Even in the digital age, print advertising remains an important and effective way to convey information to people. Newspapers, magazines, brochures and other printed materials have been around for centuries and are not going away any time soon.
But it is not only information, news and stories that are printed on paper. Advertisers have long invested in print advertising to reach their target audience and promote their products or services, so it’s a foolproof methodology.
What is print advertising?
Print advertising refers to the use of print media such as newspapers, magazines, journals, etc., to convey a sponsored message or present an offer to the reader.
It is, par excellence, one of the oldest and most common forms of advertising that captures people’s attention while reading their favorite publications.
While print advertising may seem like a thing of the past in the digital age, it is still an effective way to reach people, especially when it comes to certain demographics such as older generations. This makes print advertising an essential tool for all brands and businesses, whatever audience they wish to reach.
How does print advertising work?
Print advertising is a form of outbound marketing in which companies create advertisements and place them in print publications such as newspapers, magazines and journals.
The ad can take the form of a text-based article, an image or a mix of both. The goal is to capture the attention of readers so that they become more aware of the brand and what it offers.
Businesses can also use print advertising to drive people to their website or online store. They can do this by including a call to action (CTA) in their ad, such as “Visit our website for more information.”
Elements of print advertising
Every print ad has four essential elements:
- Headline: The headline is the most important part of the ad because it is what will first grab readers’ attention. It has to be clear, direct and attractive enough to make people want to read more.
- Body: The body is the text of the ad that builds on the headline. It is where companies can include more information about their offer. It should be well written, persuasive and not too long, otherwise people will lose interest and move on to the next thing.
- Pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true when it comes to print advertising. The right image can help companies get their message across more effectively. It also makes the ad more visually appealing and easier to remember.
- Call to Action (CTA): The CTA is a statement that tells readers what to do next, such as “Visit our website for more information.” It should be clear and direct so people know exactly what to do.
Characteristics of print advertising
Print advertising has several features that make it an effective marketing tool.
- Targeted: One of the advantages of print advertising is that companies can target a niche audience with good precision. To do this, they can place their ad in a publication that their target market is known to read. For example, if a company wants to target working mothers, they can place their ad in a parenting magazine.
- Grab attention: A good print ad grabs attention. It has an eye-catching headline and an attractive image that makes people want to read more.
- Flexible: Print advertising is also flexible because companies can choose the size, placement and frequency of their ads. They can also include a CTA that directs people to their website or online store.
- Supported by a goal: Good print advertising is always supported by a goal. This could be to increase brand awareness, drive footfall to the store or generate sales. Having a clear objective helps companies create a more effective and measurable ad.
- Tangible: Print advertising is a tangible form of marketing, which means people can hold it in their hands, making it more memorable and reliable than other forms of outbound marketing such as TV ads or online banners. In addition, brands experiment with tangibility by adding scents, textures or even sounds to their print ads.
- Focus on the literate audience: People who read newspapers and magazines tend to be more literate, as they require effort to read. This also means they are more likely to understand and remember the information in a print ad than someone who sees a fleeting image on TV or online.
Types of print advertising
Print ads come in different types and companies can choose which one is most appropriate for them and their objectives.
- Newspaper advertising: These ads appear in the form of text or images on the pages of local, community or national newspapers. They are usually small in size and can be placed anywhere on the page. However, some ads are larger and are placed in a specific section of the newspaper, such as newspaper jacket ads. Businesses prefer newspaper advertising because of its wide reach and low cost.
- Magazine advertising: These ads appear in the form of text, images or both in the pages of regional or national magazines. They are usually niche-specific based on the magazine’s target audience. For example, a company that sells baby products will probably advertise in a parenting magazine.
- Directory advertising: These are listings in a printed directory, such as the Yellow Pages. The ad usually includes the company’s name, address and contact information. It is a good way to reach people who are specifically looking for a particular product or service.
- Brochures: Brochures are a type of print advertising that companies can use to promote their products or services. They are usually in a diptych or trifold format and contain information about the company, such as its products and services, offers and address. Brochures are usually distributed in public places or by mail.
- Mailboxes: Mailboxes are direct mail marketing pieces that companies send to homes or offices. They usually contain promotional material, such as coupons, discounts and offers.
- Loose inserts: Inserts are small print advertisements that companies include in magazines or newspapers. They are usually about A4 in size and can be placed anywhere in the publication.
