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.
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.
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
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.