Should Print Still Be A Part Of Your Media Mix?
September 2017

The Case For Keeping Print In Your Media Mix

As magazines get slimmer and the world becomes more and more digital, it’s no wonder brands are questioning if print is worth their continued investment.

By The Numbers

It’s true that consumer-space media spend is trending toward digital more and more each year. Consumers are spending more time on their devices, and advertisers are hurrying to follow. Despite ubiquitous print-is-dead headlines, consumers are still reading magazines for leisure and research. While digital media spending is expected to outpace print spending in the B2C space in the next few years, print still takes a heavy share of media budgets in the B2B space, with no signs of an impending shift.

There’s good reason B2B companies are sticking around in print media, though. B2B consumers consider industry publications to be a research tool. In a 2016 Meredith Agricultural media study, 98 percent of farmers reported using agricultural magazines as a source of information for ag products and services. That same study found that 56 percent of farmers ranked agricultural magazines in their top three preferred media. Only 27 percent ranked websites as a top three preferred media.

Besides its standing as a preferred research tool for B2B consumers, magazine advertising is a stand-out in another field—neuroscience. Studies on reading have found that paper-based reading requires more focused attention than on-screen reading, which, in turn, leads to higher recall and comprehension of print content—both important factors against common Key Performance Indicators (KPI). In fact, a study by MNI concluded that printed content had a 70 percent higher recall than digital content. Studies by researchers focusing on the differences between on-paper and on-screen reading have found that on-screen reading is less focused and less in-depth than its on-paper counterpart. Further, a Millward Brown study found that ads on physical materials (paper) lead to more emotional connections than digital ads. 

Part Of The Media Mix And Practical Applications

Consumers see magazines as a quality medium that they can trust, which lends inherent credibility to advertisers in trusted magazines. According to a 2016 iab study, 82 percent of US internet users trust print ads when making a purchase decision—the highest of all media.

When planning for the next fiscal year, brands should consider the effectiveness of cross-platform campaigns and not take an either/or approach and choose between print and digital. In fact, MNI reports that adding magazine insertions to a digital buy increased persuasion metrics by 10 percent.

There’s never been a one-size-fits-all approach to media planning, but it’s always been important to have a balanced approach to media planning. Brands should research specific publications their audiences are utilizing for research and purchase decisions and take advantage of this trustworthy medium. While some titles are broad, there is no shortage of niche publications with little audience waste, making print advertising a key opportunity in a B2B media plan. 

What The Future Holds

Magazines know that as customers spend more time on their devices, there’s opportunity for cross-platform content. The future of magazines is as multimedia brands, with opportunities for advertisers to satisfy multifaceted media strategies and tactics. 

About Littlefield
Founded in 1980, our Top 25 North American B-to-B agency specializes in companies who sell through a strong dealer/distributor network.