Television vs Social Media: What’s the Best Ad Strategy for your Business

Let’s dive into the harsh reality; Television simply isn’t what it used to be. For years, the older generation has been repeating the same adage about only having three channels to watch back in the day when TV was in its infancy. Fast forward 60 years later and we now have access to thousands of channels. One would think this massive proliferation of content would mean TV advertising is the be all end all solution. However, this mass amount of content has inundated the consumer, turning networks into barren wastelands where your ad could potentially go to die. Despite the dire future ahead, TV is not dead yet, and putting your ad on the airwaves can still yield a return on investment. 

Regardless, there is now another option that may garner better results. Social media is the newest revolution in the way we communicate. It differs from TV in that the user is creating the content, has the power of interactivity, and can filter their feed to their liking. Television is controlled and static, whereas social media has the power to spread a message much farther and illicit more interaction with your potential customers. For one to see the actual effects of using different platforms to spread your ad, it would be helpful to create a hypothetical case study on two businesses’ advertising strategies. So let’s assume there are two car dealerships right across the street from each other. One dealership has decided to take a traditional advertising approach, and the other a digital one. Let’s see what happens– 

The Traditional Television Spot.

The first dealership has chosen television as their advertising medium. They hire a crew, shoot a TV spot, and after a few weeks of editing it’s on the airwaves. Their ad highlights special pricing for a holiday weekend. Once the ad is live, a few people stop in claiming to have seen the ad. Some browse while a few buy a new vehicle. All in all the dealership feels satisfied with that weekend’s boosted sales. However, as the next week approaches, the publicity from the ad begins the fade and few people are coming into the dealership. 

The Digital First Strategy. 

The car dealership across the street has hired an agency specializing in digital content. Similarly, they bring in a video production crew, shoot a spot, and release it on the internet. This is where the two approaches begin to vary. The ad placed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram links to the dealerships website. Many potential buyers see the ad and visit the website to learn more about their potential purchase. This drives traffic to the dealership’s website and also allows the consumer to learn and make decisions based on website information, rather than relying solely on a car salesman. A more informed consumer is much more likely to make a purchase and remain content with that purchase for a longer time. The next differentiating factor is repeatability. Whereas the budget for the first dealership only allowed their television ad to be aired 10 times a day, the same budget used on social media sites can allow an ad to be played 100 times a day. The key to successful advertising is constantly reminding the audience you’re in business. 

The internet also allows for different forms, lengths, and variations on the typical 30 second TV spot. For example, the dealership using digital advertising is able to upload specific ads for cars. If a person is searching for SUV’s, the digital dealership can display ads based on the users search history, thus showing them ads for SUV’s rather than compact cars, because the consumer is simply not interested in them. Additionally, the digital dealership can create long form videos highlighting each car. This can allow a salesman to do a video tour of the car and its features. The digital dealership also starts a YouTube channel, with testimonial videos of recent car buyers that elaborates on their purchasing decision and how they feel after having had the car. This will allow the audience to connect personally with the car buyer, and place themselves in their shoes. It answers the question: what could my life look like with this brand new car? 

The digital dealership has also curated its social platforms with daily listings of new cars on the lot, giving users a reason to follow the dealership on Instagram, and giving the dealership free advertising in the process. Even those not immediately looking for a new car could follow the dealership, and when it’s time to buy, the consumer instantly recognizes the digital dealership and makes a purchase. Zero advertising dollars go into this purchase, just a user connecting organically with a business. 

Final Thoughts

This comparison shows the striking difference between standard television advertising and a digital first strategy. The TV ad is static, in that it cannot be digitally shared, and only creates a short term boost in business. The digital first strategy has turned the second dealership into a social behemoth with a loyal audience that will eventually turn into customers. The digital strategy integrates advertising with real resources consumers can use to make a decision. The digital dealership simply makes the information available to its audience, shifting the dynamic and allowing its inventory to do the selling and not the car salesman. The real world success story for the digital first strategy is Tesla, who has the most buzzworthy car brand in the country, all based on digital marketing and word of mouth. 

So the next time your business decides to create a commercial, think about the delivery platform. Expand your imagination on what types of content you’re giving the customers and consider a digital first marketing strategy. The video producers at Jumpstart Video Productions are ready to help your brand make a splash on the web. 

Contact us today at or call 330.376.1676 to create your next advertisement.