Pssst... Have you heard the news? Print is dead. If you really believe that I’ve got some old ENRON stock I’d like to sell you. Sure, many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because that’s what people do when something new and shiny comes along. When I got my first Rubik’s Cube for Christmas, I hardly ever played with my Slinky anymore, but that doesn’t mean the Slinky stopped working. It was still very much a dependable toy, yearning for someone to push it off the top stair.
And print is still a very dependable and necessary component of an ad campaign. In fact, there has been a bit of a resurgence in print advertising because advertisers recognize the fact that, in a crowded online market polluted with banner and display ads, print is a legitimate alternative for branding and engagement.
According to an article on Folio, there have been almost twice as many magazines launched in 2014 (45) as there were in 2013 (23). Indie publishers like Monocle, PORT, and the gentlewoman have gotten into the print game and Newsweek returned to print with a big launch at SXSW. Even large digital publishers like Pando and POLITICO are trying out print for the very first time.
So why this resurgence, and why are so many well-established digital publishers turning to print media for the first time? Because they understand print advertising offers some advantages over digital advertising.
Print is Tangible
As advanced as technology has become, human beings still have quirks; namely, we like to touch things. A print piece is tangible: a physical thing we can hold on to, flip the pages, dog ear an article we want to come back to. Magazines and newspapers are ‘things’ that stay in houses and offices for months and years while digital ads disappear into cyberspace. Also, it’s very difficult to swat a fly with a digital ad.
Print is Trusted
Let’s face it: the web is littered with pop-ups and banner ads. Add to this digital congestion people’s fear of spam and viruses and you understand why some are simply too weary to click on much of anything. There is no imminent threat in a print ad, unless it’s one of those horrible perfume samples that give me an instant headache. Magazines and newspapers are trusted and because of this, the ads found inside are trusted as well.
Print media offers highly targeted marketing possibilities. Placing ads in specialty magazines allows you to reach niche audiences while newspapers offer myriad segmentation capabilities.
Print Readers Have BIG Attention Spans
Think about how you normally surf the web: you’ve got five or six tabs open at once, you’re instant messaging one friend while checking out another’s vacation photos on his Facebook page, and the TV’s blaring in the background. Chances are you’re not very focused on or receptive to all the digital advertising you’re coming across. But when people read the newspaper or a magazine, they tend to be focused on what they are reading and only what they are reading.
Folio Magazine reported on a Ball State University study that illustrated when magazines are read by consumers, they are the exclusive medium 85% of the time, meaning, when someone reads a magazine, they are typically not multitasking.
Since a majority of businesses are relying solely on the Internet for their marketing, print publications offer less advertising competition so your ad will shine. And that same print ad may very well have cost you far less because everyone is spending big ad dollars online so print sales reps are more willing to work out deals with advertisers.
Frequency and Reach
Magazines and newspapers offer a longer lifespan than most other advertising media. They are generally kept for a longer period of time and are passed around between family members, friends and colleagues.
A Dedicated and Loyal Readership
Many advertising avenues are considered intrusions by consumers, but magazines and newspapers attract loyal readers who trust the source and welcome the information provided with open arms and eyes.
“Influentials” are Influenced by Print
According to an MRI Survey of the American Consumer, so-called “influentials,” those who have the power to sway other consumers, are influenced by print, with 61% reporting being influenced by magazines and 53% being influenced by newspapers.
As you can see, print definitely has some advantages over its little brother digital. This isn’t to say digital shouldn’t be a part of your overall marketing strategy. No matter what the mix, print and digital can effectively work together and create a marketing solution that drives online and offline sales. At the end of the day it all comes down to reach, frequency and engagement. Using print advertising to initially engage a prospect then backing up that engagement with digital solutions that enables further interaction will give far better return on investment than using print or digital communications alone.
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- How to Reach Your Target Audience through Newspaper Advertising
- How to Place Newspaper Ads like a Pro