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Does Print Advertising Work in the Digital Age?

Does Print Advertising Work in the Digital Age?

Ever since the rise of online marketing, marketers have been asking themselves whether print advertising and more traditional methods of advertising are still useful and effective in the digital age.

While online advertising has become the predominant method of growth for a lot of businesses, print advertising and Traditional PR still have their places in the digital age, particularly when they are used as part of a well thought out and developed marketing strategy.

Digital and Traditional PR

Two of the best complementary methods to your digital and print marketing methods are Digital and Traditional PR. PR (Public Relations) is the act of building mutually beneficial relationships and releasing information between a company/brand and the wider public, including a brand’s customers and partners.

Traditional PR is a term used to describe strategies that brands use to gain coverage in print materials such as newspapers, industry-specific magazines as well as traditional broadcasting mediums such as TV and radio. Digital PR focuses more on gaining high-quality backlinks from websites, online publications, and customer reviews. If you’re looking to use Digital PR methods for your brand, you’ll want to focus on web-based strategies such as SEO, content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media marketing.

Traditional PR can still be an effective strategy for brands to use, but it needs to be done with the idea of maximising your return on investment. Brands can still use traditional PR techniques such as press outreach to specific newspapers, magazines, and professionals who work at Traditional PR firms to boost brand awareness and get their message out to their target audience.

Alongside Digital and Traditional PR, it’s worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with print advertising and learning about the advantages it can bring to your business. Print advertising can tie in with any Traditional PR strategies you’re using and prove an invaluable method for growing your brand and business.

What Is Print Advertising?

Print advertising can be defined as any form of advertising that uses any form of printed media. The most common forms of print advertising include newspapers, pamphlets, consumer magazines, billboards, posters, and direct mail. Using forms of print advertising alongside your digital marketing efforts helps to boost brand awareness, get your products in front of different audiences, and helps solidify your brand in your particular niche.

With this in mind, let’s take a look into some of the benefits of print advertising.

The Benefits of Print Advertising

Consumers Trust Print Ads More Than Digital Ads

Research by Ryan Holmes, the co-founder of Hootsuite, found that the average human today is exposed to over 5,000 ads per day, compared to 500 ads a day in the 1970s. This growth in ad exposure has led to a steadily increasing scepticism among consumers to the digital ads they come across. In his research, Holmes also discovered the fact that 86 million users block around $20 million worth of ads each year by using ad blocking software.

A 2017 survey by eMarketer discovered that eight in ten consumers trust print ads more than digital ads when making a purchasing decision. While digital ads are by no means in decline, Holmes’ and eMarketers’ research does show the importance of using other methods of advertisement, such as print advertising, alongside your digital efforts.

Print Ads Are Less Distracting and Have a High Engagement Rate

With consumers being bombarded with an ever-increasing number of online ads, it’s not uncommon for users to be distracted and unfocused when they come across an ad online.

How many times have you found yourself scrolling through your news feed and not taken any notice of the ads you come across? Probably quite a few. While some ads may catch your eye, the majority of ads are pretty forgettable and, therefore, have a low engagement rate. With print advertising and direct mail, this isn’t always the case; often, consumers are less likely to be distracted when coming across print ads. This is particularly true if a consumer comes across print ads in a publication they already have an interest in and have made a conscious decision to read.

Getting your brand or product advertised in print in a publication where your audience is likely to be found gives you a strong chance of your brand or product being discovered by your ideal customer and having them engage with your print ads.

Direct Mail Is Opened More Than Email

While email is one of the most effective methods of online marketing, it’s not always considered the most trustworthy. Most email inboxes are overwhelmed by marketing emails from an influx of different companies. Direct mail, on the other hand, lands directly in a prospect’s mailbox, and if the piece of direct mail is appealing to the prospect, there’s a high chance of them opening it.

study by Epsilon found that over 50% of consumers preferred receiving direct mail to email and 67% of consumers feel that direct mail is more personal email. These stats show that direct mail can be an effective addition to your marketing efforts and can work well at driving up engagement rates.

Combining Print and Digital Advertising

Now you know some of the advantages of print advertising, here are a couple of tips on combining your print and digital advertising efforts.

Test Call to Actions (CTA’s) in Your Digital and Print Ads

Testing calls to action on your digital and print ads is a great way to test out new ideas and repurpose what’s working from one medium to another.

If you’ve had specific calls to action work well in your digital ads, then chances are the same, or similar calls to action will work well in a direct response print ad.

Even if your print advertising doesn’t encompass any direct response ads, repurposing content and copy from successful digital ads that you’ve run is a great way to come up with ideas for your print advertising campaigns.

Present a Consistent Brand Message Across Your Digital and Print Advertising

Your brand message is the value proposition that your brand displays to your target audience through your messaging, positioning, and your content. If you’re producing a mixture of digital and print content, make sure your brand messaging is consistent across all of your platforms.

If you’re launching a digital or print advertising campaign, ask yourself: What customers do I want to attract? Who do I want interacting with my ads? What message do I convey to my potential customers? Answering these questions will help you determine the kind of messaging and content you want your ads to include.

Test and Optimize

Whether you’re new to the world of print advertising or a seasoned professional, this article should have given you some insight into why print advertising is still useful in the digital age and how you can implement print advertising into your marketing strategy.

When used in the right way print advertising can act as a complementary strategy to your digital efforts, so make sure you keep print advertising in your marketing arsenal.


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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.