It’s easy to track sales from digital ads. There’s no mystery about your return-on-investment (ROI). And if an ad campaign doesn’t produce the results you’re expecting, there are lots of ways you can optimize it.
Print ads don’t work like that. You can create unique URLs and special landing pages, but people can’t click through a print magazine. There are more barriers between your audience and your product or service. And many readers check out your website without going to the page you created for the ad . . . so you can’t even tell where they came from.
Basically what it comes down to is this: it’s harder to use sales to justify spending money on print ads. Digital ads give you better data, and more clear results.
So in the digital age, you might be wondering: are print ads even worth it?
And here’s why.
Your audience still reads print
One of the mantras of marketing is “be where your target audience is.” Who you’re trying to reach and where they spend their time should influence the social media platforms, marketing channels, and advertising opportunities you focus on.
If you’re trying to decide if print ads are worth it, the first thing you need to determine is: will it help you reach the right people?
Like websites, print magazines cultivate a specific audience. Editorial teams create content that appeals to particular demographics. If you find a magazine that’s attracting the people you’re trying to reach—the people who buy your products and services or donate to your causes—then yes, advertising in that magazine will help you reach the right audience.
Exposure to the right demographic is undeniably valuable, but that’s not all you need to know to decide if print advertising is “worth it.” The biggest challenge with print advertising is determining what you’re actually getting out of it. And since there’s no buy button for readers to click, the ROI isn’t very straightforward.
Print ads increase brand awareness
If someone has never heard of you, they’re never going to Google you. They’re not going to think of you when they need a solution in your product category. And they won’t have any prior association with your product or services if they see you listed among other solutions.
One of the biggest advantages of print advertising is brand awareness. It’s an important part of penetrating your market, and it leads people to consider your brand first if they ever need your product or services.
But print advertising isn’t just putting your name in front of the right people. It’s putting your brand in front of the right people in the right places. Print ads can create valuable associations between your brand and your publisher—a brand your target audience trusts.
If your brand appears in a magazine your audience respects—next to, say, articles by pastors and thought leaders—readers will associate you with that magazine, because that’s where they found you. And how they feel about that magazine shapes their first impression of your brand.
While it’s hard to measure, it’s also likely that print ads have a stronger impact on brand awareness than other types of advertising. Consumers have a more favorable view of print advertising than TV, radio, or digital ads. And people are 70 percent more likely to recall your brand after seeing it in a print ad than a digital ad.
Print ads last longer
When your digital advertising campaign ends, no one will ever see your ad again. But that’s not how print ads work. You’re creating physical ads, and they have a much longer shelf-life. How long your ad lasts depends on how valuable the magazine itself is.
If the magazine helps your target audience grow professionally, spiritually, and/or personally, they may keep past issues to refer to them again and again. Or they might keep them at work on a desk or a table, where they can loan issues out to others. A single copy of a single issue of a magazine could represent many impressions of your brand from multiple people in your niche.
You’re attaching your brand to a resource. And your ad lasts for as long as that resource has value.