Against all odds, and after years of struggle, print media is alive and well.
And here are the facts you need to know about print advertising.
#1 It’s not all downhill
News of print’s demise has been greatly exaggerated; it’s decline is by no mean universal. A 2016 Forbes article stated “print media isn’t dead, it has just moved” – pointing out that Indian newspapers are currently experiencing growth rates of between 12% and 14%.
Similarly, a 2015 McKinsey Global Media study stated that “developing markets are playing an increasingly critical role in global media growth, not only because traditional media in these markets remain strong, but because these markets, from Mexico and China to India and Malaysia, anticipate healthy economic expansion and increasing household incomes – particularly in Asia Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe.”
#2 Some titles are doing better than others Even in western markets, the picture isn’t all one of decline.
For example, US titles New York magazine, The Nation and The Atlantic are all returning growth figures. Or, as the McKinsey survey points out: “Despite our emphasis on the shift to digital as a primary theme, however, we should not forget that traditional media remain a considerable factor.”
#3 If you want to target ABC1s, print is your media
News Media Alliance has found that 7 out of 10 college graduates read a print newspaper – as household income rises, so does the consumption of news media.
#4 Print is more trusted
56% of American consumers say print is a more trusted form of media.
#5 You’re competing with less noise Print advertising isn’t subject to the same “noise” as your online ad is.
When you consider the likely state of mind of a consumer who has just sat down to read a magazine (relaxed, receptive) to someone seeing an online ad (busy; probably looking for specific information or running an online search) – it is clear why print advertising has more chance of reaching the attention of its audience.
#6 The physicality of print means you have more than one shot
Not only can you target your audience tightly by selecting the titles in which you advertise, but that audience is going to flip through those magazines repeatedly; giving your ad several chances to make an impact. Even more so if the reader saves the magazine or donates it to the local salon or surgery. This simply doesn’t happen with digital.
#7 You have much greater control over who you are advertising next to
Early this year, Google was forced to review its ad policies when the UK government joined a number of organisations, including the Guardian, BBC and Transport for London, in pulling advertising from Google and YouTube because their ads were being run alongside inappropriate and offensive content and advertising.
This was followed by Havas, the world’s sixth largest advertising group that has clients including O2, EDF and Royal Mail pulling all its ad spend from Google and YouTube, saying the tech firm had been “unable to provide specific reassurances, policy and guarantees that their video or display content is classified either quickly enough or with the correct filters”.
You simply don’t have these potentially brand-damaging problems when you advertise in traditional and print media because they are subject to much tighter editorial and regulatory controls.
#8 Direct Mail has better open rates than email
Surveys have shown that typical open rates for traditional mail is between 80% and 90%. This drops to around 20% to 11% for email.
#9 Direct Mail has better response rates than email
These stats follow through into response rates too. Surveys have shown that the average response rate for physical mail is 4.4% while the average response rate for an email campaign is just 0.12%.
#10 It isn’t an either/or equation: a blend is best
A recent blended campaign using print and digital media run by agency Ogilvy One UK for London’s Battersea Dogs’ Home delivered incredible results, reminding us that good things happen when we work together. Blended campaigns deliver far greater results than the sum of their parts.