Print remains incredibly powerful for advertising

“How sexy is print? It’s so unsexy you can hardly talk about it,” said Staffan Hultén, Vice President and Founder, RAM Research and Analysis of Media, Sweden. Yet as his presentation made clear, print is still an incredibly effective advertising medium.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | June 11, 2014

For example, print is extremely good at building a brand’s familiarity with readers, he said. That is important because people tend to think more positively about brands they are aware of.

Hulté, speaking at WAN-IFRA’s World Advertising Forum in Torino, Italy on Wednesday, also noted that it is important to realize that “not all media reach are created equal – you cannot compare reach to reach.”

Frequency is very valuable, but “We tend not to talk about frequency, we talk about lack of reach,” he said.

“Advertising fatigue” across media is becoming a problem, Hultén said, as people are getting more and more tired of ads and are increasingly turning to ad blockers for browsers, mobile and TV. However, people are less bothered by print ads because unlike the other media, people feel they have control over whether or not they look at print ads, and it’s precisely this lack of control that leads them to want to block out ads on other media.

He offered these 10 watertight laws of print:

  • Ad size matters – people remember larger ads better than smaller ones.
  • Print is very good at singing the praises of a brand.
  • There seldom is time to solve riddles – readers look at ads for only a matter of seconds, so they aren’t likely to register anything complex.
  • The creativity paradox: the higher the level of creativity, the lower call to action there often is.
  • More homogeneous than you think.
  • Left/right page ad placement is only a political issue. There is no statistical proof at all that it matters which page an ad is on, he said. What matters is what you say, and what you sell.
  • Even infrequent newspaper readers notice ads.
  • Frequency increases call to action.
  • Print offers weak brands a stronger chance of success of being remembered by readers than digital.
  • A multimedia advertising solution trumps single media.

Hultén offered this future “forecast” for newspapers:

Newspapers will be important and will still have a role in future cross-media solutions. Readers will grow older of course, but not all of them will be 60+ years old.

Free papers will grow – partly at the expense of paid papers.

It’s still tricky to exchange print dollars for digital cents, but RTB (real time bidding) will be part of the solution.

Paywalls will mature and generally be accepted.

High-quality journalism will be difficult to maintain.

Photo by Brie Logsdon.

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