring success is an increase in store visits.
  • Lack of flexibility to make changes – once the ads is published, it cannot be changed.

Radio advertising

Pros:

  • Intrusive – radio reaches people even when they’re not paying attention
  • Builds brands – radio works best at the top of the funnel, making people aware and conveying emotion about the brand

Cons:

  • Expensive: The cost of ads vary greatly by location. High frequency is required for radio to work and generally it takes 3-9 months before results are evident.
  • Unmeasurable – as with print advertising, the only way of truly measuring success is an increase in store visits.

Ultimately, where a local business decides to advertise is going to depend on budget, target market, the industry they are in, and so many more factors. While it may appear that there are two distinct options (local, traditional offline media vs. online, global media), you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. GetintheLoop proves that you can have the best of both worlds. Local businesses can advertise online (and more importantly, on mobile) to a very definite local audience with the purpose of driving these people into their local business, thus keeping all of the advertising dollars in the local economy.

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