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Ads vs Influencer Marketing: Which One Works Best for Your Business?

Influencer Marketing | January 4, 2023 | 6 min

Today’s influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing comparison is going to put the modern marketing landscape into perspective. Is it better to stick to conventional advertising platforms than to explore unfamiliar opportunities? Or have Instagram influencers amassed more power than ads already? By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear picture of how one side positions in terms of the other.

Expect lots of side-by-side analysis between traditional ads on Facebook, Instagram, etc., and influencers’ sponsored content on blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other accounts. In the end, we’ll draw actionable conclusions that can help you streamline your marketing plans.

Both Ads and Influencers Share a Similar Mission

The first step in starting a comparison is to find common ground. Both ads and influencers owe their advertising domination to one thing and one thing only: online connectivity.

Both types of promotional content match brands to their right audience. Along this process, businesses earn better sales, higher brand awareness, and greater brand loyalty. The differences stand in the impact, materials, approach, and quality of connectivity. In our quest for comparing influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing, we’ll put all these aspects in balance.

1. A Means to an End – How Do They Reach Leads?

In traditional marketing, be it Facebook, Instagram, Google, or YouTube, marketers have to think about the entire strategy by themselves. Afterward, a whole suite of audience settings is controlling for which groups of users to activate those ads.

Still, this isn’t enough. Marketing specialists need to always stay updated to the ever-changing algorithms. Facebook is known across the web for its non-stop efforts put into the evolution of its social media platform.

For instance, since there are too many posts that compete to appear in news feeds, algorithms are choosing which kinds to prioritize. Lately, this meant greater exposure for friends and less display time for brands. Therefore, marketers have to deal with these reach fluctuations periodically and be on the watch 24/7.

man and woman meeting for the first time outdoors

Influencer marketing: Working with influencers will earn brands exposure to one community at a time. With each activated post, the brand becomes visible to the influencer’s audience organically.

Algorithms on most social platforms show a bias towards posts coming from accounts with high engagement rates. Consequently, your sponsored posts can stimulate amazing reach as long as the creators you’ve partnered with have a strong bond with their community.

On top of that, the group of followers that each content creator garners is extremely targeted. In other words, a single post will reach the right people each and every time.

2. Examining Results – Analytics 

Traditional marketing: All platforms offering social media advertising solutions enjoy the advantage of longevity. As traditional ad platforms enjoy exponential growth, webmasters had time to perfect their integral analytics tools for publishers.

Therefore, marketers can assess traditional campaign performance in seconds. It’s easy to set up a digital campaign, and it’s easy to scale it. In this respect, the influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing battle is clearly tipping the scales in favor of the latter.

Influencer marketing: Based on case studies, influencer campaigns generate 11x greater ROI than any other digital advertising channel. However, the challenge is to measure each ripple individually and on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, there are already third-party tools that help companies monitor their accounts. Flaminjoy, for instance, reveals numbers brands didn’t know they had. Engagement rate, hottest assets, audience quality score, growth, audience interests, and other key metrics show exactly how great brands are perceived on social media.

3. Ephemeral or Evergreen – How Long-Lasting Are Ads and Promoted Content?

Traditional marketing: Things are quite clear for this chapter. Ads persist as long as the budget allows. When a campaign reaches the bottom of the pocket, they stop running and all performance is discontinued.

Influencer marketing: Once the promoted post is live, it will never go down again. At this stage in our influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing comparison, things are straightforward.

In order to preserve their content quality, creators will post original content even when they are in collaboration with brands. This way, the company’s official website will enjoy authentic PR momentum and quality backlinks.

This is a great win for SEO strategies. The more trusted links talk about a page, the better Google will position it in its ranking. The number of blogs and websites that mention a brand dictates how trustworthy that link is. This is a type of native advertising that indulges both users and publishers.

4. Trust Metrics – How Do Consumers Feel about Influencer Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing: No matter how convenient digital marketing channels have come to be for marketers, it is consumers who have the last word. Their interactions with ads have become weaker and weaker to the point where this phenomenon received a name of its own: ad blindness.

