Is print dead? This is a question that has been buzzing around the marketing world since the rapid surge of the Internet and social media. While many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign. Let’s take a closer look at print media and some advantages it has over its digital counterparts.

Tangibility – A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.

Credibility – There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.

Branding – Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.

Target Marketing – Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.

More Engaging – Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)

Less Print Ads – With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.

QR Codes – Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.

The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print. Although it is likely that most emphasis, in terms of advertising, will be executed online, there still exist those who revel in the glory of the printed page and it’s important to reach them. Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.


As today’s world gets increasingly digital, with more brands and businesses advertising online than ever before, it can be easy to push the more traditional print advertising to one side. After all, digital campaigns can be quicker to make and cheaper to produce than their print alternatives.

But is this eagerness for “quick and easy” marketing costing you customers?

Print advertising vs. digital advertising

A 2015 study by the United States Postal Service compared the reactions of subjects when presented with either a digital or physical advertisement. They used various neuromarketing techniques (such as eye tracking and biometric measurements) to gauge subjects’ reactions. The results of the study showed that print advertising was leaving more of a positive and lasting impression on the subjects:

  • Subjects spent longer reviewing physical media than digital
  • Printed media evoked higher emotional reactions
  • Physical media led to subjects having a great desire for the product
  • Subjects attached high subconscious values to products shown in the printed advertisements
  • A week later, subjects were able to recall and remember printed media more effectively than the digital counterparts

Why should you use print advertising to promote your business?

  1. High reaction rates for printed newspaper advertisements

A study conducted by the Newspaper Associated of America (NAA) found that 75% of people aged 25-34 react in some way to advertisements in print newspapers. This means that they engage with the advertised brand in some way, for example by using a coupon or visiting a website. This is great news for publishers as it shows that printed ads in magazine and newspapers leads to high engagement rates for the advertisers.

  1. Create memorable campaign messages

Many companies run annual marketing campaigns that involve some sort of physical item alongside the printed marketing material. For example, they might send out a branded mug, soft toy or confectionary item with a printed flyer/card. Combining print and promotional goods in this way makes the receiver feel incredibly “special” when the package drops through their mailbox. Every time they go to use the branded item, or look at it on their desk, they’ll be reminded of your brand.

  1. People automatically look at things that are placed in their hands

Whether you post a leaflet through someone’s letter box, or hand them one in the street, they will automatically look at what’s on the paper as soon as it touches their hands. With digital advertising, it’s all too easy to ignore the ads down the side of your screen, but when you’re actually touching something you can’t ignore it.

  1. Printed advertising produces a better person-to-brand connection

The results of a poll of 1,200 adults made it clear that people nurture a yearning for the tactile over the digital in some cases. For example, when asked which items they would miss the most if they were moved to digital only, participants not only listed the obvious choices of books, magazines and newspapers, but also marketing materials such as business cards and catalogues.

  1. Maximise sensory appeal

Marketers know they must appeal to all of a consumer’s senses to encourage a sale. It’s very hard to do this with digital advertising; you’re mainly limited to sight and occasionally sound if you have a video advert. However, with printed media, you have the smell of the freshly printed paper, the feel of it in your hand, the vibrant colours and the sound of the paper moving. Using quality cardstock or even scented paper could be what it takes to turn a casual browser into a first-time customer.


The many benefits of print advertising make it a must-have source of marketing for businesses.

However, that’s not to say that digital marketing is something to be ignored. Many successful marketing campaigns utilise both mediums to produce a cohesive on-brand message. For example, you could have a printed campaign that contains a website address for people to visit in order to sign up for a discount code or a free sample of your product.

These types of integrated campaigns not only raise awareness of your brand but also enable you to build an email list of people who you know are interested in your brand. You can then target these specific people for future campaigns.