Pros and Cons of Media Types

While not inclusive of all pros/cons, this table outlines general considerations of specific media types as we evaluate them against our target audiences, while optimizing for the budget.


Pros Cons Other Considerations
Local Broadcast/ Cable TV

Key Audience:


slight female skew

Medium with highest reach capabilities; can tap in to loyal viewership for frequency (appointment television/news)

Can be targeted by demo and/or contextual content (program selection)

Limited geographic targeting within cable systems

Local news can provide a sense of community, authority and quality audience

Strong, impactful, creative medium—combine sight, sound and motion for emotional impact and awareness-building

Generally, low CPM within overall schedules

Although TV generally has a lower CPM, the cost per unit/schedule can be quite costly

TV/Cable is highly fragmented and would require multiple markets and stations/systems to provide adequate coverage within target geography (again, increased costs)

Quality production is costly and does not have an unlimited shelf-life (consumer wear-out)

Difficult to measure consumer reaction/ awareness without costly focus groups (as opposed to instant measurement online)

Although people can avoid commercials, this can be countered through targeting attentive programming (appointment TV/local news)

Standard unit is a :30, but 1:20s, :60s, :15s and :10s have limited availability

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Key Audience:


Captures consumers who are actively looking for information

Strong targeting capabilities within geographic, contextual and behavioral lanes

Limited targeting by demographics

Pay only for results (pay-per-click)

Can adjust campaign focus by location/ device/time (day/hour) through adjusted bidding

Flexible campaign and tight budget controls with the ability to adjust budget and campaign on the fly.

Retargeting easily possible, to increase conversions and awareness

Drives consumers directly to the website (or appropriate landing page)

Minimal creative costs

Measurable; track traffic to your site and their activity on the webpage

Good performance within SEM will assist rankings within organic search

Limited creative space can constrain messaging

Competition (even regional/national) can increase cost-per-clicks

Keywords and ads need to be continually updated to maximize performance

Optimization of a campaign can take up 30-90 days (depending on activity of category/competition)

Landing page must be in linear agreement with keywords/ads for best performance

Campaigns need continuous stewardship for best performance and are often fluid in their performance (varies)

AcrobatAnt is a Google Partner with Google-certified experts
Online Display


Key Audience:


Strong targeting capabilities: demographic, geographic, behavioral and contextual

Extended geographic targeting: IP/ household targeting also available


Can also target by device usage (mobile/ desktop/tablet)

Fairly low CPM

Highly flexible and can be adjusted easily


Variety of creative options (banners, animated banners, rich media, video) provide numerous opportunities for impact

Retargeting easily possible, to increase conversions and awareness

Drives consumers directly to the website (or appropriate landing page)

Measurable. Track traffic to your site and their activity on the webpage

Performance can be troublesome—industry average hovers at 0.1% (click-through rate), but, typically, we would expect better


Placement on webpage must be carefully monitored (anything below the fold is strongly not recommended)


Digital network platforms must be carefully monitored to avoid inappropriate or controversial content inclusion.


Ads can have a quick wear-out depending on campaign levels and retargeting (consumers grow weary of seeing ads)


Costs of campaigns can vary widely depending on tactics involved (specific targeting, device usage, type and number of ads rotating)


Outlying/rural areas are harder to reach at adequate levels and may have decreased performance overall

Focus on mobile is critical to capturing A18-49 audience
Paid Social Channels Low hard costs compared to traditional marketing like print, television, outdoor, etc.

Quick, honest and detailed feedback from the customer.

Allows for deeper engagements with customers.

Similar to great brand marketing and customer service, the benefits of doing social media right can last for years.

Every customer and employee is a potential media outlet: social media is word-of-mouth on digital steroids.

In the past, companies that had the most money to spend on marketing often won; today, it’s the company that produces great products and experiences for their customers.

Social media takes time and effort. Many companies aren’t willing to do this, hence those companies that put forth the extra effort will stand out.

If you are a progressive company, you can use these tools to effectively recruit new talent.


Often, many benefits of social media are seen in the months to come rather than immediately. It shouldn’t be viewed like Google Ads, which offer a quick return. It should be viewed more like brand marketing and good customer service, which pays off in the future.

Tools can quickly change; one day it is MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, and Bebo; the next day it’s Facebook and Mixi.

There are many hidden soft costs: It takes time to develop relationships with customers. In the offline world, developing relationships takes time and effort—the same holds true within social media.

If the customer feels they haven’t been treated appropriately, they have powerful tools at their disposal (YouTube, Twitter, etc.) to express their side of the story and negatively impact a brand reputation.


