PRINT VS DIGITAL | THE DEBATE
Written by Georgia Smith
Last updated: 02/07/2019
Our reading habits are changing. Digital media is expanding and as technology continues to innovate it is becoming arguably the quickest and easiest media for readers to access. With this, many are beginning to question the future of print.
In this article, Yachting Pages delves into the current ongoing debate within the world of media, looking into the advantages of both print and digital, to uncover whether print is really dead?
The benefits of print
The trust and value of print
One of the simplest, yet most significant, advantages of print is the level of trust it preserves. Since the first newspaper was published in the 1600s, print has been a respectable source for many millennia. Having all grown up surrounded by magazines, newspapers and books, we often regard print materials as very credible sources of information.
The longevity of print material is also considered superior to that of digital. According to Forbes, who used statistics from neuromarketing firm TrueImpact, people are 70% more likely to recall a print ad compared to online. Print articles also tend to have a much longer physical life span whereas, in comparison, digital content can be much more short-term. As the online world is continuously being updated, online advertisements can easily get lost. You are constantly competing with fresh articles which could mean yours may disappear after a day or two. Printed materials can last between a matter of days and even years, giving print the upper hand in terms of longevity and prolonged publicity.
Print’s physical experience
Readers still value the physical affair; engaging with print materials, flicking through the pages. They can enjoy an experience with print that digital simply cannot provide, browsing through a magazine, feeling the paper running through their fingers – its all about the tangibility.
Subsequently, print articles tap into the reader’s haptic memory.Haptic memory: information that can be recalled that was originally collected through physically touching or feeling something.
Our haptic memory (also known as tactile memory) works by retaining an ephemeral impression of an environmental stimulus, even when the original source of information is not present. Preserving this knowledge allows us to send the most important pieces of information over to our short-term memory.
Know your print audience
Every printing channel comes with its own collection of advantages. Each platform is best suited to a specific purpose, for example, magazines are usually used to entertain, newspapers to inform and health brochures to advise. It is crucial that when creating and publishing content, whether it be digitally or using print, that you have a clear understanding of what the purpose is and who your target audience is. Knowing this, you can adapt your content piece and decide how/where to publish it accordingly.
Print is still expanding
Despite the intense competition from digital media, print is still evolving to stay fresh and innovative. With features like 3D technology and interactive elements, print materials are coming to life. Augmented reality is an example of how print materials are becoming much more interactive, offering readers the opportunity to scan an icon or image using their smartphone which will then stream in digital content. QR codes can also be used by print marketers to enable readers to scan an image or code using a QR code reader on their mobile device. This will direct them to a relevant web page – a way to combine print and digital together.
The benefits of digital
Digital has become such a huge part of our culture and lives – it is impossible to overlook. We use it to read the latest news stories, discover new brands, find product and service reviews and importantly, share this with others using social media.
Digital is available anytime, anywhere
One of the obvious benefits to using digital as a media platform is the new ‘anytime, anywhere’ level of convenience it has introduced. Our reading habits are changing, we often now opt to read a news story using the internet, rather than going out to the shop and buying a newspaper. Digital publications are permanently accessible, whether that be on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop. Not only is it convenient for readers, but also to produce. Digital media eliminates printing costs, allowing marketers to invest this money in promoting content online, e.g. using social media ads to increase visibility.Find out more about social media marketing
Targeting users using digital
Flexibility. Another advantage to digital content marketing is the flexibility of the targeting. Digital allows you to target specific viewers; analysing results, refining and making relevant adjustments. Providing the ability to adapt content based on the interests and behaviours of readers is unique to digital. The highly personalised interactions increase the chance of conversions – another digital win!
Digital inspires readers to act
Digital is persuasive. Due to the convenient location of digital articles (on the internet) readers are right where we want them to be; surrounded by temptation and able to make a purchase with the click of a button. Strategically placed hyperlinks, buttons and call-to-actions are the keys to unlocking the buyer’s journey. A study by SiriusDecisions showed that buyers tend to carry out 67% of their buyer journey digitally. The inspiration from the article combined with the convenience and ease of users already being on their device can prompt great success for companies.
Print vs Digital: The conclusion
Why waste time deliberating between the two?
Print and digital both have their place in the world of marketing, content and media. Each providing their own advantages, to get the best results for your business it is important to use the two in partnership.
It is crucial that you have a clear understanding of what the purpose of your content is and who your target audience is. This will help you to determine how to divide the two resources, which to prioritise and which content will be best suited to each platform.
Whether your strategy is to focus on print and use digital to increase awareness, or home-in on digital with the odd print piece to engage with your users in a different way, it is certainly of benefit to utilise the two platforms together.Find out more about content marketing
So no, print is not dead. The key is finding an effective way to use print and digital simultaneously, whilst considering a method to best suit your marketing strategy, which will help your business to flourish.