Print Advertising

Print Advertising

Media planners and buyers often fight an uphill battle with clients regarding ad placement in print. Phrases often heard are: “print is dead”, “I can’t tell you the last time I read a newspaper”, and “people still read this magazine?”  However, print is not dead and it is very much relevant to today’s marketing strategies.  Are readership and subscription numbers down? Yes, but that is actually a good thing because the advertising is now reaching those most engaged.


Paper-Based Reading vs Digital Content

Digital content is often quickly consumed. Mobile is the most used platform which means people are often on the go when reading articles or researching information of interest.  Mobile users want a brief, easy to understand content that enables them to move on to the next link in their Google search or news app.  Print or paper-based reading is different. Articles are read slower and more deliberate, which leads to longer lasting recall and greater comprehension.


Why is Print So Important?

Here are the top five responses to that question:

  1. Print ads cannot be blocked. Online technologies today allow people to download ad blockers which can prevent display ads from appearing while consuming digital content, but that is never a factor in a print publication.
  2. More information. Print ads are a great support media for other traditional medias, because more information can be provided to the consumer. Where text is suggested to be at a minimum on television ads and billboards, the sky is the limit when writing advertorials and the like for print.
  3. Undivided attention. Readers are rarely multitasking while reading print publications, like they do when consuming digital content. This means that the overall retention of information goes up.
  4. Top of the funnel medium. Like television and radio, print can support any marketing strategy by establishing brand identity and communicating to the exact target market established in the media plan.
  5. When an advertisement appears in a trusted publication, there is an implication of trust and notoriety that also includes the advertisers within the publication.


Types of Print Advertising

Print advertising is not just magazines and newspapers anymore. This media also includes direct mail, phone directory books, as well as flyers, brochures, and newsletters (just to name a few).  Media planners and buyers recognize that placing ads in various print forms provides more information to consumers.  For instance, if a local retail store is having a sale, television and radio ads can drive interest and generate excitement. Print advertising can actually illustrate what items are on sale and the cost of each item via a mailer or multi-page insert in the local newspaper.


Print Advertising Drives Action

Nielsen reports that 65% of print readers will take some form of action after looking at a print advertisement.  That translates to 65% of readers viewing a national grocery chain sale paper are more likely to visit the store and buy a product. Print ads engage the reader, as well as entice, motivate, and encourage one to take action. Because of this action, print has established itself as a valuable part of any marketing strategy and is often a favorite of media planners and media buyers.

Research by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association indicated found that over 47% of consumers are likely to move from a print ad to an online search after viewing a print ad. Think about advertising’s ultimate goal, to engage consumers, and print does an excellent job.


Key Factors to Successful Print Campaigns

  • Placement

The advertisement content, placement of the ad in the proper publications, and location of the creative within the publications is critical.  Miss any step and the ad will not be effective.

  • Brand Identity

The look, feel, and style in which the ad is crafted MUST be consistent with all other forms of advertising. Miss this mark and the target audience may not make the connection, which will reduce the overall reach and frequency of the entire media plan.

  • Quality

There are many publications that target the ideal demographic of any media plan. However, if proper research and vetting are not done to determine the quality of the magazine, newspaper, or form of print advertising, the brand identity can suffer.

  • Content

The content of the advertisement should be engaging and illustrate the benefit of taking action.  The focus must be on what is in it for the consumer. Always include a website, phone number, and address so consumers can have multiple ways to find out more information.

  • Proofing

All print advertisements must be reviewed multiple times to make sure that the message is correct, and void of any errors. Errors in print ads because of the shelf life of the creative, are often a costly mistake and can result in frustrated consumers.



The benefits of print as a support medium to television and radio, a way to drive more traffic to a website, and to give greater information to consumers far outweigh the notion that print should be pushed aside and ignored. Like all other forms of advertising, print has its proper place within a media plan and marketing strategy. Properly leveraging the power of print along with other mediums will not only increase awareness (reach and frequency) but will also work towards the ultimate goal of generating revenue.


How BluHorn Can Help

BluHorn, a 100% web based media planning and media buying software, is a major support for those media buyers placing print advertisements.  Our system offers a customized print worksheet to plan and place buys in the various print media forms.  With a built in Cost Per Inch calculator, and fields for production costs, deadlines and dimensions, all aspects of print advertising have been considered.

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