Direct Mail Highly targeted

Highly informative—there is space to explain a message in detail

Trackable with tracking phone numbers and tracking URLs or pURLs

Costly, but less costly when Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) can be utilized

Largely unread, must have wow-factor to not go immediately to trash

Out of Home – Bulletins


Key Audience:


High reach potential (along major traffic routes)

Geographic targeting/ directional-locational targeting

Digital outdoor can be very impactful (bright, colorful)

Best creative is clever and gets the message across in few words (7 or less)

Generally extended campaigns (long contracts)

Message frequency against targeted traffic

Message available 24/7

Digital outdoor, while impactful, is generally costly, rotated with 6-7 other advertisers, has limited run-time within rotation (usually 6-8 seconds) and is primarily located only within major cities

Outdoor is highly fragmented when it comes to market coverage (one needs a lot of boards)

Weather can take a toll on creative (vinyl) and/or structure (digital outages)

Production (vinyls/posters) can be costly

While digital is flexible, other OOH elements are not

Good options in outlying/rural areas can be very challenging



Key Audience:


Skews based on format selection

Targeting by demographics/behavioral attributes through format selection (niche targeting)

High frequency medium

Cost per unit can be fairly inexpensive compared to TV/cable

Radio can create a sense of urgency and excitement (a need to know)

Great with impulse messaging

Great medium for promotion or station tie-ins (on-air chatter, endorsements, partnerships)

Creative can be far less costly to produce than video (TV/cable/OTT) and can often be tied directly into a promotion (station talent recording spot)

“Theatre of the mind”: creative can be powerful when the story is told effectively

Radio is a very passive medium and needs a bit extra to really capture the listener’s attention (listening while driving to work, white noise at work or at home as background), so promotion or station tie-ins are generally a good source

The standard radio spot is a :60, but while the stations like to push :30s, they often are 75-95% the cost of a :60. Not providing the cost benefit should be intrinsic to the length

Clutter within commercial pods can be extensive on radio (up to 3-4 minutes of ads per set), so this is why we generally seek promotion/station tie-ins

Radio is highly fragmented and requires multiple radio metros/ stations/formats to cover wide areas

Listeners often hop from station to station, so we must consider the station’s average quarter-hour strength and time-spent-listening for best performance

Reaching outlying/rural areas can be very difficult (outside Metros)

Market reach usually maxes out at 50-60%

Online Audio (Spotify, Pandora, Streaming Radio)


Key Audience:


Can target by both demographic and geographic channels

Awareness builder

Behavioral targeting can be found through qualitative data and listening habits

Highly flexible

Listeners can be more engaged than with local radio (often because their listening apparatus is using headphones/earbuds, so they are more “attached” to their music)

Similar reporting capabilities as other online properties

Audio message can be tied to a companion ad with click-through capabilities

Much smaller audiences than local radio

As with radio, music is often a background element, so more of a passive element

Click-through performance can be weak

Outside major cities, targeting may be difficult (getting decent audience numbers)

Depending on platform, minimum spend or contract length may be required

Over the top


Key Audience:


Reaches “cord cutters” – those TV viewers that you can’t reach on traditional TV (younger audience, millennials)


Engaged viewers (ads are often not skippable)


Use of OTT with traditional TV can provide an overall message lift within the full campaign


Very good awareness builder

Same creative benefits as traditional TV (impactful – sight & sound)


Targeting options same as other online platforms (demographic, geographic, behavioral, contextual)


Reporting similar to other online opportunities

Even though OTT has all the hype right now, it only accounts for 10-15% of primetime viewers, and a percentage of those (about half) can also be captured in traditional TV and within other dayparts


CPM are higher than traditional TV or other online platforms (but still affordable)


Campaigns have very low to non-existent click-throughs (most viewers do not want to leave their program to click through) and must focus more on awareness building


In outlying/rural areas, decent audience levels can occasionally be hard to find


Depending on network or platform, minimum spend may be required


Careful stewardship must be made to avoid controversial/ inappropriate programming (when running on rotators/orbits or ROS and not program-specific)

OTT is best used as a companion/addendum to traditional TV, as a filler to capture those viewers who watch TV on their own time


Key Audience:


Male skew

Great reach within its audience (older/educated adults)

High community appeal


Sense of immediacy, authenticity, reliability

Immediate distribution/ readership


Local market/zone flexibility in most major markets


Zip code targeting for free-standing inserts (FSIs)


Ads are tangible and can have extended shelf life


Reaches older audiences/ professionals/well-educated/high incomes


Alternative units to the display ad (poly bags/ post-its/FSIs)


Ads can carry more information/education

Potential for relevant content (editorial/special sections)


Great way to target small communities through their local paper (community feel-good)

Younger audiences are lost with newspaper; they just don’t use newsprint


Unit cost for large papers can be costly


Very fragmented (many papers required for a large market area)


Readership-to-population is generally low, even in major cities

Ad clutter and being “stacked upon” can be an issue (especially with smaller ads)


Costs can have little to no negotiability (rates are the rates)


Printing can often be unreliable, especially in smaller markets


Lack of ability to effectively track performance with consumers





Key Audience:

A25+ (niche can further define demo)

Choice of broad or selective reach, depending on magazine’s audience/niche

Highly targeted based on demo; contextual based on magazine niche

Creative flexibility

Limited geographic flexibility in larger publications

Potential for relevant content (editorial)

Ad can carry more information/education

Promotional opportunities

Long shelf life

Creative units (fold-outs, belly-bands, wraps, pull-outs, etc.)

Selective perception (non-intrusive; reader can just turn or skip the page)

Builds reach very slowly

Lack of immediacy

Long lead times for creative and space reservation

Unit costs can be quite high,

high CPMs

Lack of ability to effective track performance with consumers

Email Targeted reach


Adds frequency to existing targeted customers

Requires lead list; not good for expanding reach