It comes as no surprise that this generation considers social media or digitalization to be the only channels for advertising or marketing practices. However, social media and “proper digitalization” are hardly 2-decade old children.
Moreover, before these “revolutionized digital marketing practices,” print advertising was the most effective and widespread type of marketing. Yes, things have changed dramatically, but does that mean print media is thrown out of the game? The answer is NO.
This article is all about print advertising and why it is still a very important part of any marketing mix.
Table of Contents
What is Print Advertising?
Print advertising is a type of marketing that uses different print media channels for advertising to reach a broader target audience. Companies advertise their products on different print advertising channels such as newspapers, direct mails, brochures, magazines, billboards, etc.
Many people think that print media has simply become obsolete. Yes, it is true to some extent, but on average, the companies in the United States spent 25 billion USD on print advertising annually. This figure is pretty low in comparison to the past, but it is a solid indication that print advertising is still an integral part of modern marketing strategies.
Is Print Advertising Still Effective in the Digital Age?
As mentioned earlier, the importance of print advertising is undeniable even after digital advertising surpassed the former. Here are some reasons; why print advertising is still crucial for companies.
Print Advertising Has Unique Way to Reach Audience
Print advertising is different from digital advertising in several ways. For instance, people generally find it easy to recall a print advertisement. Similarly, the trust factor is also in favor of products or services in print ads rather than online ads.
Here are some interesting marketing trends:
- Customers’ reaction towards print ads is more “emotional” than online ads.
- Print ads are a better “information absorbing” source for customers as compared to online ads.
- Products or services in print advertisements hit the subconsciousness of people in a better way.
Print Advertising Builds Trust and Credibility
Even after an authoritative website, amazing email campaigns, and strong social media presence, a company might still fail to win the trust of its target audience. However, print advertising conveys a hidden message that “this brand is trustable.” Yes, this might sound awkward, but it is what it is. In fact, as per the Nielson survey, here are the top 10 advertising/marketing formats ranked according to customers’ trust:
- TV ads
- Newspaper ads
- Magazine ads
- Billboards/outdoor advertising
- Radio ads
- Online videos
- Search engine results
- Social networks
- Ads on mobile devices
Print Advertisements Have A Higher Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is one of the benchmarks to evaluate any marketing campaign’s success. Yes, print advertising may be costly, but it is a substantial investment for any company. Moreover, the conversion rates in print advertising are also on the higher side. For instance, the CMO Council concluded that:
- 80 percent of the consumers/potential customers take action on direct mail advertisements.
- 50 percent of the consumers respond to email advertisements.
Similarly, business cards, newspaper ads, magazines, etc., have higher conversion rates as well.
Types of Print Advertising
There are various forms of print advertising, but here are some of the most common and effective ones:
- Direct Mail
It won’t be wrong to say that newspaper is the king of print advertising. Even after digitalization, people still like reading the newspaper. Newspapers have not only a greater reach, but they are very effective for small or local businesses.
According to Dun & Bradstreet, small businesses in the United States are advantageous when it comes to newspaper advertising. Newspaper advertising can help businesses to reach a local or specific target audience effectively.
Magazines are one of the best print advertising channels to target a specific audience. People in United States, Europe, and Asia, have a special liking to magazines. In fact, there are magazines for different niches such as health, fashion, and beauty, cooking, diet, etc.
Another good thing about magazines is that readers get high-quality images that are not only attractive but portray a product in the best possible way. The cost of a magazine ad depends on different factors, and it may range from dollars to $2000 depending on the magazine.
Directories can give your business greater exposure to build a client base. Directory ads appear in different forms of directories such as regional directories, industry directories, yellow pages, etc.
If a business can make it to the yellow page, it is a clear indication for consumers that the business is completely legitimate. Legitimacy leads to trust and credibility.
Brochures are one of the best ways to give complete information about your business, product, or service. Appealing and comprehensive brochures are still very effective in advertising your brand. Moreover, brochures are easy to distribute and are very cost-effective.
If you want personalization while reaching your potential customers, then direct mail is still one of the ways to do it. You can target a specific group of potential customers according to their needs. Apart from that, direct mailing is also another very affordable option.
Billboards are a form of print advertising which is impossible to ignore. Appealing and rightly-placed billboards can help you create brand awareness on a huge scale. Moreover, you can target a general as well as a specific audience. Different studies have shown that billboards are still one of the most viewed types of advertising.
Advantages of Print Advertising
- Cost-Effective. Print advertising, without any doubt, is generally a very cost-effective option. A local business can easily advertise its products or services in local newspapers at an affordable cost. Similarly, brochures, direct mails, etc., are also very economical options.
- Credibility and Trust Building. Newspapers and magazines are considered as credible sources of information. That means a newspaper won’t advertise any illegitimate or ambiguous brand, product, or service. Therefore, advertising in a newspaper automatically helps you build creditability and trust in your target audience.
- Better Engagement. People read the newspaper for different purposes but obtaining information is a common objective of newspaper readers. This means a business can have higher audience engagement through newspaper ads. However, a business must be unique with its ads because they can be easily ignored in a cluster of ads.
- Longevity. Even a single newspaper is read by multiple readers. That means your ad will have an extended viewership. Apart from that, shops, offices, and other venues display newspapers for longer periods. That means your ad will be exposed to a lot of people for a long time.
- Flexibility. Print advertising is also a flexible option for advertisers or marketers. That said, a brand can advertise its products or services in a specific newspaper to reach an area-specific audience or reach a general audience. Similarly, if a business has a low budget for advertising, it can place its ad on the publication accordingly.
Disadvantages of Print Advertising
- Against the Trend. Just as mentioned earlier, print media has been surpassed by digital channels. In fact, the modern generation is not very fond of reading newspapers or magazines. People born before the 90s still like reading newspapers, but that means a business may miss a huge potential customer base by relying on print advertising.
- Lower Accessibility. The world has become a global village, and international trade is the new common now. Even small businesses are making their way out to international markets. That is why reaching a global audience through print advertising is simply next to impossible. You cannot have a global reach with a national newspaper.
- Paper Media Is “Killing Our Planet”. There are no easy words to say this, but you need to cut down a lot of trees to make paper. To be honest, trees and plants are a lifeline for this planet, and you need 10 liters of water to make one A4 size sheet, which is pretty “expensive” in terms of natural resources.
Examples of Print Advertising
If you think there is little room for innovation in print advertising, here are some innovative examples of print advertising that are simply amazing:
C&A, a famous fashion retailer, came up with unique customized magazine editions. These editions were linked to a person’s Facebook account. The readers were able to like their desired looks, and the data was sent back to the leaderboard in the store.
Lipton -“Cool Down Stop,”
How can you take advantage of a situation (for advertising purposes) where locals and tourists are feeling the summer heat? Well, you can take inspiration from Lipton. The company printed an interactive ad at a bus stop. The ad was named as “cool down stop,” and anyone pressing the ad would be misted with cold water. That was truly creative, clever, and helpful as well.
KFC- We Ran Out of Chicken
Can you imagine a gas station without gas? Well, this happened to one of the biggest global fast-food chains, KFC. The company ran out of chicken at its restaurants. It was important to inform and apologize to the public immediately.
However, instead of posting a straightforward apology, the company came up with a print ad that was attached to the company’s website where readers could get more information about the rare mishap.