Print advertising continues to be a valuable part of the marketing mix.

By Elaina Hundley

We know you’ve probably been hearing it for years—Print is dead! The future of advertising is all-digital! We’ve heard it too. But, in reality, we haven’t found that to be accurate when it comes to our publications. While the digital sphere has proven to be popular among readers, the true value of the print medium continues to endure regardless.

There’s no question that digital advertising has become a very lucrative advertising platform in recent years. According to IAB’s 2018 Internet Advertising Revenue Report, 2018 brought in $107.5 billion in digital advertising revenue—a 2% year over year increase from 2017. Vox also recently shared this story about how digital advertising is surpassing print and television now too. While these stories and others show the popularity of digital, they don’t necessarily reflect how nuanced the marketing landscape really is.

At Blue House Sales Group, we firmly believe that a truly effective marketing campaign requires a balance of both print and digital marketing. This is especially true in the B2B market. While a paid ad on social media or pay per click campaign can drive traffic and engagement, a hybrid print and digital campaign will further elevate the total marketing program. In order to keep publications thriving (in terms of both readership and revenue), it’s necessary for organizations to understand the important role print media continues to play.

People Trust Printed Materials

According to a 2017 report from MarketingSherpa, 82% of Americans trust print ads—while only 25% trust online pop-ups. Though much has changed since 2017, readers still consider a printed publication (whether it be a program, magazine or newspaper) to be more legitimate than some online publishing—especially since almost anyone with a computer can now call themselves a publisher. While some online articles can courier real trust when hosted by recognized publications, there’s still something that feels more permanent and at times more valid about printed materials.

Those feelings of trust and legitimacy will extend to the advertising as well. An advertisement featured in a well-respected publication may hold more weight than an ad served by Google.

Print Is Zero Distraction Media

While an advertiser may be able to measure more clicks or views with digital media, audiences approach the experience of reading in print differently today. Taking time to sit down and read a magazine has become a much more intentional experience than using a phone or computer.

When reading on a screen, it can be easy for traditional pop-up and banner ads to get lost amidst a busy page or, alternatively, get in the way of a reader trying to focus on the content they wanted to see (which can be annoying). Maybe that’s why more users are opting to eliminate online ads entirely by installing AdBlockers. At the same time, sponsored stories and more creative digital advertising activations might be missed because internet users are endlessly distracted by a different ad, an email notification, text, Twitter, Game of Thrones theories, a movie trailer…the list goes on.

A reader that has taken time away from their busy schedule to thumb through a magazine is more likely to dedicate their full focus to the publication. That gives advertisers the chance to communicate their message more clearly and directly than with digital placements.

Print Cuts Through The Noise

Print is a break from the routine, one that offers a marked change of pace from its digital counterparts. In fact, print is so much of a noise cutter that, according to this article published by Ink, Netflix, Bumble and Uber are among many digital-first companies that have started producing print magazines in an effort to reach consumers in a new-ish way. Because the average person is so steeped in digital media now, a well presented print magazine will grab their attention and keep it differently than what the media they are jaded to on their screens.

Print Complements Digital

While we are very pro-print at BH Sales Group, that does not mean we don’t see value in digital too. Marketing is not at all a digital versus print game; advertisers and publishers alike need both to succeed. Magazine audience members will likely access a publication via both print AND digital, so those platforms should work together to provide readers with the best possible experience. If advertisers are not investing in both channels, they run the risk of missing a valuable piece of any given publication’s audience.

Print Opportunities Help Advertisers Achieve The Rule Of Seven

The classic rule of seven still rings true: in order to really reach someone, you need to communicate your message to them seven times (ideally in seven ways). The combination of both print and digital opportunities helps advertisers achieve this goal.

By understanding why print has value and how it complements other digital platforms, you will be better able to articulate that value to prospective advertisers—and ensure that your publication remains relevant to the needs of readers and marketers alike.

Recommended Reading: Sell The Audience | Amplify Your Message Through Advertising AND Editorial

Want to learn more? Get in touch today.