Print vs Digital: 4 Reasons Why Print Advertising Still Works

Written by Don Potochny

“The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

Nobody knows when the famous phrase originated. You can link the axiom to Mark Twain, Alexander Hamilton, or a large number of other famous people. When it comes to print advertising, the quote has special relevance.

In 2014, 91 North American operated magazines closed, which represents a nearly 100% increase from the number of print publications that ceased operation during 2013.

This begs the question: Is print advertising dead?

While the answer might surprise most digital marketers, the power of print is undeniable.

Advertising investments have gone digital mostly because the Internet provides businesses with an affordable way to promote products and services. However, online marketing needs the complementary power of print advertising to seal the advertising deal.

Print vs Digital: Why You Should Use Print Advertising

1. Print Ads Convert More Customers

Believe it or not, print advertisements have a significant impact on converting prospects to customers. Nearly 80% of consumers act on direct printed mail advertisements compared to 45% of consumers that act on electronic advertisements.

A Penn State study confirmed the power of print advertising by testing the memories of participants that read print and electronic advertisements.

So, if you’re wondering whether print is right for your business, the bottom line is that printed ads have much more influence on our buying decisions than electronic advertisements.

2. Print Offers Strong Audience Demographic Targeting

Successful small businesses break down their loyal customer base by demographics. After learning the primary demographics of their customers, business operators target the demographic base by placing printed ads in publications bought by the target audience.

For example, dog lovers that want to purchase healthy food for their canine friends are more likely to find the right brand via a publication such as Dog Fancy than by receiving an email blast from an online marketing agency. 

People subscribe to magazines and read physical content in order to learn new skills or indulge in a personal passion. The advertising is all part of the experience.

And when used in conjunction with highly-targeted digital campaigns (and I’ll get to this in just a minute), you can increase the number of potential touches and touch points your customers have with your brand, thus increasing their likelihood to purchase.

3. Print Advertising is The Best Way to Build Trust

Most consumers understand the Internet is rife with fake advertising at best, and grossly misleading marketing campaigns at worst. Because of the dubious reputation of online ads, print advertisements remain the most trusted source of marketing information.

Print advertising is more trustworthy than digital

Image Source: Marketing Sherpa

Print advertisements never include pop-up screens that promote unseemly products and services. The straightforward printed method for promoting your products and services builds credibility, which is the first step towards establishing the trust required for customers to take action.

4. People Interact and Engage with Print Differently

There’s something to be said about the power of paper. According to a recent study, print ads activate different parts of the brain than digital ads, and viewing them “involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.”

Image Source:

In layman’s terms?

People have an easier time recalling ads that were experienced in the print format. On top of that, the study uncovered that people place a higher subconscious value on products and services that they’ve seen advertised in print.

Print Bolsters Electronic Advertising

We do not recommend choosing one advertising medium over another advertising medium. In fact, we believe print advertising makes online advertising much more effective.

Although online marketing costs less than getting the word out about your brand in print, digital marketing should represent one piece of your advertising puzzle. In many cases, online marketing sets the table for print advertising to close the deal.

Savvy business owners know that implementing both digital and print advertising campaigns produces higher customer conversion rates.

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