Newspapers, magazines, brochures, direct mail. These media tactics – all of which fall under the advertising channel of print media – seem to have an outdated and irrelevant feel in today’s digital world, right? Wrong. Why is it important to consider including print when developing a media strategy or recommendation? The answer depends on several variables, but it’s important to understand why this media tactic remains relevant and, when executed strategically, is a key component to an advertising campaign.

Here are a few key reasons why considering print media is crucial and how to strategically and effectively utilize print as a tactic for advertising.

Physical ads vs digital ads and their impact on a consumer

  • The tactile, tangibility that comes with the print experience can hold more value than that of a digital ad experience for some audiences. The fact that a consumer is physically interacting with a print publication allows for more attentiveness to the messaging being conveyed – particularly with the ads in a publication. While a digital ad can be ignored or closed out of on the screen, print ads are more difficult for a consumer to disregard, making this media strategy one that should not be disregarded itself. It’s also important to understand how the consumer reacts to an ad in print vs. another media channel.
  • A study by the United States Postal Service analyzed people’s reactions when shown a digital or physical ad. They used a variety of neuro-marketing techniques (such as eye-tracking and biometric measurements) to gain an understanding of their reactions. “Physical ads had a longer-lasting impact than digital. A week after the initial viewing, the emotional response and concrete memory of the physical ads allowed participants to more quickly and confidently remember the physical ads than digital ads. This may be crucial when making actual purchases.”

Print is trusted more than any other advertising channel

  • When looking to make a purchase decision, this study asked consumers, in general, which types of advertising channels do you trust most? 82% of Americans trust print ads (newspapers, magazines), while 80% trust TV ads. Online pop-ups were only trusted by 25% of Americans.
  • The vast amount of high-quality publishers and content online allows for a wide range of valuable inventory in the digital space. Although print media has less opportunity for this level of inventory, it’s the clutter within the digital ad space that leaves consumers hesitant to trust what exactly they may be clicking on, hindering their trust for a given brand. By taking advantage of print as a media strategy, you’ll avoid the clutter and ensure that the consumer’s trust is carried over in their feelings about your brand.

Print media holds a fairly predictable and loyal readership, furthering the credibility of the publication’s content

  • Many consumers of print media are creatures of habit in this regard. They are dedicated readers of one (or several) publications, and with that, is the trust that they have for a publication that the information that’s being conveyed is accurate and credible. This leads to the halo-effect. Brands whose ads are included in a credible publication are also associated as high-quality, trustworthy organizations. Keeping this strategy in mind, this lends itself to more qualified leads or sales for a brand.

Integrating digital components into a print media strategy

  • With today’s technological capabilities, it’s becoming even easier and efficient to implement digital assets into traditional media tactics. With print media, in particular, there are a handful of ways to differentiate your brand’s messaging from other ads – including leveraging technology like QR codes or augmented reality (AR).
  • Including technology within your print ad is a great way to enhance your audience’s experience and can also compliment any digital or social efforts your campaign may have in place. You can also use this technology to better track and target those consumers who are using their devices to scan your QR code or to view the AR component, to help drive them through the sales funnel.

In summary, these are the reasons why print works:

  • Print ads resonate deep in the mind of a consumer
  • Print is the most trustworthy media channel
  • Credibility of a publication itself = credibility to a brand’s ad in the publication
  • Digital tactics can be integrated with print elements

In our experience, print will always be in the consideration set for a media plan or recommendation. When strategically executed, print advertising will drive consumers further through the funnel to qualified leads or sales.