What is the Difference Between Digital Advertising and Mass Advertising?

With the rapid consistent growth of digitization around the world, there was widespread concern that the coronavirus would temporarily halt the expansion of digital marketing. In reality, though, more than two-thirds of Facebook and Google ads were served by local businesses, and small local businesses used digital marketing and advertising for the first time to keep their businesses going during lockdown.

Due to the worldwide lockdown, companies that previously had nothing to do with digital advertising were suddenly required to make significant changes in order to adapt to the times.

What is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is an internet-based advertising, also referred to as online advertising or web advertising.

When conducting an internet search, you will frequently encounter advertisements, which are digital advertisements. Aside from web ads posted on the web, there are many other types of digital ads, such as those shown on social networking sites, email distribution services, and video distribution services.

Difference from Mass Media

Mass advertising refers to advertisements that are distributed via mass media. For instance, a television commercial is a form of advertising transmitted via television waves. Newspapers, magazines, and radio are also classified as mass advertising.

The big difference between digital advertising and mass advertising is whether it is posted on digital or non-digital media.

Internet and video distribution services are delivered using a digitized communication service called telecommunications. The target audience is interested users, who can choose whether or not to view the advertisement. Mass advertising, on the other hand, used to be aimed at non-digital media like TV and newspapers before telecommunications came along.

Since the target of mass advertising is not individuals but the masses, it can be said that it has a different feature from digital advertising in this respect as well.

What you Need to Know About Digital Advertising

Even if you target digital ads the same way you target mass ads, it will be difficult to achieve the desired response. This is because digital advertising is sent out based on the characteristics of the target audience, while mass advertising, as stated previously, is directed at the general public.

A Forbes survey found that about 64% of people are said to be inspired by online videos to make purchases, and 52% of purchase decisions can be traced back to Facebook. In this regard, the impact of digital advertising is so significant that businesses cannot ignore it.

People are flooding the internet, so businesses need to increase brand recognition, lead generation, and sales. Therefore, the utilization of digital advertising is crucial for businesses.

In addition, digital advertising is characterized by “individual targeting” rather than mass marketing. With this feature in mind, it’s important to set your advertising objective. If you want to sell a product that is not widely known, you can create an advertisement to increase brand recognition. If you want to increase sales, you need advertisements that appeal to various audiences.

Digital advertising is utilized in this manner to reach online-active users and increase profits. This is true not only in Japan but also abroad, and it can be said that it is a matter of common sense everywhere.

Here are some statistics you should know about digital advertising:

Why is Digital Advertising Effective?

You may believe that digital and non-digital advertising are identical from an advertising standpoint. However, digital advertising has a number of benefits over traditional advertising.

The first is that digital advertising effectiveness can be assessed. Utilizing Google Analytics and specialized analysis tools, digital advertising effectiveness is measured. It is possible to see both historical and current trends, such as the number of people who clicked on the digital ad, where they clicked, and how many people went from the ad to the landing page.

By assessing the advertisement’s efficacy, it becomes easier to identify areas for improvement in the advertisement and on the website. Digital advertising has also made it easier to compare different ads for the same product to find out which one works best.

Mass advertising incurs costs for advertising. It is not uncommon for a 15-second television commercial to cost tens or hundreds of millions of yen, production costs included. It can be claimed that the expense of mass advertising production for export exceeds expectations. Comparatively, digital advertising can be promoted at low expense.

Pay-per-click (PPC) systems (e.g., Google Ads) charge users when they click on an ad. In addition, it is possible to display advertisements in locations frequented by target users (such as search results screens), and it is possible to attract prospective consumers cost-effectively, which is not achievable with mass advertising.

Why Will Digital Advertising Become Important in the Future?

Digital communication advertising has the potential to be deemed more significant than mass advertising. Perhaps some believe that mass advertising is sufficient. However, the transition from non-digital to digital is undeniable.

In recent years, it has been pointed out that the viewership of events that many people pay attention to, such as the Super Bowl, the Oscar award ceremony, and the Olympics, continues to decline.

In 2020, the Oscars ceremony was aired, and there were 6.4 million fewer viewers than the previous year, a fall of 20%. The lowest number of viewers has ever been reported. Even if you air advertising on television, it is impossible to achieve the same effect as before because the number of viewers has reduced. This phenomenon is not exclusive to television broadcasting; it is occurring in the majority of so-called non-digital media, such as direct mail advertisements, newspapers, and magazines, throughout the world.

Many People are Moving from Non-digital to Digital

According to a Pew Research Institute survey conducted in 2019, 89% of individuals frequently use the internet. More than 66% of those over 65 use the internet. People spend more time on the internet as they get younger. It is estimated that young people in the US spend more than 50 hours a week online. The trend of consumers turning away from traditional media and toward the internet is anticipated to continue. We can presume that this trend is the same in Japan as it is in other countries.

Why Digital Media Succeeds

Forbes gives several reasons why digital media advertising is successful.

Low Advertising Costs

Although digital advertising spending is on the rise, it is still quite reasonable compared to mass advertising. The attractiveness of digital media is that you can control the display period of advertisements, implement various large and small campaigns, and measure the effects at a low cost.

Appeal can be Divided into Specific Users

For instance, it is feasible to categorize targets and then construct advertisements that are appropriate for each group. The ads that are found to be most pertinent to each group will be shown. Digital ad creation and placement already have a reputation for being challenging. However, producing and managing ads is simple once you get the hang of it. Although sometimes, such as when you want to boost your profitability, specialized knowledge is required, but you may still grow your company while getting professional help.

Highly Effective

This implies that even SMEs can produce the same results as big businesses. Media advertising does not require a lot of labor or expensive production costs, and you can create efficient marketing on a tight budget.

Fast Speed

The process of making an advertisement and uploading it moves swiftly, and since the impact can be assessed in real-time, it is feasible to understand the effect and make improvements without delay. Online users are more responsive. Finding an advertisement and completing the provided form can often only take a few minutes. One may argue that the shorter waiting times benefit both consumers and advertisers.


Due to its low cost and capacity to reach specific demographics, digital advertising is a fantastic method for marketing your company to international audiences online. It should be employed as an efficient marketing strategy by both small and medium-sized firms in a similar way to big corporations.

Why not take this opportunity to consider digital advertising for overseas markets?

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