5 Advantages of Print Advertising

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print advertising

Print is not dead. In fact, there are numerous advantages to using print advertising, in addition to your online initiatives.

The conventional wisdom is that everything print is dead, but plenty of people didn’t get the memo.

Did you know that advertising campaigns combining printed direct mail collateral with internet advertising achieve up to a 25% higher response rate than an internet-only campaign? If your publication spans both print and web, you can draw on the strengths of both, using, for example, print advertising to drive traffic to your site’s custom job board or sponsored long-form web journalism.

Print has some characteristics that the web simply cannot match, and though print ad revenues are down, print may be in the process of recreating itself as a relevant, lucrative industry. Here are 5 advantages that print advertising has, even in the era of online everything.

SEE ALSO: Print is the New Vinyl? An Unlikely Audience Development Strategy for Newspaper Publishers

1. Print Has Gravitas

Sure, being interviewed for a major newspaper or magazine’s website is a big deal, but it’s an even bigger deal for that interview to appear in print. Print – whether promotional or editorial in nature – has a tangibility that the web doesn’t. On a more personal scale, marrying the solidity of print to the convenience of the web strengthens both media. A reader may clip out the print photo of her daughter hitting a homerun in a state tournament to frame or stick on the refrigerator, and then share the online version with all her social media contacts. Everyone benefits.

unplug quote

2. Influentials Are Swayed by Print

According to AS Advertising, the MRI Survey of the American Consumer found that so-called “influentials,” who sway other consumers, are influenced by print, with 61% reporting being influenced by magazines and 53% being influenced by newspapers. Magazine giant Condé Nast has found other encouraging numbers for print, specifically that fashion and beauty magazines now attract around 50% more young (18- to 24-year-old) readers than in 2001. Men’s magazines, particularly “lad mags” like Maxim and fitness publications like Men’s Health, have gained readership among 18- to 24-year-olds too.

3. Print Readers Are Focused

Aside from brewing a pot of coffee, not that much multitasking goes on during newspaper or magazine reading.

Aside from brewing a pot of coffee, not that much multitasking goes on during newspaper or magazine reading.

This only makes sense. If you’re browsing the web with six tabs open and the television on in the background, you may not be that receptive to all the advertising going on around you. But if you’re reading a newspaper or magazine, you’re generally focused on just that. Folio Magazine reports that a Ball State University study showed that when magazines are used by consumers, they are the primary or exclusive medium 85% of the time. In other words, most of the time someone is reading a magazine, they’re not multitasking.

4. Sometimes Unplugging Is Very Appealing

We’re creatures of our tech-saturated times, and that’s not going to change. However, people are starting to see the value of unplugging occasionally. New York Times bestselling author Baratunde Thurston unplugged for 25 days and chronicled his experience for Fast Company. Most people won’t unplug for that long, but people are seeing the value in occasionally untethering themselves from their devices and the web, and print is there to engage people during these times.

5. Print Offers Ad Buyers Flexibility and More Personal Attention

If you’re advertising a new electronic gadget in print, you can arrange to have your ad appear in a newspaper or magazine’s technology section. If your regional paper puts out targeted sections for certain cities or neighborhoods, you can advertise your new café in the appropriate one. Furthermore, with print, you can tailor the ad to your budget, with quarter-page, half-page, or full-page ads. And when you work with newspapers, you have a better chance of actually speaking with someone who divvies up the print real estate rather than leaving it up to an algorithm, so you can make your specific needs for ad placement known.

Bridging the Print-Web Gap

When print and web advertising pull in the same direction, the results can be extremely effective. The use of QR codes, “text to like” codes, and other interactive features in print advertisements opens up new feedback channels and helps bridge the print-web divide. You can add shortened social media page URLs or offer free downloads in print ads to encourage online follow-up as well. Encouraging advertisers to cross-pollinate between print and web helps them, and it helps you.

Revenue development in the online era can no longer be staked solely on advertising. But a smart advertising strategy that includes print and web advertising can be effective for advertisers and can ultimately assist other revenue streams, like sponsored content, subscriptions, and custom job boards.

