Way back then, people would pick up a daily from newspaper stands, read a paperback while waiting in line, or send greeting cards to loved ones. These days, you can do all these things with one small device that fits perfectly in one’s palm.
Which leads up to the question: is print media dead? And more specifically, for marketers: is print advertising dead? Before we presume anything, let’s weigh in available data and projections.
Digital vs. Print Media Statistics
The existence of digital and print media both depend on consumers’ demand. In short, either one will cease to exist if no one wants to consume it. With that in mind, we can safely assume that looking at usage rates will give us a good grasp of whether a medium is thriving or not.
Let’s look at the following data related to digital and traditional media consumption:
- Data from Statista tells us that people in the US aged 18 years and older spend an average of 451 minutes a day on digital media in 2020.
- Digital media daily consumption was 403 minutes in 2019.
- As for traditional media, Americans spend an average of 363 minutes a day listening to the radio, watching television, and reading newspapers and magazines in 2020.
- The average traditional media consumption in 2019 was 348 minutes.
- Digital media may reign supreme over traditional media today, but it obviously wasn’t always the case. In 2011, the average daily consumption of traditional media was 453 minutes, while digital media was only 214.
- The upward trend of digital media intersected with traditional media’s downward trend in 2018.
By looking at these numbers, one can project that the trends seem to be consistent. Digital media consumption takes up more and more of our time as years go by, while the opposite seems to be true for its old school counterpart.
Why Print Media Is Still Relevant
Given the statistics above, will we see print media die a slow but sure death in the years to come? Many analysts say that while apps may continue to flourish, print media will isn’t going anywhere.
Here are key arguments why print media, particularly print ad, is here to stay:
- Permanence. Digital ads are temporary. For instance, a Facebook ad would cease to exist once the campaign ends. The opposite is true for print ads. Once you have a poster or a flyer in hand, it’s yours to keep for as long as you want. You won’t have to download anything or charge a device to access the material. Ever wonder how some vintage ads created about half a century ago still have a strong appeal? It’s all about creating a catchy ad and ensuring proper exposure.
- Genuine Connection. Email marketing may be the fastest way to reach your audience. However, it can also be a very impersonal way to approach your target market. After all, people feel closer to brands when they see physical ads or hold tangible marketing materials like flyers. In some ways, using print can also make a brand look more authentic than using new media alone.
- Marketing Advantage. Research says people are likely to keep a printed ad for 17 days. They might put it in the glove compartment if they’re not very interested. Or they might keep it on their planner if it’s something they want to purchase later. Either way, it’s better than the fleeting two seconds they’ll spend on a random social media ad.
So, print media may be here to stay. But where does it stand amid the unavoidable digital shift? The answer can be simple – using both mediums to complement each other.
Tips for Marketers in an Age of Convergence
Media convergence is the merging of previously distinct technologies to form a new system. In the case of print, many media outfits combine print and digital materials to form an extensive package. For instance, the New York Times offers print subscription packages that also come with unlimited access to NYTimes.com and NYTimes app.
How does a marketer tread in a world where people embrace tech but are still holding on to old school ways? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know who your audience is in print and online. This will help you create effective strategies in both. For instance, some of your more mature readers may see your print ad design. Your younger prospects, on the other hand, may see your ads online. Make sure that you’re releasing the right message using the right channel.
- Most media outfits that have embraced convergence offer different ad packages depending on where you want the ad to appear. For example, ad rates on print alone may be cheaper than if it’s also to appear on their online platforms. Consider these factors to ensure that you’re not wasting ad spend on a channel that you don’t need.
- Know the difference between ad aesthetics online and in print. For instance, serif fonts work well for print, including magazine ad designs. Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, look better on gadget screens. Typography is just one factor to consider, and it’s crucial to know the important factors in design.
- Use tools and resources available to make the most out of converged media. After all, designing different ads for print and online media can be taxing. An unlimited graphic design service like Penji can help you get as many designs as you need for both media.
What Does the Future Hold for Print Ads?
Since the early 2000s, there have been predictions that print media is on its way to demise. Print media outfits lamenting dropping sales make us feel like a paperless world is just around the corner. However, data shows us that though readership has declined, it’s still there.
Gadgets may grow more convenient and advanced, but the joy you can get from reading an actual printed material won’t diminish over time. So, though it’s hard to know for sure what the future holds for print media, the future remains bright for print media, and with it, print ads. In the end, it’s all about using the right tools and learning the best approach to navigate media convergence.