Why Social Media Advertising is Better for Local Businesses than Print Advertising | Lodestar Digital Marketing

Why Social Media Advertising is Better for Local Businesses than Print Advertising

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It may seem a bold claim, but let’s look at why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising. You can reach your local audience, with greater targeting, and at a lower cost than you might expect.

Read on for the numbers!


Clients we work with generally come to us because of a combination three main reasons:

1. They don’t have the time to do their own marketing
2. They don’t have the experience and expertise to do their own marketing
3. They’re simply not interested in marketing

And that’s completely understandable for small, local businesses. If you’re a one-man-band or a company without a designated marketing team, then the chances of marketing falling high-up your priority list is slim.

Maybe you have your telephone number on your van and have always got by thanks to word-of-mouth. But what happens when that dries up? Is it not a much better idea to be in control of your own fate?

For those that are, often their whole marketing activity is often putting an advert in the local paper.

That seems sensible. A local business getting in front of local people. Great.

But actually, there are more effective methods you can employ. And here, we’re going to show you why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising.

(We alluded that this post was coming in our 6 key digital marketing stats post previously.)


It’s important to note, that we’re not trying to slam the local press here. Local publications do a great job and actually can offer great value to businesses looking to advertise.

For that reason, we’re going to keep the publication we’ve taken the information from nameless. But, we’ve taken the figures and costs they gave us and used them here (and rounded up in some cases). We’re happy to provide that evidence to anyone who wants to see it, but we won’t be making it widely available to the general public.

So, here’s the facts:

Local paper

• Circulation: 23,700
• Advert Cost (1 week): £180 + VAT (10cm x 3 columns)

That’s a fairly decent sized advert to give your business a chance of being spotted by anyone reading.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any guarantees as to which page that would feature on. But hey ho, you’re doing some marketing.

Now, we’re going to compare that to advertising on 3 of the main social media platforms going; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This’ll show exactly why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising.

We dived into each of their advertising platforms and set a budget of £180 for 7 days, just the same as the example of the paper above (minus the VAT charge).

We also wanted to use an example of who might use this advertising, so we acted as a Personal Trainer. They’d want to get local clients as they wouldn’t be able to travel nationally.

We applied a few filters so that they were within 25km of the location of the publication, and had interests that would apply to a typical client of a personal trainer (losing weight etc.).

Here’s the reach of our advert by each platform (remember, the paper offered 23,700):

• Facebook only: 26,000
• Instagram only: 28,000
• Facebook & Instagram: 29,000
• Twitter only: 13,000

So, Facebook and Instagram’s audiences are bigger than that of the paper. This straight away increases the chances of more people responding to it.

Crucially though, these are people with active interests in what we’re selling, personal training. The paper couldn’t offer that level of detail. So, our “interested audience” is greater than their “total audience”.

A pretty impressive start to why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising.

But what we also get with the social media ad platforms, is an idea of how many people are going to take action with that advert.

The example ad we ran was based on getting people to click to our website, where we might have more information or a specific offer.

This is something we simply can’t get with the print-based advert.

Yes, regular print advertisers may know that they tend to get X amount of business when they run an ad (most, by the way, do not!), but that’s of little use to a first-time advertiser for example.

Here’s how our platforms stacked up in terms of generating clicks:

• Facebook only: 20-75 clicks
• Instagram only: 15-70 clicks
• Facebook & Instagram: 30-180 clicks
• Twitter only: 350-575 clicks

Now if you’re a smart marketer, you should also know how your website performs in terms of how many visitors it takes to make a sale.

Armed with that information, you can very quickly get a view of your return on investment from your £180 ad spend. That’s great for planning and budgeting.

So, it’s without apology that we’ve shown why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising. That doesn’t mean that advertising in your local paper doesn’t have a place, and for companies with strong marketing budgets, spreading that spend is often the best approach.

But the figures don’t lie. You can get in front of more INTERESTED people on social media and you can get a better idea of what you can expect from your advert.

That’s why social media advertising is better for local businesses than print advertising.

(Figures accurate as of 26/05/2017. For more detail, please email team@lodestardigitalmarketing.co.uk)

We run social media advertising campaigns for our clients. For more details, click here or email us at team@lodestardigitalmarketing.co.uk.