Social Media vs. Traditional Media – what’s the difference

Traditional media and social media are both very different forums. Most of us are well-acquainted with the terms, but the real question is: Do you know the difference between them?

Businesses today use both these media forms to establish a brand name. Previously, a simple TV could compel us to make a purchase. That is how influential traditional marketing was in the last era. However, with the onset of technology, we see how social medial marketing has taken over these traditional forums. But in reality, both these media types play a crucial role in determining your advertising narrative and making it more compelling.

So, before we start to compare both these media, let’s briefly describe what both of these are.

What is Social Media?

Social media is a vast platform that allows us to engage with people in different parts of the world. Social media establishes a two-way road for communication with your potential clients. That means you can take feedback from your customers through forums like social media apps, websites, and online applications.

What is Traditional Media?

Traditional media channels include TV, radio, newspapers, signage, billboards, banners, pamphlets, and more. Furthermore, it helps to establish your brand to the customers and other stakeholders. It is considered a one-way stream since the broadcaster or sender sends the information, and the receiver or viewer sees it.

Comparing Both the Media

While both traditional and social media have their downsides and advantages, integrating both for your business marketing needs proves to be extremely helpful. Traditional media like signage, banners, pamphlets, radio, television, and newspapers help you cultivate a local audience. It shows your brand’s integrity and dedication.

In contrast, social media helps you build a social networking circle. You can create and share information regularly and take feedback via social websites and applications. Examples of these applications include renowned social apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

Nature of Communication

Both these forums have different ways of communicating with the audience. Traditional media is a great way to broadcast information potential customers will see and take action. That means you only get one-way communication, and you get to decide what information to publish, telecast, or broadcast through these forums.

Social media allows both sides to interact actively and share thoughts and opinions. It takes engaging communication, which is great for establishing trust.


Traditional marketing products have little room for control. Once you get something published or printed on a pamphlet or signage, it goes out of your hands. You’ll have to redo it. Conversely, social media allows you to regulate and modify the information you want to share. You can also target the audience you want the message to go through.


Social media is all about engagement. Traditional media marketing helps you increase your reach. It helps to broadcast your information through signage, banners, billboards, and more. These traditional marketing modes serve as great contemporary modes of communication and broadcast your business goals and messages to a huge chunk of your audience.


If you’re planning to impact on a bigger scale, you should focus on traditional marketing. That is because traditional marketing displays your business notions to a broad audience even if they have no use for your service or product. Traditional marketing techniques also make a huge impact and stay in the minds of your target audience.

On the other hand, social media helps you boil down your target audience. They help target a small group of people. For instance, if you have a clothes business, you can tweak the social media algorithms and target people looking for new clothes online.


Cost varies depending on the extent of your marketing needs and the format you plan on using. But in general, social media costs lower than traditional media. You can post an ad for free, but with traditional marketing advertising, you’ll have to work around your design and others to post a paid advertisement.


The timeline for both these media is subjective. For instance, if you want to place an ad in a magazine, you’ll have to follow a proper protocol and wait for a specific schedule. Social media, on the other hand, offers more flexibility in terms of the timeline and posting schedule.


You’ll want to take these media side by side to succeed in your marketing adventures. However, traditional marketing always gives you the upper edge and showcases your core beliefs.

Advertising tactics like billboards, banners, and signage help you get the right reach. We at Signs NYC help you get on the right track for your marketing tactics.

Author’s Bio: Mark is a professional article writer with a specialty in writing marketing content. He works for a well-known Sign Company NYC. He aims to deliver his knowledge to people around the world with his expert knowledge in this industry.