Print vs. Digital Advertising – Which Do We Prefer?

As the world around us has become more and more digitally obsessed, how do we actually feel about digital advertising compared to advertising produced in print? The results may surprise you…

Two topical subjects at current, digital adverts and targeted promotional efforts online, have become only more prominent over the past few years. With our data now being used for advertising campaigns online, many are calling into question the importance of print when it comes to delivering advertising to customers. However, a new survey commissioned by Two Sides sheds a new and surprising light on how much we tend to value digital advertising.

Print Remains Positive

According to Two Side’s survey published in June last year, titled ‘Print and Paper in a Digital World’, the results show a clear preference towards traditional print advertising over digitally produced adverts and campaigns. A breakdown of their survey findings show:

  • 71% of respondents indicated that they do not pay attention to most advertisements online, with 69% finding them both annoying and irrelevant
  • 66% of both a younger and older age demographic were unable to recall the last time they willingly clicked an online advert.
  • When asked about email advertising, 49% of those asked said that they read marketing emails at least once per week.
  • Over half of those surveyed revealed that they pay more attention to messages and ads on printed leaflets and mail than any messages delivered in an electronic format.
  • 55% claimed that they would be more likely to take an action after seeing an advert in a printed newspaper or magazine rather than if they saw the same advert online.

A Question of Trust

Security concept: pixelated Eye icon on digital background, empty copyspace for card, text, advertising, 3d render

Another highlight to be taken from their survey is the impact that recent scandals of online data handling and targeted advertising seem to have had on our trust in online news and marketing campaigns. When asked, 59% of consumers said they did not trust online advertising. This pairs up with a study on internet users in 2016 which revealed that more than 80% of those asked trusted print advertising in magazines and newspapers when making new buying choices. Only 39% of the same audience said they felt they could trust online banner ads and mobile phone adverts.

When asked to comment on the revelations made from the results of Two Side’s consumer survey, executives from Forbes Communications Council mentioned the clear positives of print as a medium, stating “Having something to hold onto makes print a more intimate medium, a characteristic that many products can benefit from. Combining social, native, digital and other efforts to saturate the audience will help tell the complete story and reach the audience where they feel comfortable interacting with the brand.”

With these findings and current discussions taking place surrounding digital advertising, it’s clear that print still reigns supreme in delivering the most effective results.



Two SidesPrint and Paper in a Digital World – An International Survey of Consumer Preferences, Attitudes and Trust

eMarketerTypes of Ads that US Internet Users Trust When Making a Purchase Decision, Oct 2016 (% of respondents)

Sam Rose