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The merits of print and digital content today 

17 Nov 2022

In the last 10 years there has been a monumental change in the way we consume information. The explosion of digital devices means we are more switched on than ever before and all the information we need is with us at the touch of a button. We are more likely to obtain the latest news from scrolling through our phone as soon as we open our eyes than from reading the morning paper at breakfast or on the commute to work. Yet despite advances in digital technology, traditional print solutions continue to do well and it’s safe to say there is still an appreciation and demand for print journalism in the form of newspapers, magazines and leaflets.

According to an IPA Databank study print readers tend to be the most engaged and attentive and they are spending 24% longer reading their newspaper during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Print allows people the chance to disconnect from technology and readers value the physical presence of printed material and their associations with it. This high engagement provides a healthy return to advertisers and brands, both in terms of short-term business metrics such as sales and market share, but also longer-term business metrics such as price sensitivity, loyalty, customer acquisition and profit. Therefore, print marketing is still highly effective in helping companies reach their customers.

Where digital media really comes into its own is that it’s more beneficial for quickly browsing and searching. Digital platforms provide a more interactive and memorable experience for users and for marketing and advertising, companies on a budget can carefully focus on a very select target demographic in order to maximise their campaigns’ impact. A digital ad has the potential to offer an advertiser greater control over who sees it, which means less money wasted on people who have no interest in the general subject of the ad. Digital advertising is also particularly helpful for generating useful marketing information and metrics.

Although print and digital have their own advantages, the two can work even better together and rather than bury print, digital marketing has liberated it. The great thing about using the two is that print can lay the seed of information and customers can go online to bear the fruits, (or to find out more information). A study by Statista found that marketing campaigns that use both direct mail and one or more digital channels often experience a response rate increase of about 118% when compared to only using one or the other.

For those that say that print is dead, or on its way out, I would question this theory. Marketing is and will always be about reaching out to someone with the right message at the right time. The great thing about print and digital is that they offer more opportunities to catch consumers at the right time and can complement each other. Together they make a powerful marketing partnership and print messages will resonate more if they reinforce online messages and vice versa.

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Harriet Bush Harriet's main passion is challenging health inequities and ensuring patient information empowers patients at the point-of-need. She's an active member of the Patient Information (PIF) community and, prior to her tenure at IDS, was a seasoned comms pro working client side with health and wellness brands.