What are the advantages & disadvantages of advertising online

Anyone operating a business or a personal brand today will know that advertising online is one of the major arms of the marketing process. If you are thinking about trying to improve your own marketing, whatever the underlying venture might be, there are many things you are going to have to consider. It’s good to be as armed as possible with as much knowledge as possible, so you can know whether you are doing the right thing or not. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the major advantages of advertising online, as well as a few disadvantages, so you can make your own mind up about it.

The advantages of digital marketing

First up, let’s take a look at some of the major advantages of advertising online.

More affordable

When you compare online advertising and offline advertising side by side, it is immediately clear that online advertising is distinctly more affordable than offline advertising. Given that it is also incredibly effective a lot of the time (see below) this really does seem like a win-win situation. The costing of online advertising is also generally more efficient and less wasteful. With something like PPC, you are only ever paying for each click, rather than paying an upfront lump sum regardless of results. It is therefore a better ROI, and easier to budget for.

Better results with retargeting

If you have ever looked even briefly into online advertising, you will no doubt have come across the concept of retargeting. This is where you automatically remind past visitors and customers of what products and services you have on offer. This is known to be an extremely effective way of bringing more customers in, and it’s not something you can easily do with many offline methods of advertising. In this way, you can make the most of each and every opportunity you get, which makes it much more efficient.

Effective targeting

Any marketer knows that targeting is one of the most essential things you can do in order to make your advertising more effective. With the online world, targeting is much easier than it has ever been before, and certainly a lot easier compared to offline advertising. Using social media networking and other resources, you can build up a near-perfect picture of your target demographic, and as a result you will be able to target your advertising much more profoundly and effectively towards the right people.

Great product & demographic testing

Testing is an invaluable part of the marketing process, as it helps you in making sure that the product is actually going to be as close to perfect as possible for your customers, and thereby ensures that as many people as possible will buy the products. Also, if you are thinking about trying out a new demographic, you will also need to test for that. The online advertising world makes this easier than ever, with positive and negative reviews collated effortlessly as part of this process. You will find that you are creating better products and finding the better demographics for those products in no time.

Effectively track your results

With offline and traditional marketing, it can often be something of a challenge to keep on top of what is happening with your advertising. You might find yourself wondering whether it is doing anything valuable at all, or whether you might need to change things around blindly. With online advertising, you can easily track and record all results from all campaigns, thereby giving you really essential information on whether or not your campaigns are working and where they might need improvement. This gives you a better chance of changing for the moment, and ensuring that your marketing is much more likely to actually work.

A 24/7 work time

Something that we all love about internet advertising is that it is 24/7. People are online all over the world at all times of day, so you can really think of the web as a constant marketing machine that is never turned off. Even with television advertising, you are unlikely to attract much attention in the middle of the night. But with the online world, everything you do is out there all the time, whenever someone might happen to log on. Plus, you will rarely have to pay more for advertising on a special day of the year or at peak times in the day.

A personalized campaign

The more personal you can make a campaign to the people who are going to be responding to it, the more likely it is that you can expect real success to come out of it. With online advertising, it is easier than ever before to personalise your campaigns, primarily because of the increased opportunity you have for data collection of your customers’ data. You can even use this to segment customers, so that you can set up various campaigns to approach different groups with. There has never been something approaching this in traditional advertising before.

Multiplicity of channels

That leads us on to the next great boon of online advertising, which is the ability to easily and seamlessly have a multiplicity of different marketing channels for different groups, demographics and so on. Diversification is always going to be an important part of this, so you can use a variety of strategies to reach people in the most effective possible way. You have so many funnels to choose from too, from email to social media, blog posting, videos, affiliate marketing and beyond.

Easily tweak your campaigns

You can’t escape the fact that something is going to have to be tweaked from time to time in any marketing campaign. But while you used to have to wait until the next round, with online advertising you can just tweak it whenever you need to, on the day. Whenever modifications need to happen, you can just make them happen at the click of a button. This means you waste less time and money, and produce much more effective marketing than you could have dreamed of in the pre-internet world.

Developing relationships

It’s always best to think of your advertising as a way of developing relationships with customers, not just putting material out there and hoping it sticks. With online advertising, this is easier than ever, as you can easily harvest their email address and set up a campaign to build that relationship.

Free traffic

If you know what you are doing, you can even get your hands on free traffic and sales from time to time. Using blogging, for instance, you can make use of the search engines’ functions to bring people back to your site again and again without having to pay anything. This is unlike anything that you could have done in the past.

The disadvantages

Now let’s take a look at a few of the disadvantages of online advertising.

Hard to comprehend

Many people find that much of this is hard to understand at first, and when you are first setting up an online campaign you might struggle with some of the terminology and so forth. There is always going to be something of a learning curve here, so you have to ensure that your staff and yourself have all the necessary learning tools to make it as easy as possible. Things change rapidly in the online advertising world, and you have to try and keep up.

Click fraud

One of the most common problems out there in the world of online advertising is something known as click fraud. Let’s say you have a pay-per-click campaign running on your site. You have to pay whenever someone clicks through. Your competitors could therefore run up a bill for you by clicking many times on those links – without actually converting into customers and sales. This is a devious form of fraud, and something to watch out for, but you can work around it if you know how.


It is easy to make mistakes in the world of online advertising, at least at first. Whether it’s choosing the wrong keyword, targeting in an ineffective way, or accidentally leaving a campaign running too long, these are all parts of the learning curve that many people will experience. Of course, that is true of many kinds of technological advancement, and as long as you keep your wits about you and train your staff well, you should be able to avoid the majority of mistakes. Nonetheless, you should be prepared to make at least a few mistakes in the early days while you get used to this way of doing things.

Final words

As you can see, the world of online advertising has a lot to it, and you need to be prepared before you get fully into it. But as you can tell from this list, there are many more advantages than disadvantages, and advertising your business online is definitely a very wise move to make.

If you would like some help with your online advertising, topclick is here to help. Get in touch today to find out more about our services.