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Digital vs Print Advertising in 2018: How do they compare?

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In Allocating Your Ad Dollars, Consider Credibility, Sensory Importance, and Endurance

Digital media has clear advantages when it comes to advertising, but you are missing out if you ignore print advertising.

Online ads have some good numbers on their side. Insights4Print notes a report from Sumo Heavy which found that nearly three-quarters of media consumers in the U.K. were on social media daily and that only 11 percent never use social media.

“But it’s not all that positive: only 3.09% says that social media has a significant influence on their purchase decisions, 42.17% somewhat,” the site reported. “More than half absolutely none. When asked what influences them in their purchase decision, advertisements and sponsored posts are the lowest two in the list: 12.06% and 15.55%. Much more influential are likes by friends/family: 30.81%; product reviews/news: 53.14% and posts by friends/family: 53.24%.”

Print vs. Digital: A Tale of Two Brains

A study conducted by consumer neuroscience researchers at Temple University for the U.S. postal service found that while digital media advertising does have distinct advantages, paper and digital formats affect the brain in different ways.
In the study, researchers showed both print and digital ads to viewers and tracked their eye movements, skin conductance, and heart rate, then returned a week later and tested memory of the ads using an MRI. Results showed that digital ads were processed more quickly, had equal memory and engagement as the print ads, and resulted in the same willingness to purchase as the print ads. Print ads, however, were the clear winners when it came to the amount of time spent with the ad, emotional reaction, memory speed, desirability, and the subconscious value placed on the product.
“There are opposing forces at work here,” wrote Roger Dooley at “Marketers want to use the most effective and impactful medium, but also have to focus efforts on those media that consumers are using most. Even if we believe print ads are potentially more powerful, we have to acknowledge the massive shift to mobile devices for many daily activities. In many cases a mix of media will be the best solution. Effective print ads will drive digital purchases.”

For Building Credibility, Favor Print

Besides being instant, digital advertising has two other important benefits, found H20 Media: it’s interactive and it’s measurable. Since it’s based on digital platforms, digital ads are easy to share with friends and post for the world to see, plus each and every time someone clicks on a link and opens a page, those actions are recorded.
On the downside, though, click off the page and the ad is gone, H2O Media added. Print ads stay on kitchen counters and in car consoles and have the additional benefit of satisfying tactile desires, plus they are specific, have endless choices, and build credibility.
“Almost anyone can place a digital advertisement, but it’s a bit more difficult to advertise in a magazine,” H2O Media wrote. “Publications don’t just allow any business to run on their pages. That means when you see a product or business in a magazine, it’s typically a pretty trustworthy company. If your company is looking to build brand recognition or credibility, print advertising is the way to go.”
Print ads drive action, added Media Space Solutions, and the Nielson Global Trust reported that 65% of print readers typically take some form of action after viewing a newspaper ad.
“Successful ad campaigns reach targeted markets, effectively communicate a message, and drive action,” Media Space said. “By embracing the many advantages of print advertising and adding it to their marketing mix, advertisers can leverage the power of both print and digital to create the most awareness and revenue possible.”

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