The debate between print advertising and digital advertising is alive and well. The increasing use of technology in our lives has prompted a shift to digital, but does this mean you should abandon print all together and go all digital? Not necessarily. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the best type of advertising for your business can be determined by learning your target market’s preferences, considering your advertising budget, and testing both options. You may find that print is better for you than digital, vice versa, or that a combination of the two is the way to go.

How do I know if my target market prefers print or digital?

Learning if your target market prefers print or digital is the first step to determining best type of advertising for your business. The goal of advertising is to reach your audience, and if you know their information collecting preferences you can determine the type of advertising that will best reach them. You can learn which outlet is preferred by your target market by: looking at print readership demographics, looking at your (or a similar company’s) social media following, examining purchase data or conducting a focus group. The first two methods will give you a basic idea if your target market lives in the print or digital world, but a focus group will give you the most accurate answer due to control you possess as the conductor. Focus group can be time consuming and expensive, which makes comparing readership and social follow is a great first step.

Why is my advertising budget influential?

Your budget plays a very important role because print advertising and digital advertising are priced differently. Print is generally priced based on reach (number of people who will see your ad) and digital advertising is generally priced on interactions (number of people that click on your ad). If you have a limited budget, digital may be best for you because you have much more control over your campaign spending. If people do not interact, or click on, your ad, you will not be charged. You can also schedule your campaign to stop once you’ve reached your budget or turn off your campaign manually if you are not satisfied with the results. Print advertising does not have these luxuries, but it print “guarantees” reach (usually a very large reach that is based on readership) and therefore is generally more expensive.

How to test the two options?

Testing both options is the best way to determine if print or digital advertising is better for you. When it’s all said and done, ROI should be the metric used to make your decision. It is more difficult to measure ROI from print advertising compared to digital advertising, but it can be done. By including coupons, promo codes, a specific contact number, or a specific website URL in your advertisements, you are able to determine the number leads and sales your ad campaigns generate. ROI from digital advertising can be measured very similarly to print. By using conversion tracking programs like Google Analytics and marketing automation platforms with campaign tracking features like SharpSpring and Hubspot, you can determine how many people saw your ad, clicked on it, went to your website, and then made a purchase (converted). Most online advertising programs have analytic tools, which makes measuring reach very easy as well. By comparing dollars invested in each campaign to dollars generated by each campaign, you can then determine which one is best for you.

The debate between print and digital advertising will likely continue well into the future. Instead of blindly following the pack, learn where your target market sources information, consider your budget, and test both options to determine if print, digital, or a combination of the two is best for your business.

Questions? Feel free to comment below, give us a call at 415-892-5252, or send me a message.

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