Does Print's Physicality Matter?
Humans were designed to touch and feel. Print—a gloriously tactile media—caters to this need. No wonder it delivers results!
While much of the marketing world's attention seems to be turned to the digital arena, print continues to be an extremely effective part of the marketing mix. When you think about the emotional impact that print's physicality has, it's easy to see why print works.
Perhaps it's because it exists in the physical world that print is so capable of grabbing our attention. From the magazines sitting in the doctor's waiting room to the newspapers in the rack at your favorite coffee place and the letters and fliers that arrive in your mail, print has a way of calling out to be picked up and read.
Many people find that there's just something enjoyable about holding a printed piece in their hands. Print stimulates the senses. You can feel the texture of the paper, turn the pages, see the colors as they were meant to be seen. Print can be shared, thumbed through and dog-eared. Coupons and articles can be cut or torn out and set aside. Plus, of course, print is always available, no connectivity required.
Print not only provides a warm and friendly experience that no other medium offers, it also offers a sense of permanence that simply feels more trustworthy. In fact, recent studies show that consumers find print ads quite a bit more trustworthy than those they see online. While 60% of consumers trust newspaper and magazine ads, just 48% trust search advertising or online video ads, and only 42% find online banner ads worthy of their trust.1
The tactile nature of print undoubtedly contributes to the effectiveness of newspaper and magazine ads. One recent study shows that newspaper ads rank noticeably higher than ads on radio, TV or online-only sites when it comes to measures of advertising effectiveness such as "usually notice ads" and "likely to purchase."2 Another recent study shows that magazines outperform TV and online for critical purchase drivers such as brand awareness, brand favorability and brand purchase intent.3 In contrast, social media – the darling of the marketing world – may not be that darling after all. In a recent survey of more than 1,700 social media marketers, less than 8% were actually happy with their efforts and 21% were so dissatisfied that they're ready to replace their social spend with more traditional buys.4
Print is gloriously tactile, which makes it capable of engaging audiences in a way that other media simply cannot.
1Nielsen, Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages, September 2013
2 Nielsen, 2013 National Cross-Media Engagement Study
3 MPA, Magazine Media Fact Book, 2016-2017
4 iMedia Connection, The Declining Value of Social Marketing, Jan. 15, 2014.