Print advertising has maintained relevance for as long as the newspaper was invented, and continues to be as relevant and as viable a method for advertising copy in the modern day.
While much of advertising has made its way to the digital medium, print advertising is not only effective, it is sometimes better than online options, fills an irreplaceable niche, and is still evolving. Print advertising will always be a practical and powerful option to advertise yourself.
Why Print Advertising Will Always Work
Print advertising works. A Penn State study proves it: almost 80% of consumers act on direct printed mail advertisements. Compare that to electronic advertisements, which only 45% of consumers act upon. People remember print advertising far better than they do digital. Paper copy, of any kind, activates different parts of the brain that are responsible for emotional processing, which forges stronger emotional connections.
Think of it this way: would your grandparents be more touched if you sent them a handmade letter wishing them well, or an email? I know that my grandparents would probably remember the letter, and be far more moved by it. Much like how a letter sent back to your loved ones can never truly replace an email, digital advertising does not replace print.
Additionally, not everyone is online. While my grandparents do use Facebook to keep in touch with their beloved grandkids, a more effective way to target them would be print advertisements contained in their favorite magazines or in the relevant sections of the newspaper, rather than in a mass email they may not even see.
Print advertising serves an effective and irreplaceable niche that will always stay relevant. Print advertising continues to foster strong emotions unique to the medium of paper, and target demographics that are learning to ignore mass emails and indiscriminately-placed digital banner ads.
Why is Print Advertising Better Than Online?
Print holds powerful trust in the eyes of the modern consumer. Do you even look at the banner advertisements when you use the web? Most people install ad blockers just to avoid even having to glance at them. While only 25% of Americans trust online ads when making a purchase decision, 80% of Americans still trust ads in newspapers in magazines.
Why do people trust print advertisements over digital?
- Print publications often have long-established reputations. When the content of a publication is considered trustworthy, the advertisements are considered more trustworthy by association. An advertisement for a golf club in a sports magazine, for example, is trusted because the magazine can be trusted to be knowledgeable on the subject, and there is a default assumption that the advertisement was curated by the publication, and therefore, tacitly endorsed.
- Digital advertisements, conversely, are often associated with misleading or deceptive practices, which have eroded consumer trust. The skepticism present in online advertisements does not exist in printed advertising.
- Print allows for an easier and higher level of focus than digital. In several studies, those who read print could recall information more accurately than those who read the same information digitally.
Advantages and Disadvantages in Printed Advertising
While online advertising still has its place, print as a medium does some jobs better. Certain qualities found in printed communication are extremely helpful, and other qualities of printed communication can lead to difficulties down the road. Some qualities of printed communication can be both, like print’s inherent permanence.
Unlike digital, print communication cannot be lost or taken down because of server issues, which is a great help with good marketing copy, and a nightmare when attempting to rescind bad marketing copy. To illustrate the inherent benefits and disadvantages of print, I have included a handy comparison chart below:
- Printed advertising gives more time for your writers to think through what is written before the advertising copy is created.
- Printed advertising creates the perception of time and care.
- Printed advertising always exists. Unlike email, it does not go away when deleted.
- Consumers can still read your advertisements far past the date when the advertisement was made.
- Printed advertising is a physical good; in order to reach a large audience, lots of it has to be produced, which can be costly.
- Printed advertising is impossible to edit once published.
- Mistakes can’t be fixed once they’re released to the public.
Does Print Advertising Have a Future?
The future of print is looking bright. Concerns of current consumers, such as environmental sustainability, are being tackled in the present with new legislation and standard practices such as the recycling of paper and printer cartridges. New technologies are certain to improve the quality and cost of print, such as photonic printing and conductive inks. Conductive inks utilize nanoparticles that connect paper with digital elements.
It may be possible in the future to have a poster with touchscreen capabilities, able to change its content based on how the consumer directly interfaces with the product. As with all technology, while it is impossible to know exactly where it will lead next, this also means that there is the possibility of technology that has not been thought of yet being invented.
With the many leaps forwards in the digital medium creating a modern world that was inconceivable to those living as little as a few decades ago, it is entirely possible that new technologies will revolutionize the medium of print in a way that we cannot even imagine in the current day.