Banners and ads are notorious for their intrusive nature that disrupts the experience aimed at online. In 2013, Infolinks released a proprietary study in regard to banner blindness and discovered that users tend to ignore around 86% of ads. This shows consumers started doubting advertisement credibility.

Influencer marketing: Unlike its digital father, promoted posts on Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and Facebook are all part of the system. Their nature adheres to the same rules as any other post. Influencer campaigns are organic, appear on users’ feeds naturally, and resemble a recommendation more than a promotion.

All things considered, influencers’ posts forge trust with customers. Indirectly, brands enjoy valuable endorsements that cannot be replicated with standard ads. As a result, consumers trust influencers more than ads.

5. Competition Is Lurking Behind – Is There a Race for Ads and Influencers?

Traditional marketing: Digital advertising is competing more and more for attention. With the rise of content overload and decreased attention span, publishers have to take their ad efficiency to 100%. There is overwhelming pressure for marketers to create outstanding campaigns every single time.

Influencer marketing: Whenever brands allow influencers to come up with their own promotional concept, ad fatigue is next to zero. Account owners are the only ones who know how to interact with their audience. Their expertise and artistic vision which their public has already acclaimed imbue a sponsored post with authenticity and distinctiveness.

Therefore, a company has the rare opportunity to book its own spot in the middle of a large target community. Not only that, but their shiny moment is memorable and boosts brand awareness.

6. Measuring Results – How Much of Generated Impact Can Publishers See?

financial team at an office desk with statistics, laptop, plants, coffee

Traditional marketing: Businesses can keep their eyes on the performance of their ads quite easily. They have two major tracking tools at their disposal that happen to also be free of charge: Google Analytics and their social dashboards (Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads, etc.).

Having these two by their side, anybody can measure brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, views, lead generation, conversions, website sessions, bounce rates, and more. These two are exhaustive solutions that can trace down any results your ads generate.

Influencer marketing: Unlike its traditional counterpart, this industry doesn’t provide a clear image of how collaborations with influencers perform. Businesses achieve organic results only when working with influencers, but these can’t be tracked that easily.

The trouble is that there is no standalone analytics platform that can manage influencer marketing results. As such, marketers are forced to track down numbers for KPIs and manually insert them in their reports. Likes, comments, reach, impressions, audience quality, and other metrics are all puzzle pieces scattered all over social platforms.

However, such an untamed environment makes way for third-party solutions. Use Flaminjoy Measurement & Reporting to receive monthly reports which measure the true extent of your projects with influencers.

Key Takeaways

What can we learn from our influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing comparison? Influencers are the new celebrities that can generate authentic content and harness high levels of trust from their audiences. Their way of promoting products is organic, non-intrusive, and even entertaining. These are all precious benefits in today’s overcrowded market.

In contrast, digital ads are highly efficient in targeting every move they generate. Click-through rates, ROI, revenue, number of sales – everything is monitored in real-time. Businesses learn quickly how their marketing efforts perform. Plus, digital advertising can reach new audiences where influencers don’t have access.


Our influencer marketing vs. traditional marketing comparison throws light on a distinct marketing shift. As consumers make it clear that they wish to identify more with their favorite brands, advertising is embracing credibility and authenticity. Having trusted influencers on your side helps in this direction.

Nonetheless, business numbers show that traditional marketing is far from meeting an end. Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads show that they can generate a strong ROI to keep companies thriving. 

Influencer marketing is adding a whole new dimension to advertising strategies making them more humane and therefore easier for consumers to connect with. Those brands that are not yet collaborating with content creators are missing a great opportunity.

All in all, the best practice calls for a mix of digital ads and influencers. Each of them comes with a host of unique benefits and together they make up for each other’s shortcomings. One thing is for sure; a unilateral marketing strategy is no longer enough. Want to explore more? Let’s chat and see what’s the best mix for you.

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