Intern Blog: A Newcomer’s Perspective on Digital Advertising

In school, you hear the word advertising and are immediately exposed to the big ads that made it. Emotional, insightful, out-of-the-box stuff is presented to you in lecture, and you sit there (as a wide-eyed 19 year old) and decide that print ads and commercials are what you were born to create. You want to make people cry over baked beans. You want to make America NEED the newest detergent brand. You want to be able to use your own wit and intelligence to cleverly make something small into something big and send a message that lasts. That’s exactly what I want to do, and the closer I’m getting to graduation, the more I’m reaching out to people in the business to get my name out there and learn more.

Shocking discovery: professionals I speak to keep telling me the entire ad world is going digital. Yes, we learn about it in class. “Social media is an important way to connect with your potential consumers and start a conversation.” “Everybody is constantly online…it’s the best way to reach a wide audience.” I get it. But I had no idea that college grads were going to digital agencies just as often as they were going to traditional ones. I didn’t know that large, well-known agencies are creating completely separate, digital branches that focus only on that aspect of advertising and marketing. Every successful professional I spoke to went on and on about the importance of digital and that it’s the new thing to do.

This idea was obscure and confusing to me before I started to work at Good Monster. No giant billboards with my funny words on them? No innovative, 60-second spots on TV for the whole world to watch? What’s so great about digital anyway?

Then one day at my internship, I was asked to find and reach out to legitimate businesses to network with. I found myself categorizing businesses as “legitimate” by two standards: 1) what their website looked like and 2) what they had to say on Facebook/Twitter. It was then that I realized the impact that digital marketing has for brands. Digital marketing is comparable to traditional advertising because although the two go about it in different ways, each entity can form the same result: the creation of a brand image and a deeper trust for that brand. Any person well-exposed to the internet knows, within a matter of seconds, if a business “looks legit” from what their website is like within a matter of seconds. Although it’s not that hard to create good looking websites today, a lot of people aren’t taking the time to do it—and that that tells you a lot about their business right then and there. The same goes for social media: before it, businesses would give anything to have a free platform that let them connect with literally everyone in the world. Now, a lot of people who are equipped with this luxury aren’t taking advantage of it in a way that connects them with the public. This too, is a huge sign of what the brand is like on the inside.

With this new exposure to digital, I’m left with a better understanding of the advertising industry in general and with a more open mind for what’s to come.