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Did Modern Advertising KILL Traditional Advertising?

May 6, 2021

Advertising has come a long way.

As media evolved through the ages, advertising followed suit.

From the days of newspaper ads, advertisers have thought of numerous creative ways to make their presence known.

But today, ads have found a new home online in places like Facebook and Instagram.

Out of home advertising

Image credit: Pixabay

As the biggest growing social network with over 2.7 billion active monthly users as of June 2020, Facebook has captured a humongous following globally.

Meanwhile, reports show that traditional mediums such as TV declined as much as $65 billion in ad revenue in 2019.

So, should we bid adieu to traditional advertising?

The Purpose of Advertising

Many people commonly believe that the purpose of advertising is only to increase sales.

However, this notion has been confused with the business objective of conversions.

The true purpose of advertising is to communicate.

Be it a new offer, reminder, new products or media updates, advertising’s purpose is mainly to communicate these changes to the public.

And sales are the outcome of a successful communication campaign!

The Scrolling Generation

Why has advertising changed over the years?

This was largely due to the change in media, from traditional sources such as Television to smaller screens such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.

Instead of being force fed content from large media companies, today’s generation of people prefer to be in control of their own media.

Each person has their own “sphere of influence” over their social media wall, whom they follow and what they share.

This phenomenon is what I call the effect of the “Scrolling Generation.”scrolling

Image credit: GIPHY

Unlike the generation before us who viewed content on the big screens like television, today’s generation spends most of their time on personal devices.

In fact, an increasing number of Singaporeans are connected to the internet via their phone over the past decade.

In addition, the average Singaporean spent about one-third of their time online in 2018!

Compare this with the average time Singaporeans watched the telly, which was less than a tenth of their day.

It should come without surprise that advertisers are moving towards digital marketing campaigns.

READ: 3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Run Digital Marketing Campaigns

How Traditional Advertising Differs From Modern Advertising

This infographic summarizes some of the key differences.

Tradidtional VS Modern Advertising Infographic


Modern Advertising takes advantage of digital channels which allows businesses to publish ads to the people who are most likely to purchase.

This means that unlike Traditional Advertising, you don’t need a huge sum of money to push your offers.

On the other hand, Traditional Advertising utilises mass media which can cost thousands for just one “out of home” ad.


Communication through traditional advertising is like shouting in a crowded street and hoping someone will stop and listen.

Image credit: Unsplash

Modern Advertising takes on a more dynamic role by letting people talk to the brand and respond in return through likes, comments and shares.

Sales Pitch

Traditional Advertising usually means pushing a standardized offer into a crowd.

Modern Advertising listens to their audience and comes up with personalized offers that best suit the customer’s needs.


A traditional advertiser aims to maximise exposure of a brand in the hope that it becomes the first brand in the industry that comes to mind.

A modern advertiser aims to build relationships with their audience and gain reputation and trust.


Traditional ads could only be placed in fixed pre-determined locations such as newspapers, TV commercials or billboards.

Modern ads, with the help of internet cookies can follow users from site to site, and dynamically display what is relevant to the user.

So, Did Modern Advertising Kill Traditional Advertising?

In today’s Scrolling Generation, people are moving away from TV and Print in favour of the Internet and Social Media.

However, the function of advertising is very much alive.

Rather than being killed off, advertising has morphed into a brand-new form.

Image credit: cheezburger.com

The challenge is to manage the blend of online and offline touchpoints to best suit your audience’s needs.

For instance, before you start an advertising campaign, you should consider what platforms your audience prefers to be on, and whether it is relevant to what you offer.

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