There might just be a way to put the entire print vs digital marketing debate to rest. Surprised? Recent neuroscientific research reveals that the way our brain works when we read print is very different from the way it works when we read online. In fact, neuroscience goes so far as to prove that print is able to impact the brain in ways the digital medium does not. And, this affects the reader’s ability to comprehend, recognize and even recall at a later time.
While both print and digital marketing are good ways to reach out to your target audience, studies show that print advertising is more effective in increasing the business footprint on a local level.
Print advertising channels have played a significant role in driving business growth. And, although the onset of digital marketing seemed to be a threat to print, there is no denying that print advertising is going to remain relevant for a long time to come.
What Research Shows
Scientific research does support the idea that print advertising is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to influencing consumer behavior positively.
- Print ads require 21% less cognitive effort to process as compared to digital ads, according to a marketing study, sponsored by Canada Post and conducted by TrueImpact.
- Both comprehension and recall are better when the content is read on paper, as compared to online.
- In the absence of time constraints, the comprehension of individuals who read on paper has been found to be higher by ten points than those using a digital device.
- Analysis of paper advertising campaigns found that paper ads aroused a better emotional response than on-screen ones, with people likely to remember the former up to a week later. This was due to an increase in activity of the hippocampus, which is the main part of the brain responsible for long term memories, and the para-hippocampal area, used for memory retrieval.
A Balanced Approach
Neuroscience clearly show that paper-based ads have the ability to create a better impact than digital ads. However, it cannot be denied that the world of digital advertising has its own benefits to offer, such increased customization, ubiquity, multi-media targeting and more.
Business owners must, therefore, understand how readers react to both forms of advertising and take advantage of both mediums.
For instance, digital advertisements should be brief and concise, while print ads do well when they contain elaborate detail. This is because print ads can be read with greater ease and evoke the reader’s imagination, while digital ads are usually skimmed through superficially.
So, the bottom line is that we cannot sacrifice one for the other. An integrated, multi-channel approach is likely to bring the best results for any marketing campaign. More importantly, marketers will need to understand how people interact with each medium and design their ads accordingly.
Coming back to the raging debate, the bottom line is that we need all the help we can get to reach out to our target audience. And, print continues to be a very relevant way to achieve just that.