Pros & 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. Since the media landscape changes quickly, note that the following was updated in Fall 2020. 

Pros Cons
  • Television is the premier medium, with the largest reach capabilities. At the local level, television can provide sponsorship opportunities for advertisers looking to reach loyal viewers. Television advertising is the most impactful medium because of its ability to deliver a message visually and audibly while making an emotional impact.
  • Great for creating brand awareness.
  • No or low cost for viewing.
  • The only medium that provides live sports and award show coverage at no viewing cost.
  • Premium programming offered: live major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), award shows (Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards), Olympics, political debates.
  • Commercial lengths—:15 and :30 are industry-standard lengths. :60 spots are available, but on a limited basis
  • Reach is across the entire DMA, making it inefficient for advertisers who wish to only target a smaller area of the DMA.
  • Targeting is broad on a geographic and demographic level. Demographic targeting is based on age cells.
  • Viewers opt to skip ads, if possible—84% of those surveyed viewed admitted that they want to fast-forward through TV ads, and 60% would try to find and download TV shows to avoid advertisements. Source
  • Cannot quantify the campaign impact for advertisers. Programming is purchased based on estimated ratings and is measured against the actual ratings that program delivers. However, high ratings only mean a commercial was seen. (Note: Some stations now offer tools to measure website traffic lift directly against television schedules. While not a direct attribution, a correlation can be identified.)
Pros Cons
  • Less expensive alternative to broadcast television. Prices per spot are more affordable than broadcast TV.
  • A smaller geographical area can be targeted, versus wasting reach on an entire DMA.
  • Great for clients who want the visual impact of television but have limited locations and budgets.
  • More live sports options than broadcast television.
  • More programming options for targeting your audience.
  • Cable viewers tend to have higher disposable household incomes.
  • Cable penetration varies by market.
  • Around 27% of US HHs no longer have cable or broadcast connections.
  • Smaller audiences and lower ratings than broadcast television.
  • No local programming; only broadcast television carries local news.
  • Smaller audiences and segmented channels require a higher number of spots to be purchased to reach viewers and achieve adequate frequency.
  • Ability to target specific demographics and market segments with stations and formats.
  • Great for reach, frequency, and exposing the listener to the message enough times to build awareness. Radio reaches around 90 percent of adults on a weekly basis. Source
  • Audio is more effectively stored in memory and is great for appealing to emotions.
  • Shorter timeline to launch campaign. It does not take as long to negotiate a radio schedule, and getting creative ready takes less time and expense.
  • Widespread access for listener consumption; can be consumed in a variety of locations and with a variety of devices.
  • Passive medium—requires good frequency for the message to be recalled.
  • Cluttered medium—:60 commercials used to be the norm, then :30s. Now more :15s are put into the same commercial pod, creating an overwhelming amount of messaging.
  • Due to fragmentation, more than one radio station is needed to reach the audience adequately. This can become expensive.
  • Signal strength can be an issue when trying to reach rural areas. Often the signal is weak and inconsistent in outlying areas.
  • Wasted reach if you are trying to target a smaller area within the DMA.
  • Proactive audience. Readers are actively searching for sales and coupons.
  • Great medium for reaching older, educated audience.
  • Zip-code targeting for freestanding inserts (FSIs).
  • Trusted medium for news that creates a loyal audience and consistent consumption. Readership does not fluctuate.
  • People trust newspapers as a source. In a 2017 survey, 4 out of 5 Americans indicated that they trust newspapers when making a purchase decision. Source
  • Ability to effectively target smaller communities and rural areas.Different ad sizes are available.
  • Ineffective in reaching a younger audience.
  • Clutter can be an issue, making the message less impactful.
  • Very limited ability to target your audience.
  • Limited and declining readership. Due to the emergence of digital readership, more consumers are opting out of their newspaper subscriptions and consuming the content online. U.S. newspaper circulation fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 1940. Source
  • Strong message impact—full-page, colorful ads can be very impactful for your brand, which can translate into action. 62% of readers take action after seeing a print magazine advertisement. Source
  • Interested audience. Audiences are already interested in the magazine genre, so it makes targeting the interested audience easier. 94% of American under the age of 25 still read print magazines. Source
  • Longer term/repeated exposure due to magazines being kept around for longer periods of time.
  • Ability to target based on gender, HH income and education.
  • Cost-prohibitive for some advertisers. National magazines can cost several thousand dollars for a single placement and local/regional magazines also charge a premium due to shelf life.
  • Long lead times. Due to long lead times with publishers, ad creative cannot be changed or placed at the last minute. Some national publishers have 6–10 weeks’ lead time.
  • As with newspaper, declining subscriptions continue to be an issue.
  • Difficult to target a younger audience. Adults 35+ is a more viable target audience when utilizing print.
  • Advertising clutter. Magazines are packed full of ads of all different sizes. This diminishes your ad’s opportunity to stand out.
  • Placement along freeways and intersections allows for high reach and visibility.
  • Large reach; targets a mass audience. Specifically, one Arbitron National In-Car Study revealed that 71% of Americans consciously look at billboard messages while driving. Source
  • Great for building brand awareness.
  • Static boards offer an “always on” message, so every passerby is an impression.
  • Digital billboards offer the flexibility to change messaging frequently. According to a Nielsen survey on the power of digital outdoor, 82% recalled advertising on digital boards and 71% felt that digital billboards stood out more than online ads. Source
  • Large visual that can be very impactful.
  • Longevity of creative.
  • Great for rural areas.
  • Longer-term commitment. Cannot be used for short campaigns (two weeks) unless they are digital boards.
  • No targeting capabilities; only a mass, undefined audience.
  • Digital boards are only up for a few seconds before rotating to another advertiser.
  • Expensive vinyl board production and install costs make creative changes inefficient.
