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Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Use Print Advertising

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Since launching Toddle About in 2010, we’ve seen a lot of change in the world of advertising.

Smart phones now proliferate, and the average person in the UK spends nearly 2.5 hours looking at their phones each day.

Naturally, advertising spend has followed consumers’ attention and businesses have shifted their advertising spend from more traditional media to online options.

And yet, almost paradoxically, now is one of the best times in history to get great results from print advertising.

I know that's a big claim... but it's not just my opinion!

Real, actual research from RAMetrics* indicates that print advertising is now out-performing online advertising in several ways:


Print Adverts Get More Attention

According to the research, readers are 152% more likely to pay attention to print advertising vs digital advertising (38% for print vs 25% for digital).

This could be for several reasons, but my guess is that it’s largely down to ‘speed of consumption’ and competition:

    1. Speed of consumption
      When we read a magazine or other print media, our reading process is much more linear. We like to read from left to right, from beginning to end. It is a slower reading process than the speedy, ‘skip to the good bit’ reading process we have online. As a result, we also have more time to look at the adverts that make up part of our reading experience.

    2. High Competition for Attention with Online Ads
      Online, we are inundated with marketing messages and adverts – so much so, that our in-built ‘spam filters’ work on overtime when we are browsing digital content. As a result, we scroll past ads and ‘sponsored posts’ without a second thought. When you’re a business owner paying per impression, that’s can become an expensive problem.

Print vs Digital advertising

Print Advertising Creates Stronger Brand Awareness

This time the research demonstrates that Branding is 185% stronger in print advertising vs digital advertising (37% vs 20% for digital).

This means that readers are more likely to remember your brand after seeing a print advert, versus an online advert.

From my own personal experience, I can definitely see the truth in this. I couldn’t tell you any of the online ads I saw today, but I can still recall several I have seen in my favourite magazine over the last few months.

I suppose the fact that people are more likely to pay attention to a print advert over a digital advert would naturally lead onto this. Though it’s no doubt also relevant that readers are 139% more likely to say that print ads are interesting to them (39% vs 28%) and that print ads are 141% easier to understand (52% vs 37% for digital).


Print Adverts Actually Drive More Website Visits

I have to admit, this one really surprised me.

One of the challenges of print advertising, is how to get the reader to shift medium – to go from an offline experience (of reading the advert in a magazine) to an online experience (of making an enquiry, or a booking or a purchase).

There are several techniques to enable this shift of medium (e.g. well written copy; a compelling, time-bound offer; a free giveaway; competitions etc), but it still surprised me to read that, when it comes to driving action, the RAMetrics research suggests that print advertising drives higher levels of website visits (20% vs 19% for digital).

Print also leads to more recommendations (32% vs 23% for digital) and discussions (20% vs 14% for digital). 


So Should We Ditch Digital Advertising and Plow All Our Budgets into Print instead?

Well, no. I would suggest that online advertising has a place in pretty much every business' marketing mix. It has many advantages of its own, from advanced targeting and tracking options to its ease of implementation and immediate effect.

But it’s also clear that if you’re not using print advertising in your marketing mix, then you’re probably missing a trick. And customers too.

In the end, the best marketing strategy will include multiple media - online AND print - so you are reaching your target prospects in lots of different ways. Repeated Attention is the secret sauce to an effective marketing campaign – and the best way to get repeated attention is by exposing your prospects to your messaging as many times, and in as many different ways, as possible.

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If your business offers services or products to parents (mostly mums) with children from pregnancy to 5 years old, then you will struggle to find a better place to advertise that in your local Toddle About magazine. Find out more about advertising in Toddle About.


* RAMetrics is a research company which offers media statistics on how articles, advertisements and other media communication are consumed and perceived. The company works almost exclusively with online surveys and the subsequent analysis of the content. Find out more at