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Photo Credits: Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net, Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net

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21 Thoughts on “5 Advantages of Print Advertising

  1. Pingback: Print Newspapers are Still the Pinnacle in Audience Engagement | New York Press Association

  2. Thank you, great read!! Sending this out to our sales staff if you don’t mind?

  3. Roger Reece on November 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm said:

    a breath of fresh air…you had me till you mentioned QR codes it is a feel good item for the sender…but they cause more issues than they help…we would run newspaper ads for a client with QR codes codes… we got more complaints because not many people use them and in the clients mind the whole ad wasn’t being seen…anytime you have to get you customers to download and ap you loose them

  4. Elizabeth Yale on November 19, 2014 at 8:50 am said:

    Have you ever checked out digital ads on digital magazines and newspapers ??? they are not only colorful and appealing, but they are interactive. Digital Magazines and books have advertisements that have embedded audio and video files. I read magazines digitally using the Free MAGZTER app and HWM Singapore – December 2012
    Page 41 had a Canon: Advertisement with video. It also had an interactivity where the colour of camera gets changed based on user selection. Digital Adverisements are no way lesser to print. Apps like Magzter have a 22 million user base. So the reach for the same is never a question to be thought about.

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  6. Mary, I appreciate your intent. Newspaper especially needs a rational apologetic (in the classic sense of the word). Yet, I come away from your post concluding print, especially newspaper, is a quant but weak alternative to digital.

    The gravitas argument is ephemeral in its subjectivity while the data-based arguments pull from direct mail, magazine and newspaper – all very different media. At least the Ball State University study on magazines suggests a strong link with newspaper because consumption behavior is so similar. Yet, even here the critical behavioral distinction of print could be simply words vs. images. As for the print being a nice way to “unplug” argument, do we really want to position newspapers as the “occasional” medium?

    Again, the intent here is a good one. What we need are arguments that keep the print media (newspaper, magazine and, perhaps, direct mail) at the forefront of advertiser-consumer connections.

  7. Bill Hoelzel on February 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm said:

    I don’t think the links are working for two of the studies you site:

    1. “advertising campaigns combining printed direct mail collateral with internet advertising achieve up to a 25% higher response rate than an internet-only campaign.” I can’t get the link to work.

    2. “According to AS Advertising, the MRI Survey of the American Consumer found that so-called “influentials,” who sway other consumers, are influenced by print.” I can’t get the link to work.

    Could you check those links so I can see them? Thanks!

  8. Neil Moore on February 25, 2015 at 6:50 pm said:

    Don, dismissing the “gravitas argument” because it is subjective is a bit condescending. Just because a medium or format is measurable, doesn’t necessarily make it more effective or more desirable.
    As one who has been in the newspaper industry many years, I am in agreement with Mary on this point. Having your story, for example, appear in print carries far more weight than when it is posted digitally. Each of our newspapers is also available online, and more often than not, when somebody being interviewed hears their story has appeared online but not in print, they are disappointed. The reverse is not true.
    And newspapers still work for advertisers – just scan your local automotive section to see how many new car dealers invest their dollars here. Yes, they also do digital, but fully understand that impressions, click-throughs, Facebook likes, etc. do not readily translate into cash in the till.
    Print provides a permanent, tangible record that carries with it the “gravitas” that comes with centuries of utility and significance. It shouldn’t be dismissed by a few digital keeners who put metrics above all else.

  9. Great information. If your print media is appealing to your end users, then you can definitely win your customers’ hearts. Print media has very big world and you can promote your business as you want. Print media, newspapers, magazine are really helpful for every industry.

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  13. Innothoughts on January 4, 2016 at 5:51 am said:

    Thanks for sharing great information.

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  16. Thanks for the article Mary! It coherently sums up the advantages of print advertising. Most advertisers are aware of these advantages but few decide to advertise on print medias. It could be because the media buying process for print ads is much more demanding than for online ads. My company developed a platform to link medias and advertisers at a global scale and simplify the print media buying process. Visit us on http://www.adintime.com and advertise where you need to.

  17. Pingback: Why Print Advertising is Uniquely Great | Stockpilz Blog

  18. I agree with you that there are a lot of benefits that come with custom business prints. Like you said, people want to disconnect from electronics and print helps them do that. It can be a good way to have your brand and company get out there and reach a more focused audience as long as you have had professional and appealing printing done.

  19. I didn’t know print had up to a 25% percent higher response rate than digital marketing. I guess print seems more real. I bet companies use a combination of both methods for their unique benefits.

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