Print Advertising In A Digital World: Yes, It Still Has A Place

While cash from print advertising is on the decline, it's not dead. Circulations being down mean readership is left with only the most engaged – a marketer's dream.

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It’s no secret that revenue from print advertising is on the decline. On the newspaper end, total ad revenue in 2013 was 49 percent lower than it had been a decade earlier. Fearing for the worst, several publishers have raised subscription costs in an attempt to offset ad revenue declines.

Have no fear though – print isn’t dead. While print circulations are down, that also means that the readership has been culled to only the most engaged – a marketer’s dream. As always, the challenge with print advertising is demonstrating the ads’ effectiveness, but experts argue there is a solution.

The interesting thing about print is that it provokes people to read it. Just buying it or getting it in the mail provokes the reader to engage in a way that digital doesn’t. If you have time to read a magazine, then you’re likely going to engage with the ads in there. Print ads should inspire you to look at them even longer. Print advertising continues to act as a very efficient way of establishing a brand identity and for communicating that to the target market.

People are in different mental spaces when they choose to engage with a printed magazine versus digital content. Magazines are typically title-dependent and the reader chooses to spend five minutes with a particular title. In marketing, ads can add value to a medium because the reader is looking for a specific kind of content versus just talking about your brand.

Over the course of several years, print brands have successfully developed strong connections with their readers. The overall experience of consuming print brands pairs content with advertising in a seamless way so readers often want to see the advertising that’s carried in the print brands they consume.

The factor that will continue to make print ads more valuable in the nearly undivided attention that readers give to magazine and newspaper content, rather than multitasking like they do when consuming digital content. So, yes, while print advertising appears to be on the decline, my “marketer” opinion is that it will be a long time before it truly goes away.

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