What Percentage of Marketing Cost Should You Spend on Online Media?

There is a common misconception among marketers that the way to success is to focus 100% of their efforts on digital channels. While this may be true for a select few, the reality is that 95% of the success of a marketing campaign comes from offline channels. Why? Traditional media, such as radio and television, still command a large audience and are still necessary to reach the right customers at the right time. The following post by B2C marketing expert Kelsey Lucci, explains what percentage of marketing budget you should allocate to online vs. offline channels and how to calculate the ideal split for your business.

What Is the Optimal Budget Percentage for Offline and Online Channels?

The ‘best practice’ for allocating a marketing budget is to evenly divide it between offline and online channels. This makes the most sense for businesses that want to see the most return on their investment. If your overall marketing budget is $500, you should allocate $250 to offline channels (radio, television, print) and $250 to online channels (websites, blogs, social media).

Why? Well, for starters, digital marketing channels enable you to target the right audience at the right time with the right message. Furthermore, these platforms have the potential to scale your reach globally. In 2020, over 74% of adults in the U.S. use the internet on a mobile device (Statista). That percentage is expected to increase to over 80% by next year (Statista). Lastly, the audiences on these platforms are more engaged than those on traditional media channels—they’re more likely to engage with your brand and content, and they’re also more likely to convert into paying customers or ‘hits’ on your website (Statista).

According to HubSpot Blogs research, consumers prefer to learn about new products and promotions via digital marketing channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads). In fact, over 80% of respondents said they use these platforms to learn about new products and promotions. While the ability to learn about new products and promotions is one of the main reasons respondents use these platforms, consumers also use them to keep up with the news and trends in their industry.

To put it simply, if your goal is to grow your business via marketing, you’ll need to allocate 50% of your budget to offline channels and 50% to online channels. This is because the internet can provide you with a gateway to a potentially worldwide audience, reaching people where they are, when they’re most likely to be interested in your product or service. In a lot of ways, this makes the internet the ‘Wild West’ of marketing—you have the ability to target the right audience, engage them, and convert them into paying customers or advocates.

How Do I Calculate the Optimal Budget Percentage For My Business?

A business owner, manager, or marketing consultant may ask the question ‘How much should I allocate to digital marketing?’ and immediately think about the percentage of the budget they should spend on online channels vs. traditional channels (like TV and radio). This is a commonly asked question because a lot of businesses have adopted a ‘digital first’ approach to marketing and see the internet as a place to promote and grow their business. If they’re already investing in digital marketing, it makes sense to increase their investment further by moving more of their spending to the internet.

There is no easy answer to this question. It depends on several factors:

The Overall Budget For My Business

This is the amount of money you have to spend on marketing, regardless of whether you want to spend it on online or offline channels. If you have a $100,000 budget, you should consider spending at least $50,000 on offline channels (print, radio, and television) and $50,000 on online channels (websites, blogs, and social media).

The Time You Have To Spend

If you’re new to digital marketing, you may wonder how much time you should spend on each channel. The answer is, it depends on your business goals. Do you want to expand your reach? Do you want to increase engagement with your audience? Do you want to generate sales?

Thought leaders in the industry, like HubSpot Blogs, generally recommend that you should allocate at least two weeks per month to each channel. For example, if you want to grow your business via brand awareness and you’ve never done any social media marketing, you may decide to hire a social media specialist to help you build a presence on the various platforms.

Other experts say that you should simply ‘set a timer’ for 15 minutes a day and try to keep your focus on one channel (Twitter, in this case) for the entire duration. You can also allocate more time to specific platforms, like Instagram, which some say is more effective than Twitter for getting traction as a business.

As a first-time business owner, manager, or marketing consultant, you may wonder how much time you should spend on each channel. To begin with, it’s a good idea to simply set a timer for 15 minutes a day and try to keep your focus on one channel (in this case, Twitter) for the entire duration. It also depends on your business goals. Do you want to expand your reach? Do you want to increase engagement with your audience? Do you want to generate sales?

The Type Of Content I Should Publish

While the above questions refer to how much time you should spend on each channel, the next question is about the content you should produce for each channel. Different platforms require different types of content. For example, if you want to create video content for YouTube, you may want to consider producing short content (such as 15-minute videos) for YouTube to stand out among the crowded video-sharing platform’s vast sea of content.

Similarly, if you’re looking to spread the word about your restaurant via a blog, you may want to consider creating a few high-quality photos of your food and putting them on a nice platter. You can use a free photo editing tool like Canva (available on both iOS and Android) to help you come up with some ideas for blog post content.

The above are just some of the many questions you might ask yourself when deciding how much money to allocate to digital marketing. Ultimately, the answer depends on your business goals and the resources you have available.