7 Advertising Advantages of Print over Digital

With every new advancement in technology our society seems to go through the same cycle:

Something new is introduced that is supposed to change the world.

The old thing will supposedly die out and vanish.

The hype settles down and people start to go about normal life again.

The old thing continues on in some form and finds a new way to coexist with the new thing.

There are exceptions, of course, but it’s safe to say that most new advances trend for a while and then settle into the sea of existence with everything else. 

Radio didn’t kill Live Entertainment.

TV didn’t kill Radio.

The Internet didn’t kill TV. 

Live Entertainment become more advanced and offered more to showgoers, Radio expanded into digital signals, Satellite access, and more variety than ever. TV is higher resolution, has more channels and outlets than ever as well, and now you can subscribe to and watch TV on the internet as well with services such as Hulu and Netflix. Media evolves. It doesn’t just vanish. Sure, vinyl record sales are far less today than they were in the 1970s but people didn’t stop listening to music so they could watch a television show.

It is beginning to settle down now but for years the cry has been that “print media is dying and only digital will go on”. Yes, books, magazines, newspapers, and any and all printed media will supposedly vanish in the near future and we will all access everything from our smart-watches and VR goggles. If that sounds a little ‘out there’ to you, then you aren’t alone.

Print Media isn’t going to vanish any time soon, and many who prematurely made the exit from print advertising are implementing it back into their budget. Fact is most businesses benefit from print advertising and print can fulfill various advertising needs that digital just can’t replicate.

1. Print Is More Than Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers and Magazines are what often comes to mind when you hear “Print Media” but it is a lot more vast than that. If its media that isn’t on a digital screen, or over the air, then it’s likely print. Signs, Brochures, Billboards, Store Window Graphics, Business Cards, Letters, Mailers, Flyers, Books, Menus, and so much else, and yes, including Newspapers and Magazines. You are surrounded by print on a daily basis. Which brings us to the next amazing thing that makes print so effective in advertising.

2. You Spend More Time Exposed To Print

Aside from working a desk job (assuming you aren’t the guy surfing Facebook all day at work), at even the most self abusive levels of digital screen time, most of us don’t spend the majority of our day staring at our screens outside of work. Most of the time that we are ripe for consuming advertisements we are not in front of a computer or staring at our phones. We are more exposed to print media during our normal activities than we are to digital. It’s everywhere we go, even in our homes. It can be as blatant as a billboard, or display on a passing box truck, or as subtle as a logo on a box. You absorb print advertising in most every setting. If you are only targeting consumers when they are in front of a screen then you are missing out on a lot of exposure time.

3. Print Media Can Reach New Audiences

If you have your own website you likely already know how challenging it can be to get web traffic. Using print advertising can reach audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be looking for your website. This is especially helpful in reaching potential local customers. Signs, Business Cards, Flyers, and the like may prove far more effective at drawing in your target audience than trying to targeting them with Facebook ads, or hoping they search for it on Google. For example, EDDM (Every Door Direct Mailing) can reach every resident in a targeted area even if you don’t have their names. Leaving Business Cards in a tactful spot catches people’s attention, immediately gives your customers your contact info, and you get initial exposure when they pick up the card, and again later when they take it out of where they put it. Signs are seen and processed by onlookers almost automatically. If you have digital content, this expanded exposure can be used to push people to your website or social media accounts – making print and digital coexist beautifully for your business platform.

4. Print Is More Affordable Than You May Realize

Going all digital isn’t without costs. When you get into online advertising it’s easy to rack up a large bill and not see the results you want. It looks cheaper in theory than it often becomes if those “views” or “clicks” don’t result in sales. It has its place but why rely on it as your only source of advertising? You might find passing out a few business cards, or posting up a couple signs gets you more results than paying for 10000 “reaches” on Facebook. If you aren’t trying print advertising you are most likely missing sales, and if your budget is tight it may very well pay off to experiment with print to see which is more cost effective for you. If mass volume is what you need then you’ll be delighted to know that the more you order in bulk the cheaper the cost ratio becomes. You won’t know unless you try.

5. Print Holds Attention Better

The internet is insanely distracting. Think about how we tend to bounce from one thing to another online at rapid speed. 

We are reading an article and get a message on social media and go to check that, then while there we see a funny photo.. Scroll.. See something that reminds you to pay that cable bill on your provider’s website, pay the bill, see an ad with a gecko mascot.. Head to Wikipedia to read about Geckos..  It’s unending.

It sounds hilarious but take a moment to think about what you’ve done online in the past hour. Chances are it looks somewhat like the distracted mess above. It’s easy to become distracted online with so much going on at once with multiple browser tabs, full screen pop ups, flashing graphics, autoplaying videos, incoming messages, etc. It’s not any different for your customers. It’s harder to hold someone’s attention to read a sales pitch in a Facebook ad than it is to hold someone’s attention with a sign while they are sitting at a stop light for 2 minutes. Much easier to hold someone’s attention with a posted Flyer at the bus stop than a pop up ad. You can be distracted anywhere of course, but on the computer or phone is prime distraction territory.

6. Print Taps Into Your Sense Of Touch

In advertising all of the senses are important. One wonderful advantage of print over digital screen is that print opens up access to the sense of touch. Often subtle but nonetheless important touch plays a role in print advertising. The sensation of holding a physical object in hand when viewing it is one reason people still purchase traditional books over ebooks. The same is true for magazines, newspapers, and other printed media. You can spawn different emotions based on the textures and materials used: thicker stock can inspire feelings of security, strength or soft, velvety textures on a business card cold conjure feelings of comfort, and warmth. Textures can even imitate the product in the print media. I’ve seen some excellent examples of this strategy implemented on photos of foods/candies on advertisements: imagine for a minute a business card for a taffy company where the photo of taffy on the card actually feels sticky! It’s a great way to make your ad more memorable.

7. Stand Out From The Crowd

Print offers you more ways to stand out from the crowd, and that is always great in advertising your business. With all of the variety of print mediums your imagination is your only limit. There is only so much you can do with a Facebook ad, or a meta description tag to be seen in a Google search.. All of that tends to blend together in a sea of information. Having unique business cards, eye catching outdoor signage, an intriguing mailer, t-shirts or a branded free product to give away (like small baseball bat keychains with your business info for an indoor training/batting facility) can really set you apart. Having print advertising can really give that extra, professional touch to your business and help legitimize you in the eyes of consumers.

With so many possibilities and so much to gain, It’s time to give print a chance.

Nathan Kendrick

Author: Nathan Kendrick

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Founder/owner of RisingIconFitness.com, Web Developer, Designer, Writer.

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