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The Impact of New Media on Old Media

If the first two decades are any indication, it’s safe to say that the 21st century will provide some massive changes to the media landscape. We’ve already seen some incredible shifts in media throughout the past few years, and with even more exciting possibilities on the horizon, it’s important for brands to be prepared.

Understanding the impact of new media on old media can go a long way towards forming your brand’s marketing plan. Read on to learn more about making the transition to digital marketing!

New Media vs. Old Media – Making the Transition to Digital Marketing

The age of the Internet has opened up countless new doors of marketing possibilities. The digital landscape provides advertisers with so many new ways to get in front of an audience, with recent data from Statista predicting that U.S. digital ad spending will rise to a whopping $297.4 billion in 2023.

Why has digital marketing and new media become so popular? Here are some of the pros and cons of both new media and old media.


Advantages of new media

New media is described as any media that can be produced and distributed by anyone with an Internet connection. Because of new media, people are able to communicate and interact with each other instantaneously and without the need for a “middle man” such as a publisher.

The lack of a middle man is one of the main reasons that new media is so popular. It was only a few years ago when only the elite and wealthy had access to channels that could send information out to the masses. Now, with the Internet and social media, anybody can get their message out there regardless of their wealth or social status. This gives every person, brand and business a chance to communicate with their audience and carve their niche into the world wide web.

Speaking of niches, that’s another major benefit to the age of new media — users and consumers are able to find a home online. The Internet provides an endless amount of subcultures where people can go to find their community — regardless of what that may be. Representation like this matters, and it leads to a more engaged and enthusiastic audience.

How do you read this audience? With the instantaneous feedback that new media provides you, it won’t be that hard. Whether it’s comments on a social media post, instant analytics tracking on a digital marketing campaign or even a full-on response from users, there’s no shortage of feedback with new media. This can be used to the marketer's advantage as they get a real-time look at how people are responding to their campaigns, meaning they can make adjustments on the fly and create a better experience for the audience. 


Advantages of old media

Although it is more antiquated than newer forms of media, old media (such as radio, television and newspapers) still have a broad reach. Despite its popularity, there are still people out there that aren’t actively using the Internet as often as others are, which is why old media is still a viable option for reaching those audiences.

While the lack of a middle man is a benefit for new media, the presence of this middle man can also benefit the older forms of media. These gatekeepers put information and content through a system of editors and producers in order to determine accuracy and validity. In theory, this will lead to more honest messaging and will hopefully build a trusting sense of community and cohesion.

Downfalls of new media

On the contrary, new media can sometimes struggle with building a trustworthy reputation. Since anybody can post without a publisher or company barring them access, it can lead to an influx of misinformation. When you pair that with the viral nature and instant sharing ability that new media provides, it’s easy to see how misinformation can spread so quickly.

This phenomenon has also led to ideological “bubbles” — niche markets allow us to only consume the media that we want to consume, which can create polarization and people reinforcing their own personal views rather than seeking out new information. This does provide an opportunity for a brand to create a loyal audience, but it also makes it tougher to convert a new audience member who may have preconceived notions about your brand.

It’s no walk in the park to build a brand online right now. The competition is fierce and the market is crowded with all sorts of new information, sources and brands for all sorts of niches. How can a brand combat this? By being fresh and coming up with a new idea that stands out amongst the crowd and gets people to notice you. (You can learn more about how to do that and take on “ad fatigue” by reading this blog post!)

Downfalls of old media

Compared to the instant feedback provided within new media, the feedback process for old media is a much slower, clunkier experience. Broadcasted or printed information has no way of receiving direct and immediate feedback, which means they aren’t able to pivot as quickly as can be done on new media. 

Old media also provides a barrier of entry to any small business, brand or person who is looking to get a message across. You have to go through a channel or publication in order to get your message out there, and if you don’t have the money or resources to make this happen, then you can’t get on the airwaves and spread your message, no matter how good it is.

Reasons like this are why people are starting to make the shift towards consuming and creating more new media than old media. The numbers for old media continue to go down, and this shift has forced traditional media companies to adapt and find new ways to reach an audience.

The importance of digital media

If these multi-billion dollar media companies are looking for ways to get their brand involved in new media, then odds are that your brand should be involved in digital media as well. It is estimated that there are 4.95 billion Internet users worldwide, and as that number continues to grow, so do the opportunities.

It’s important to incorporate digital media into your marketing plans because, to be quite frank, it isn’t going anywhere. More people are flooding to the Internet and finding new ways to use it to cover their daily needs, and if you can’t find a way to get involved, you may miss out.

While you do go to create your media budget, it is important to be realistic about what you can spend, while simultaneously setting clear goals so you can keep track of these your marketing initiatives are performing. Learn more about our opinion on how to split that budget for old and new media here.


Is online advertising effective?

Online advertising is a fairly new concept in the zeitgeist of marketing, which is why many brands and business owners are skeptical to try it out. However, once they realize the effectiveness of a well-created online advertising campaign, their doubts are quickly cast aside.

Whether you’re running a paid search campaign, a paid social campaign or just want to build up your brand organically online, you would be surprised by how many eyeballs you can get on your brand or business and what that new exposure can do for you. 

What makes online advertising most effective? As mentioned earlier, it’s the fact that you can test your campaigns as they happen, make adjustments and see new results come in. This allows you not only to make changes to your advertising campaign, but also to the way you market your product or service in general. Check out this blog post to learn more about social content testing and the role it plays in online advertising!

How does old media fit into the 21st century marketing mix?

Despite the massive popularity of new media, there’s still room for old media in your marketing plan. At times, new media can be handcuffed by the brevity of a digital user’s attention span — if you want to get a message across to somebody, you have to do it within seconds before they scroll on to the next thing. But, with old media, you have a bit more leverage with the viewer’s attention and can use this to put out a longer message.

As a marketer, you can use this to your advantage. Do you have a longer video that you want to put out for people to see? Maybe it would fare better as a television commercial rather than as an Instagram post. Has your design team put together a beautiful ad? Don’t just put it on Facebook — put it in a magazine. There are plenty of ways to incorporate old, traditional media into your marketing plan — it’s all about finding the right platform for each project.

Read more about budgeting for new media here!

Benefits of digital content testing with traditional media

The more testing that you can do with your advertising, the more insights you will get and the more your advertising will improve. While there aren’t as many direct ways to test your traditional media as there are for new media, you can still use the two to put together a better picture of how your message is being received.

There is plenty of information that can be learned from testing content online. The more content you put out there, the more you can learn about what your audience reacts to. Are there certain messaging strategies that your audience responds well to? You can start to use these insights into your full marketing plan and even incorporate it in your old media advertising. These online insights are a direct look into what your audience is reacting to — use it to your advantage.

Thanks to the impact of new media on old media, it’s clear that the new forms of media are here to stay, yet many people and businesses have trouble throwing their hats into the ring and participating in these newer media forms.

Thankfully, that’s where Cohley can help you out — we change the way that brands generate content and help them position themselves favorably in the digital landscape. Check out our different solutions to see how we can help your brand out, and schedule a consultation with us today!