  • Clutter with other boards can reduce your message’s impact.
  • Long-standing boards can become worn and faded due to weathering.
  • Ability to hyper-local target your audience. A defined radius can be used to target a specific location and reduce wasted reach. The reach of online audio is growing. As of 2018, 57% of the U.S. population listened to online radio on a monthly basis. Source
  • Measurable with ad tracking.
  • Well-educated, affluent audience.
  • Ability to hyper-target your audience using geographical, demographic, contextual and behavioral targeting.
  • No clutter. Ads are served one at a time and are non-skippable.
  • Ads can be optimized for better performance.
  • Can be deployed as audio ads or companion ads (audio with static companion banner ad).
  • Scalable impressions allow for flexible spending.
  • Frequency capping is available so there is no “frequency fatigue” for the listener.
  • Scale can be an issue depending on the targeting criteria. This can be an issue when you are trying to geographically target an area that is not densely populated.
  • Less effective for reaching lower-income users.
  • Limited data compared to other digital media.
  • Geo-targeting. Ability to target down to the zip code, which is highly beneficial for small or single-location businesses.
  • Audience targeting. Ability to hyper-target your audience going beyond demo and geo. Advertisers can target based on demo, geo and behavioral.
  • Great for reaching a younger audience.
  • Ability to A/B test creative and optimize the higher-performing ad.
  • Ads are non-skippable, so your audience is more engaged.
  • The ability to capture data and insights is the hallmark of digital advertising. These insights can show advertisers who saw their ad and how they responded.
  • Ability to be consumed content on a TV, desktop, tablet or mobile device. This extends reach, as you can capture the viewers beyond the living room. 80% of U.S. homes have at least one internet-connected TV device. Source An estimated two million Americans cut the cord in 2019. Source
  • Frequency capping. Ability to control how many times someone sees the same message.
  • Impressions are scalable, providing budget flexibility.
  • Scale can be limited if you are targeting too small of a geographical location or the targeted location is sparsely populated.
  • Difficult to reach a lower-income audience.
  • Longer flights are needed to maximize the success of the campaign. Four weeks is the absolute minimum recommended, but best practices are six weeks and longer.
  • Expensive when trying to cover a large geographical area or many locations that are not close to each other.
  • Longer-format medium that allows space for education, explanation and context for more complicated sales messages or longer sales-cycle communication needs.
  • Variety of targeting options: age, gender, lifestyle, demographics, psychographics and geography. In-market audiences and specific affinity groups can also be targeted.
  • High engagement, as the emails are targeted to consumers who have already expressed an interest in the advertiser’s products or services.
  • Data and analytics allow advertisers to really get to know their audience.
  • Drives site traffic and can funnel email clicks to specific points in the sales funnel via landing pages.
  • Great conversion rates compared to many other media channels. For example, email is 40% better at converting users compared to Facebook and Twitter. Source
  • Emails can be shared, which can extend the reach.
  • Consumers often check emails. The average person checks his inbox about 20 times a day. Source
  • Unopened mail. Email inboxes can be flooded with emails, increasing the risk of your email not being opened.
  • Content must be updated/refreshed often. Email fatigue occurs quickly and the same message cannot be used multiple times.
  • Unsubscribing is easy for the audience.
  • Captures consumers who are actively looking for information. 81% of internet users aged 16 to 64 reported searching online for a product or service in the last 30 days. Source
  • Decreased need for hyper-targeting since users are self-qualifying by initiating a search and saying exactly what they are looking for.
  • Pay only for results (pay-per-click).
  • Can adjust campaign focus by location/ device/time (day/hour) through adjusted bidding.
  • Ability to adjust budget and campaign on the fly.
  • Drives consumers directly to the website (or appropriate landing page).
  • Measurable. Track traffic to your site, activity on the webpage and even visits to the store/your location. 50% of “near me” Google searches via mobile device result in a store visit. Source
  • Good performance within SEM campaigns will help support improved rankings within organic search.
  • Note: Google still dominates search engine use. At the beginning of 2020, Google had an average net market share of 70.38%. Source
  • 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.
  • Initial optimization of a campaign can take 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).
  • Strong targeting capabilities: demographic, geographic, behavioral and contextual.
  • Precise targeting available down to IP/household level or based on foot attribution (locations the audience has visited in the past).
  • Can target by device usage: mobile, desktop or tablet.
  • Fairly low cost-per-thousand, but varies based on depth of targeting used.
  • Highly flexible and can be adjusted easily and quickly based on changes and trends.
  • Multiple creative options (banners, animated banners, rich media, video) provide numerous opportunities for impact.
  • Retargeting ad clicks as well as landing-page views 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 we typically achieve higher-than-average results.
  • Placement on webpage must be carefully monitored.
  • 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.
  • Relatively short time frame to convey a message. Digital display ads have less than three seconds to convey the ad’s message. Source
  • Low media cost compared to traditional marketing like print, television, outdoor, etc. (probably why 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness). Source
  • One of the quickest ways to reach an audience with news or other information, and receive honest and detailed feedback from the customer.
  • Allows for deeper engagements with customers.
  • Like 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 with the most money to spend on marketing often won; today, it’s the company that produces great products and experiences for its customers.
  • Companies of any size can leverage social media to effectively recruit new talent.
  • Depending on the industry, some social media benefits are not seen immediately. In some cases, it should be viewed more like brand awareness and good customer service, which pays off down the road.
  • Platforms and features can quickly change—one day it is MySpace Top 8, Tumblr reblogs and the Facebook like button, and the next day it’s tweets with 280-character limits, the TikTok For You Page and Instagram Reels.
  • Many hidden soft costs. In both the offline world and within social media, developing relationships with customers takes time and effort.
  • If customers feel 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.


AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120