Relevancy of Print in a Digital World

Relevancy of Print in a Digital World

Are we entering a new “Golden Age” of advertising? According to Dr. Sean Carton, Chief Creative Officer and Professor of the Practice at the University of Baltimore, a new age of advertising is not coming, it is here. In the 1950s, when consumerism boomed and the US economy was at an all-time high, families started competing with each other to acquire the latest developments in home entertainment along with other goods that related to the luxury lifestyle. This led the country into the era that has become known as the “Golden Age” of advertising. During this time, print advertising was at the forefront of almost every major advertising campaign. The reason for this renaissance, per say, is that for the first time in history, content could be produced and distributed to literally millions of people at once. Because of this mass distribution of content, mass creation of consensus emerged.

During this time, Leo Burnett started arguably the most influential and successful ad campaign of all time with the Marlboro Man. This campaign ran primarily through print, starting in 1955 and became the most widely recognized advertising icon in history along with making Marlboro the world’s best-selling cigarettes. The ability to have this kind of effect through print advertising in todays advertising world is much more difficult.

With so much of our time now spent on mobile devices, the opportunity for advertisers to enter a new world of media arrived with the advent of the internet and digital advertising. According to Forbes, mobile ad revenues jumped 145% to more than $3 billion in the first half of 2013 from the same period in 2012, accounting for 15% of online advertising revenues. With so much optimism amongst advertisers about social media, video, and other forms of digital advertising, the opportunity to reach a larger, more diverse audience is more apparent than ever.

With the rise of digital advertising, it was nearly impossible for print media to keep up. Even though print media has been on a decline, it still plays a vital role amongst advertisers. When used correctly, it can boost your marketing campaign and help increase brand awareness and sales. Traditional media still plays a major role in people’s lives and to ignore it completely is not a smart thing for any company to do. Traditional print media tends to have a very long shelf life and will continue to be seen long after it is out of circulation. So how do you determine the true cost of conversion for print media? How do you track it?

In the past few years’ marketers have been able to implement several systems that have been proficient in monitoring the effectiveness of print. One of these systems has been the use of sub-domains in a URL. By placing a sub-domain in the URL of an ad and giving the reader a reason to visit the sub-domain, it becomes easier to track conversions from a specific ad. This can also be used in the comparison of different ads from different publications. When a reader takes the time to visit a subdomain a company can feel confident that a strong connection was made. Companies want to know that their investment is worth more than a quick glance, and the use of a subdomain assures them of that quality of conversion. Overall, this is a very simple and successful way to track conversions from print advertisements.

Another simple, yet effective, way to track conversions through print media is through the use of coupon codes. By using ads that incorporate coupons, marketers are able to track exactly when, where, and for what a coupon was used for. This also gives marketers very valuable demographic information based on the location in which the coupon was used. This helps marketers determine where to focus future ad campaigns for similar products. Coupons provide an incentive for customers to visit a specific store or website while at the same time providing a very operational way to track conversions.

Through both of these systems, advertisers and marketers are able to see just how successful, or unsuccessful, a print campaign is. It is vital that some sort of measure is taken to ensure that the return on investment of a print campaign is worth it to the company.

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