Print advertising has been a cornerstone of marketing for centuries. Even in today’s digital age, it holds a significant place. While digital advertising offers speed and flexibility, print advertising brings a level of trust and engagement that is hard to match. Understanding the role of print advertising in a digital world is crucial for modern marketers. Let’s delve into how print advertising works, its benefits, and how it can complement your digital strategies.

The Kinds of Print Vehicles Available

Print advertising comes in various forms, each offering unique advantages. Here are the primary types:

Newspapers: Newspapers are one of the oldest forms of print advertising. They come in daily, weekly, and local editions, providing a wide reach. Daily newspapers are great for timely ads, while weekly and local editions can target specific communities. Advertising in newspapers is often a lower cost-per-thousand than other print vehicles due to the frequency of publications and available space.

Magazines: Magazines cater to niche audiences. Whether it’s industry-specific, general interest, or hobbyist magazines, they offer targeted advertising opportunities. Magazines have a longer shelf life than newspapers, meaning your ad can be seen multiple times. Because magazines have a longer shelf life, they have a greater pass-along rate.

Statistics of Print Readers

When measuring print statistics there are two numbers to consider. First, circulation. That is the exact number of copies that are printed for distribution. It should be an audited statistic. Then, there is readership. That is the total number of people estimated to have read a publication. Readership takes into account pass-along rate, the number of people who read a publication. Think about a magazine in a doctor’s office.

Despite the rise of digital media, print readership remains strong. Studies show that many people still prefer reading printed materials. Print media provides a tactile experience that digital cannot replicate. For example, in 2020, over 60% of adults in the U.S. read a printed magazine.

While overall readership of newspapers is slipping as people move to digital copies, loyal readers have remained. Since 2020 the NY Times has lost @10% of its print readership but has over 350,000 subscribers. People Magazine has lost 10% as well but has over 3 million subs. Vogue Magazine has dropped @8% since 2020 and Architectural Digest has increased print readers by 3.6% to over 850,000. Hence, if these readers are prospects, you can reach them in large numbers with a single publication.

Print vs. Digital Readership

While digital media consumption is increasing, print media still holds a significant share. Print readers often spend more time engaging with the content, leading to higher ad recall rates. There has been a direct correlation between the decrease in print newspaper circulation and the increase in digital subscriptions.

Print media is trusted more than digital media. Printed information is seen as more credible and less prone to misinformation. When was the last time you heard of a printed newspaper being hacked? Or faked accounts belonging to foreign entities? It is easy to verify the authors of print stories and articles. This trust factor can enhance the effectiveness of your ads.

Demographics of Print Readers

Understanding who reads print media is crucial for targeting your ads effectively. Here’s a breakdown of print readership demographics. As with all media, you need to investigate the data.

Older adults are more likely to read print media. However, certain magazines attract younger readers, especially those related to fashion, lifestyle, and hobbies. People with higher incomes tend to read more print media. They are often looking for in-depth information and are willing to pay for quality content. Print media is popular in both urban and rural areas. Local newspapers and magazines are particularly effective in reaching regional audiences.

How Print Advertising Works

Principles for success in print advertising are no different than any other media. While the publication may reach a large audience of prospects, you need frequency in order to have success. Repetition is the key to winning advertising.

Print advertising can be cost-effective. Depending on your ad size the CPM’s of print can be quite affordable. This is especially when using remnant print. Remnant print refers to unsold ad space that is offered at a lower cost.

Print ads often deliver a good ROI. By targeting the right audience and using compelling designs, you can achieve significant results. That said, you need to balance ad size and impact with costs, budget and return on investment. Larger ads get more attention but cost more. Smaller ads cost less and allow for greater frequency. We often recommend starting with larger ads then scaling down to extend budget.

Advantages of Print Advertising

Print ads have a physical presence. Readers can hold, touch, and keep them. This tangibility can create a lasting impression. Printed information is seen as more credible. Once it is on a page it cannot be altered.  Readers trust print media more than digital, which can enhance your brand’s reputation.

Print ads can target specific audiences through niche publications. Whether it’s a trade magazine or a local newspaper, you can reach your desired demographic effectively. Magazines are the most common publications with “verticals”, whether it is Car and Driver or US magazine you know what the content will be.

Integrating Print with Digital Strategies

Print and digital advertising can work together to create powerful marketing campaigns. One of the first was is the use both the print and digital editions of a publication. Readers of Architectural Digest will be fairly homogeneous whether reached in print or digitally. There may be some differences in age but contextually, they will be the same. And, using both extends your reach with this audience.

Use print ads to drive traffic to your website. Include your web address or social media handles in your print ads to encourage online engagement. Adding QR codes and URLs to print ads can bridge the gap between print and digital. Readers can scan the QR code or visit the URL for more information, leading to higher engagement.

Boosting Engagement with Print Advertising

Print ads can effectively engage readers. Create ads with strong visuals and clear messages. A memorable print ad can leave a lasting impression on readers.

Add interactive elements to your print ads, such as scratch-offs, inserts, or coupons. These can capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to take action. Encourage feedback and participation. For example, you could ask readers to share their thoughts on social media or enter a contest. Finally, track response rates to measure the success of your print ads. Use unique promo codes or trackable URLs to see how many readers take action.

Print Advertising In A Digital World

Print advertising remains a vital part of any marketing strategy. It offers unique advantages, such as tangibility and credibility, that digital advertising cannot match. By understanding how print advertising works and integrating it with your digital strategies, you can reach more people and achieve your marketing goals. Don’t overlook the power of print in today’s digital world. There is a place for print advertising in a digital world. Combining print and digital can lead to greater success and a stronger brand presence.