By Rachel Hammond, RICS at Parliament Square

Advertising in general is used as a method of informing customers of your company or product and attracting new customers. This is achieved through the medium of eye-catching colour schemes, animation, pictures and informative text. Two of the most used forms of advertising are online and printed documents such as leaflets and flyers. Both have their strengths and weaknesses which are explored below.

With increasing numbers of people now using the internet every day, online advertising has increased dramatically within the last few years, and most notably between the years of 2007 and 2008, where online advertisement suppliers recognised an increase of 10.6% across the industry. In the same year, online advertising increased 4.7% in the market share, even when advertising on the whole was decreasing. It is now clear to see that online and digital advertising is an integral part of the advertising world. This can be due to a number of different factors:

Firstly, it is convenient and is very likely to make an impression on consumers as they have selected a time and place to browse the internet therefore allowing themselves to be susceptible to advertisement campaigns.

There is also a great variety of options when it comes to online advertising which cannot be achieved with printed advertising. Animation can be used, with links to other sites and changing images, this can result in a greater message being put across in a smaller space, whereas printed advertising only offers options in size, colour, shape and text.

The click through element to online advertising is especially advantageous. Not only for directing people to another site, possibly with more information, but also, for recording how many people have paid attention to the advertisement. By using aids such as Google Analytics it is possible to see who and how many people have arrived at your site by clicking through the advertisement.

Online advertising can also have its draw backs. It is all very well to have an excellent idea and promotion, however, it is possible that if a consumer sees an attractive promotion online, they may forget about it by the time they have finished browsing the internet. Even if the consumer does go to the effort of printing the advert out, this is time consuming and defeats the object of online advertising being more environmentally friendly. It is important for a company to know their target market, especially regarding the older generation, who on the whole are not as susceptible to online advertising. It is a generalisation to say that this generation is more likely to take ideas from newspapers and leaflets; this is a practice that has been established for over 150 years, where as online advertising has only become predominant within the last decade.

With the younger generation now becoming an electronic generation, it is sometimes not appreciated when a promotional leaflet is thrust into your hand whilst walking down the street. It is safe to say that many pedestrians find this annoying and flyers and leaflets can become an encumbrance. Furthermore, many people are likely to either throw the flyer in the bin, where it is not guaranteed to be recycled, or create litter on the floor. Due to this; many people are now more opposed to a printed advertisement as it is less environmentally friendly.

Nonetheless, printed advertisements do have their advantages. It can be done fairly cheaply. This is especially good for companies with a limited budget or for small organisations. It is also a tangible aid, people can come back to something they picked up earlier and it is less likely to be forgotten about. Printed advertising can also be noticed in more than one place, where as online advertising is confined to the computer. It is possible to be drawn in to adverts and promotions wherever you go, whether it be on public transport, billboards, building sides or printed publications, therefore printed adverts have an advantage over online advertising in this respect.

Concluding, it would not be possible to advertise using just one medium, this would greatly lessen a company’s range of consumers, therefore reducing the cost benefit of advertising. However, when different types of advertising are combined using cross media, it is likely that the company would gain the greatest benefit, not only by appealing to a larger audience but by playing to the strengths of different forms of advertising.