- In-store advertising: In-store advertising is any form of printed marketing material that companies use to promote their products or services within a physical store. It can include posters, banners, booths and shelf Talkers.
Depending on the type of advertisement, print advertising can be classified into:
- Classified advertising: these ads are usually short, text-based ads placed in a specific category in a newspaper or magazine. They are relatively cheaper than other ads, but do not have much space to include detailed information.
- Display advertising: These are larger ads that take the form of text, images, or both. They can be placed anywhere in the newspaper or magazine, and companies can choose the size and placement they prefer. Display ads are more expensive than classified ads, but are more effective in terms of reach and visibility.
- Advertorials: Advertorials are paid articles that look like editorial content but are actually advertisements. They usually contain information about the company, such as its products and services. Advertorials are a good way to improve a company’s visibility and build trust among potential customers.
The importance of print advertising
Even in this digital age, print advertising remains an important marketing tool for businesses. Here are some of the reasons:
Print ads reach areas that other marketing channels don’t: there are people who don’t use the Internet or social media. Print ads allow companies to reach these people and promote their products or services.
Print advertising is ideal for local businesses: Local businesses can use print ads to target people in their area. This is a great way to increase brand awareness and build trust with potential customers. In addition, print ads are often cheaper than other marketing channels, such as television or radio.
Reach multiple generations: Print ads can reach people of all ages, and this is important for companies that want to target multiple generations with their marketing campaigns.
Print advertising is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of advertising that can be effective in reaching a wide audience. Print advertising can be used to promote both consumer and industrial products.
In addition, the message can be controlled: Companies have total control over the content of their print ads. They can choose what information to include and how to present it.
Advantages of print advertising
This form of advertising is really important because:
- It is very informative: Print advertising provides a lot of information about products and services, which can be very useful to potential customers. This is usually more than any other form of advertising, such as television or radio.
- It is less intrusive: Print advertising is less intrusive than other forms of advertising, such as pop-ups and banners. People can choose whether or not to read an ad, and can do so at their own pace.
- It is reliable: Print ads are often considered more reliable than other forms of advertising, such as online ads. This is because they derive their credibility from the publication in which they appear.
- It is targeted: Print ads can be targeted to specific audiences, such as those who read certain magazines or newspapers. This means that companies can be sure that their target audience will see their ad.
- It is cost-effective: Print ads are cost-effective, especially when compared to other forms of advertising, such as television or radio. This is because companies only have to pay for advertising space and not for airtime.
- It has a longer shelf life: Print ads have a longer shelf life than other forms of advertising, such as online ads. This is because media such as magazines and newspapers can be saved and consulted at a later date.
- Offers high engagement: Newspapers and magazines involve a conscious decision to read, leading to higher engagement with ads, as readers are already in reading mode.
- Has high recall value: Print ads have high recall value, as they tend to be seen and read multiple times.
Disadvantages of print advertising
Print advertising has a number of advantages, which is why it is still used by many companies. However, some disadvantages must be taken into account. These are:
- It is difficult to measure: One of the main disadvantages of print advertising is that it is difficult to measure. This means that companies cannot know the effectiveness of their advertisement in terms of sales or leads generated.
- It is expensive: Print advertising can be quite costly, especially if companies want to place their ad in a popular magazine or newspaper.
- It has a limited reach: Print advertising has a limited reach, as it can only be seen by people who read the specific publication. This contrasts with online advertising, which can be seen by anyone with an Internet connection.
- Non-interactive: These types of ads are also non-interactive, which means that companies cannot get feedback from potential customers in real time.
- Not editable: Print ads are not editable, which means that companies cannot make changes to their ad once it is published.
- Causes paper waste: Any form of print advertising leads to paper waste, which is bad for the environment.
- Not a viable option for a global audience: Print ads are not viable for companies that want to reach a global audience.
The future of print advertising
Although print advertising remains a popular form of advertising, it has been declining over the past decade. This is due to the rise of digital media, which has made it easier and more cost-effective for companies to reach their target audience.
Digital advertising is expected to continue to grow in popularity at the expense of print ads. However, this does not mean that print advertising is going to disappear completely. There are still many companies that find it to be an effective way to reach their target audience.
This is especially true for companies that advertise in niche markets or sell products that require high engagement, such as luxury goods.
It is therefore safe to say that print advertising will continue to be part of the advertising landscape for the foreseeable future.