Will Print Advertising Be Relevant in 2018?

Posted on December 14, 2017 | Updated on January 25, 2023

Print advertising may seem to be fading in an increasingly digital world. In reality, brushing off print advertising as archaic is premature. In fact, many brands continue to use print advertising with stellar results. They gain on its unique benefits regarding targeting, placement, engagement and return on investment.

After all, consumers who find an interesting ad in print are likelier to remember the ad. They might even physically cut out and save it. Meanwhile, users experiencing ads on a computer or mobile device can save them as a digital bookmark. But it’s all too easy to forget them, due to the sheer number of competing ads and digital’s less personal feel.

Studies show print advertising’s tendency for brain recall was higher than digital media, with a study by Canadian neuromarketing firm TrueImpact finding brain recall was 70 percent higher among those reading a direct-mail piece, at 75 percent, than a digital ad, at 44 percent. Other research shows print advertising has the power to emphasize a product’s texture, scent and feel, beneficial for many industries from food to fashion.

Although neglecting digital advertising entirely is not a prudent approach, businesses should also be aware print advertising has several unique benefits that will make it relevant in 2018 and beyond. These benefits and unique factors include:

Specific Targeting and Placement

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It’s very possible to effectively target a specific audience online, though there are a variety of challenges. Bots are rampant on the web and can count in analytics as real people, making for a wasted resource. Additionally, it’s easier for someone to “like” a Facebook page about a casual interest than subscribe to a magazine. As a result, magazine subscription readers tend to be more passionate about their niche as a whole than the average Facebook audience.

There are many magazines still in print, making the magazine industry an ideal source of marketing for every type of hobby and niche. Magazine readers are likelier to pay attention to ads, knowing they will be relevant to their most passionate interests.

Local Engagement

Digital advertising is an excellent platform for getting the word out to people simultaneously across long distances. Still, print media remains strong for the lucrative local market. It’s very difficult to digitally target small towns and counties. However, many of these locations have local publications that publish regularly and accept advertising.

For marketing that’s seeking to draw people on a local level, newspapers and regional magazines are superior for local market outreach, unless the location has a more firmly established digital presence.

A More Personal Connection

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People are four times likelier to check out a direct-mail ad than one that goes into their inbox. One reason why is that people tend to receive much more spam in their email inbox than their postal address. With less competition from other marketers, print advertising via direct mail can give a personal feel. Especially when personal handwriting is on the envelope or messaging.

The oversaturation of digital marketing directly leads to print advertising having a more comforting, personal feel. It’s reached the point where sending a spam email is considerably easier than taking time to address one personally in the mail.

Better ROI

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Direct-mail advertisements have a 13-to-1 return on investment, with higher response rates than digital delivery methods. Specifically, the response rates for direct mail average at 3.7 percent. Compare this to the minuscule rates for mobile, email and social media, all of which are 0.2 percent or less.

The cost-effective and proven nature of print advertising is another reason the medium will maintain relevance. Consider the oversaturated digital advertising sphere where the ease of creating an electronic ad has led to a landscape of poor content with little appeal. Even digital ads with outstanding, original content can have low engagement. Meanwhile, Internet users become accustomed to subpar advertising and give other ads less of a chance as a result.

Longer Attention Spans

Print readers tend to have longer attention spans, compared to digital readers who are familiar with browsing while having multiple browser tabs open, not hesitating to switch between tabs. Internet users tend to forget even a memorable ad if they see it, since there’s constant multi-tasking and the temptation to keep browsing somewhere new.

Meanwhile, print readers settle in with their publication of choice, reading more slowly and with less distraction. When coming across an ad that appeals to them, print readers are likelier to focus on the ad more. They avoid the lure of other media or advertising becoming an obstacle to engagement.

Compared to digital advertising, print advertising is more powerful for specific targeting and placement, especially when targeting local communities. Print also tends to yield a more personal connection, among a reader base that’s less likely to be distracted. This results in a better ROI compared to its digital counterpart. For all these reasons, print advertising will remain relevant in 2018 and beyond.

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