Is Print Relevant in the Digital Age?

While many tend to speculate that print is dying in the digital age, it’s just not the case when you look at magazine publication data. In many cases, the recent trend has translated into the publications’ readerships being culled to only the most engaged, noted Molly Soat, author of Why Print Matters.

If you have time to read a magazine, then you’re going to really engage with the ads in there, which is a desirable trait, from an advertising standpoint.

A Huffington Post article, Is Print Really Dead, by John P. David, illustrates this point perfectly with his example.

Meredith Publishing launched a print magazine based on the popular website, one of the dominant recipe references online. But if the website draws a ton of traffic to an efficient, online venue, why launch a recipe magazine — asking people to pay for something they can get for free online? In an interview on Bloomberg TV, the CEO of Meredith explained most people search online for recipes which they already know, or are aware, of. However, they will read a magazine to get inspiration or to learn about new recipes. A print magazine, with nice pictures and inventive ideas, can still inspire people to do and buy things in ways that the web can’t.

Andy Blau, senior vice president of finance and advertising at New York-based magazines publisher, Time Inc., believes that print establishes brand worthiness in the market place, from communicating very broadly, with a wide reach, to the right target audience. Many brands are finding ways to create magazines as an extension of their brand, building a community surrounding their specific niche.

According to the CNN Money article, Print’s not dead. Here’s proof, menswear startup Frank & Oak, headquartered in Montreal, is pouring resources into the supposedly “antiquated” medium of magazines. “We looked high and low, but couldn’t find a magazine that covered all the things we’re passionate about,” wrote Ethan Song, co-founder of Frank & Oak. “We are building a community of artists and entrepreneurs with a desire to make a small dent in the world.”

And other companies, like Airbnb, are also entering the world of print. Airbnb launched a magazine, Pineapple, focused less about promoting the brand, and more about inspiring people to travel (which, by extension, would encourage them to use Airbnb).

So, while the rumor mill indicates that print may be dead, that couldn’t be further from the truth when applied to magazines. Like many traditional advertising mediums, print is evolving and cultivating an audience that will offer advertisers an opportunity to engage with consumers interested in their specific niche.

Key Take-Aways

  • Print isn’t dead; publications’ readerships are now embraced by only the most engaged.

  • Print advertising is a very efficient way of establishing a brand identity and for communicating that to the target market.

  • Print ads should inspire you to look at them even longer.

  • Advertisers must realize that proving ROI for print is not an instantaneous process, like digital advertising.

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