Naysayers have been sharing the overused and untrue expression “print is dead” since the emergence of e-commerce and the digital age in the 21st century.

More than two decades into the dawn of digital advertising, print is very much alive. In fact, consumers are proving the narrative to be a myth as studies continually find print is more memorable and people prefer their marketing in tangible form.

Print Media Continues to Grow Following the 2020 Pandemic

2020 was a disruptive year for many industries due to the pandemic, but companies remain dedicated to saving space for print advertising in their budgets because they know it’s effective.

The global print media market is expected to grow from $287.87 billion in 2020 to $313.28 billion in 2021 for a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent, according to findings from the report, “Print Media Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030.”

Consumers Trust Print the Most

A recent survey of 1,200 consumers asked, “In general, which type of advertising channels do you trust more when you want to make a purchase decision?” Consumers then sorted the options into “Ads I Trust,” and “Ads I don’t Trust.”

Print ads, such as those found in newspapers and magazines, were the number one most trusted advertising channel, with 82 percent responding in favor of print advertisements. Ads and catalogs received via direct mail ranked third on the list, with 76 percent of respondents trusting that advertising channel.

Online pop-up ads, ads in podcasts, mobile phone ads, online banner ads, social media ads, and sponsored blog posts were the five least-trusted channels.

Consumers are More Engaged with Printed Material

Data shows consumers are more likely to open direct mail over emails. They are also more inclined to take action following a printed advertisement than they are to react to digital marketing.

A whopping 80 to 90 percent of direct mail gets opened, compared to email marketing’s 20-30 percent open rate.

Despite the common misconception that younger generations prefer digital over print media, a recent survey of millennials found direct mail is more effective at getting them to take action than emails. When asked “Which is more effective at getting you to take action?”, 30 percent of millennials said direct mail, compared to just 24 percent who said email is the effective medium.

Print Advertising is More Memorable

Studies have found cognitive recall of a brand is better with printed material than digital material.

A study by neuromarketing firm TrueImpact for the Canada Post compared the brain’s response to direct mail pieces with digital media such as emails and displayed ads. Researchers found direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than digital media, making it both easier to understand and more memorable.

Participants in the study were asked to cite the brand of an advertisement they had just seen. Recall of the direct mail pieces was 70 percent higher than digital ads.

Print Media has a Longer Lifespan than Digital Media

Digital media expires. Whether it’s skimmed over or ignored in someone’s inbox or the clock runs out on a paid pop-up advertisement, the lifespan is limited. Print media can live on an office table for months. It can sit on someone’s refrigerator for weeks. It can be handed over to neighbors or peers. It has a sense of permanence in our lives that digital media lacks.

Studies have proven the lifespan of a material ad is longer than a digital one. A study found the shelf-life of direct mail is 17 days, compared to an email’s average shelf life of two seconds.

There’s No Opt-in or Opt-Out Button for Print Advertising

Businesses have to entice a consumer to subscribe or provide their email address in order to send them emails. At any moment, a customer can decide to unsubscribe from the solicitation. The same is not true for direct mail marketing. There’s no limitation for sending mail to a person’s home, and physical addresses are public information.

Direct Mail Can’t be Blocked or Filtered as Spam

There’s always a chance an email advertisement will be filtered to junk mail, spam, or a promotional folder, and a consumer won’t ever see the advertisement. There’s no separate mailbox for printed marketing material.

A growing number of people are so annoyed with pop-ups and ads, they are blocking them. A recent report found 45 percent of respondents use an adblocker to avoid digital marketing.

Consumers don’t feel the same about print materials. 59 percent of respondents in a study agreed with the statement, “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”

Find the Right Combination for Your Marketing Campaign

While there remains clear value in print media, the above information does not necessarily mean advertisers should abandon their digital strategy altogether.

Industry experts find that digital advertising continues to offer an immediate return on investment, while print strategies are more effective at helping brands acquire new customers. The two methods should be used to complement each other, rather than being in competition.

Allegra Centers provide graphic design, printing, mailing, promotional products, and marketing services needed by virtually every local business and organization. Learn more about how you can benefit from the unsurpassed network support provided by Alliance Franchise Brands as an Allegra Marketing Print Mail Center owner.