For many years, people have been predicting the demise of print media, and our friends in print can’t seem to catch any breaks. In 2020, Magna Global predicts that print media will be hit with a 25% decrease in ad sales thanks to the coronavirus. (Initial forecasts for the year previously projected a 17% decline.) Yet, newspapers have endured many hardships in the past - recessions, the expansion of television news, the internet - and it continues to persist. That’s because, according to the Pew Research Center, more than 69% of all domestic news revenue is derived from advertising, and there are plenty of advantages of newspaper advertising that are not going away anytime soon.
Print circulation of newspapers has been on the decline for many years now. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2018 weekday print circulation decreased 12% and Sunday print circulation decreased 13%. Regardless of how newspaper circulation has suffered over the decades, it’s still a popular medium. In a given month, newspapers reach 69% of Americans according to a 2016 Nielsen Scarborough survey. Print remains the most popular format, with 81% of respondents saying they read newspapers. For 51% of the respondents, print media is the only format by which they get their news.
Newspapers are the backbone of print media, having existed for hundreds of years, so in honor of newspapers and the benefits they continue to bring local communities, allow us to expound on some of the advantages of newspaper advertising that are worthy of attention.
The Advantages of Newspaper Advertising
From an advertising perspective, newspapers are a reliable and fast way to inject yourself into the culture of a community. An excellent example of this is how artist Jay-Z utilized local newspapers to honor George Floyd. Joining with families who have lost sons to police violence, along with fellow activists and attorneys, he took out full-page ads in editions of newspapers such as the Denver Post, the Austin American Statesman, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the New York Times and others. Obviously, advertising in newspapers is still a powerful way to communicate and target your message, among other benefits.
Bring Trust and Value
Numerous surveys have demonstrated over the years that consumers trust print more than digital sources. This is also true of advertising. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 65% of those surveyed in North America say they trust ads they see in newspapers. That’s more than ads on TV, on the radio, from emails they signed up to receive, on mobile devices, in outdoor advertising, on branded websites, or even in magazines. After earned media (things such as recommendations from family or friends or consumer reviews online), newspaper ads are seen as the most trusted.
Improve Brand Recall
No matter the content of the ad, if the goal when putting it out there is not to increase your awareness and be top-of-mind, what’s the point? The advantages of newspaper advertising in helping our human brains comprehend and retain knowledge are extensive.
First and foremost, we engage with print ads differently than other ads. Unlike other mediums like TV or the radio, when you read the newspaper you’re just reading the paper. You aren’t commuting to work, folding laundry, cooking dinner, working out at the gym or any of the hundreds of other tasks we do throughout the day. Unlike a 30 second ad interrupting regular programming, these static pages make it easier for readers to follow content and absorb all of the information presented to them.
People can also remember information better if they read it in a newspaper versus online. Without getting too much into the evolution of reading and writing in the human brain, essentially, when we manipulate pages or paper while reading, it builds connections between abstract ideas and the content, thus encouraging better comprehension and memory retention.
Digital ads are also just harder on our brains, as well. Compared with paper, screens drain more of our mental resources. A study from the Canada Post Corporation found that it takes 21% more cognitive load to process information through digital platforms compared with print media. 75% of participants in the study could recall print ads post-exposure, while only 44% could recall the same information in a digital ad.
Spur a Call to Action
It’s only common sense that if consumers remember what they’ve seen and trust its validity, they’re more likely to act on it. Globally, 60% of consumers trust newspapers, but 63% will always or sometimes take action on a newspaper ad, according to Nielsen. Of all age groups, Millennials and Gen-Xers are the most likely to take action on a newspaper ad, both at 62%.
Newspaper ads are also helpful for consumers looking to make a purchase. A 2016 survey from MarketingSherpa showed that 82% of users trust what they read in print ads when they’re about to make a purchasing decision. This is more than any other medium.
Drive Emotional Connections and Engagement
One of the advantages newspaper advertising has over other mediums is its physicality. Multiple studies confirm that paper encourages emotional responses much more than digital mediums do. That’s because it feels more “real” to our brains, and when something becomes real, it becomes more personal.
A joint study from Temple University and the United States Postal Service - which admittedly focused on direct mail advertising rather than newspapers specifically - measured subjects’ heart rates, sweat, movement and breathing while reading to determine their emotional responses to print media. The results indicated that consumers spend more time with physical ads than their digital counterparts, and when viewing print ads, participants had a stronger emotional response and remembered them better. The physical nature of print encourages readers to spend more time with print ads and has a longer-lasting impact than other mediums whose content is transitory.
The Advantages of Our Media Stewards
The Ward Group has been helping clients utilize the advantages of newspaper advertising since our founding. Print ads are both the oldest and the least sophisticated medium in terms of targeting, market research and analytics. We understand the degree of detail and planning necessary to achieve success.
Not only must your creative resonate, it needs to be seen by the right audience in the right publications. There can be daily, weekly, monthly and even quarterly publication cycles to consider. Internally, the departments of magazines and newspapers can also create confusion. Our attentive team of media planners and buyers at The Ward Group will handle the coordination of all the moving parts for you.
Our media stewards won’t just negotiate your media buys. We lend you our expertise in the marketplace, ensuring that newspaper advertising is the right choice for your brand and that you choose the right papers to best connect with your target audience. We’ll give you informed recommendations on which publications to target, which size and positioning to consider and what will be the most visually impactful for your consumers.
To learn how newspapers can fit within your media plan, reach out to The Ward Group today!