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Marketing in the 21st century has changed rapidly. Since the invention of computers, televisions, email and social media - there has been a huge shift in how we consume media, as well as how we receive advertising.

Most people are likely to be familiar with the word “broadcasting”. We hear the term quite often when talking about media, content and commercials. For those who are more familiar and involved with the world of marketing - the word “narrowcasting” may ring a bell.

If you’re looking for a quick 101 about narrowcasting, you are in the right place. Let’s take a look :

The definition of narrowcasting

To put things simply, narrowcasting delivers a message to a more narrow audience, compared to a broader audience. By narrowcasting, you are able to deliver a more tailored message to people, and can often save a lot of time and money by doing so.

Think of narrowcasting as something that is more local too. Certain areas may have advertisements that have only really been created for a smaller audience to see.

Comparison to broadcasting

The main difference between broadcasting and narrowcasting is the intended reach of the audience. For instance, a broadcast may be something that is put out to millions of people, spanning multiple countries across the globe. This is the kind of thing those huge companies will tend to do (think Apple, Mercedes, Disney).

The “broad” in broadcasting can also be thought of as an overall broader message (to reach a broader amount of people). Oftentimes, the messages in broadcasting are going to be a lot more generalized and less tailored since the audience is going to be a lot wider than narrowcasting.

 

Why narrowcast?

 

Tailored approaches

As mentioned before, narrowcasting allows you to deliver a slightly more targeted and personalized message to a group of people. Again, think of somewhat local advertisements to be classed as narrowcasting. As an example, you may find yourself driving down a road in your neighborhood and come across some advertisements that talk about visiting a local store.

For those who watch television or use the radio, you can find that there are also similar advertisements that aim to get locals to check out or use their local businesses and services.

Cost

Narrowcasting is also well known for allowing you to save a lot of money. Obviously, this is because less has to be worried about since you are only trying to target a smaller range of people.

Broadcasting can be notoriously difficult and costly, and sometimes has a very bad return on investment. With narrowcasting, you are able to know and understand your audience better and tailor something towards them. Put simply, broadcasting can really be a hit or miss.

Formats

With narrowcasting, you also have the ability to be able to explore all sorts of different formats that broadcasting may not allow.

More examples and formats of narrowcasting.

A lot of narrowcasting examples can be very similar to broadcasting. A lot of the formats and examples below should be familiar to most people.

Television

Although watching live TV has started to die down in recent years, it is still quite effective in marketing. If you have ever ventured out to a more rural area and have turned the TV on - you may have found some local channels. You can often find ads that feature local shops and services.

This is ideal since if your store is only one of a kind and in a local area, then trying to attract people nearby really just makes sense. There are high chances people from a different suburb miles away aren’t going to pay any attention to your ad - so starting locally is best.

Radio

Very similar to television, radio narrowcasting can only be picked up in certain areas. Narrowcast radio ads are going to also try to get you to use a local business. Since narrowcasting focuses on smaller groups, it is best to study the group you are targeting. This is one hundred times easier than trying to study countless groups when doing broadcasting.

Social media

Most people use social media, as this is also one of the most modern and trending forms of advertising. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok are some of the most popular platforms that social media advertisers try to make use of.

People of the newer generation have slowly but surely started to drift away from Facebook, and apps like TikTok have started to really take off. In fact, a lot of other popular social media apps have tried to copy and imitate TikTok’s way of displaying content. Short, easy-edit videos with music are really all the rage at the moment. If you were to take your phone out right now and scroll through TikTok, you’d probably find some ads that are very well optimized for you.

Podcasts

Podcasts have arguably taken over the radio now. Think of podcasts as radio that can be streamed through the internet, with a lot more benefits. For starters, the radio can’t really be paused and rewinded. With podcasts, you are able to listen to them whenever and wherever you want. You will also find that podcasts are a lot easier to get started with if you’re a creator too.

Getting your own radio station set up can be a big hassle, but with apps like Spotify and Apple Music getting your own podcast show is no problem.

Throughout podcasts, it’s very common to hear forms of advertisement and sponsorships. This can be a dream if you are looking to narrowcast, so maybe the best thing to do is to pick a podcast that may already be focused on a specific audience or area.

Email

Quite possibly, one of the most overlooked tactics in marketing is email. Since pretty much everyone has an email address, it is not hard to get started with email marketing, in particular - narrowcast email marketing.

There are all sorts of different ways that you can come across people’s email addresses, and one of the best things about using email as a platform is the fact that you can have people sign up for newsletters. This is a great way to be able to keep people updated with news and anything else that you think will help keep them engaged.

Digital signage

Another modern way of doing some narrowcasting is by making use of digital signage. This is any sort of signage that is displayed digitally. With digital signage, you can easily display information in a much more interesting and intuitive way compared to traditional methods.

Digital signage is also a great way to attract customers to enter a brick-and-mortar store. By having attractive and appealing signage, you will see that a lot more foot traffic will be driven to your store. But in terms of your typical narrowcasting, you can see digital signage used in places like Times Square. Although Times Square has a lot of signage from big brands, you’ll also see that there will be some narrowcast digital signage that will attract audiences to specific areas just around New York.

You can try out digital signage today for free. Sign up today and get (forever free) digital signage, click here to get started.

Conclusion

With narrowcasting, you are able to explore the world of marketing and advertising through a much more optimized and somewhat empathetic approach. There are many benefits too, so as a recap, here are the benefits of narrowcasting:

  • Lower cost. Narrowcasting will more often than not cost significantly less than broadcasting since there is a lot less to worry about.
  • Tailored approach. Since narrowcasting is concerned only with specific groups and focuses on targeting particular audiences, you are able to spend more time studying and trying to understand your audience.
  • Wide range of formats. From podcasts to emails, television to social media - you will never run out of options when deciding how to narrowcast.

Let’s also take a look at a short and sweet summary of some of the most popular narrowcasting methods to help you decide what may be right for your audience:

  • Social media: Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram are very popular, especially with the younger generation. If you are trying to market a tech-related product that has a younger audience, then maybe give social media a go.

  • Television and radio: These are platforms that are understandably having a downwards trend in popularity. However, when done right, lots of people would be able to see your ads. Podcasting: On the other hand, podcasts have started to pick up massively over the years. Lots of podcasts tend to have a sponsor too.

  • Email: Email marketing is cheap and effective. People also have the option to sign up for a newsletter, increasing the chances of them coming back for more!

Hopefully, after reading this article, you are now more confident in the differences between broadcasting and narrowcasting, and why we may choose one over the other!

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