Digital advertising has faced some issues despite its prominence in the marketing industry. Notwithstanding the promise of providing what print could not do for business owners and consumers, digital advertising still cannot do everything on its own.
Challenges like ad blockers, fraud, and mobile-friendly updates are just among the things that magazine publishers and print advertisers do not necessarily have to face when running their respective projects. That is, if the people learn from the shortcomings that print also had as a business.
With around two centuries filled with trial and errors, the print industry would have learned by now how and why it can still thrive in a digital world. After all, print also spent those years coming up with solutions to challenges that the digital side of the advertising industry is facing now.
Here are some of the relevant lessons that digital can learn from print.
Customers Dislike Ads
Just this year, a study conducted by HubSpot found that out of all the ads people consume, online pop-ups and ads on mobile are the ones that consumers dislike the most.
What followed are online video advertising, like those we see on certain YouTube videos, online banner ads, Facebook ads, TV ads, and text-only ads we often find on various search engines.
At the bottom of the list, or the ads that people were more receptive of, are billboard ads and magazine or print ads.
The findings of that study show us the difference on how consumers react to digital and print ads. And seeing how digital ads annoy most people, there must be something that print advertising does right. After all, generating utter dislike from a consumer defeats the purpose of ads.
For the past few decades, print advertisers and magazine publishers have learned ways of feeding ad messages to prospective customers without annoying them. There are even times when the ads that consumers read have delighted them. To listen to the preferences of target customers is a given yet very crucial step to succeeding in one’s ad campaigns.
Published Ads Affect a Brand’s Reputation
Years have passed already since the print industry learned that it isn’t enough to separate advertising from editorial. Running spammy, sleazy, or scammy ads won’t keep readers from being outraged and less trustful of even the most reputable publications.
Online users and prospective customers wouldn’t want to hear justifications for the posting of ads they dislike the most.
Digital advertisers can learn from print advertisers and magazine publishers about the value of premium content and how it compares with ad postings. Most readers find it hard to appreciate a high-quality article when the page it’s in is loaded with aggressive promotions, hard sell ads, and clickbait content.
What kind of content matters?
There are limits to what readers can tolerate when it comes to advertisements posted together with online content. As long as the content isn’t what readers can consider as worth their while, then they might just ignore, or better yet, actually read the ads posted alongside.
But as print advertisers and publishers learned long ago, no matter how good the content is, if the ad percentage goes beyond a particular point of tolerance for readers and prospective consumers, both content and ads might just get ignored. That is the very reason why publishers charge relatively lower rates for the ad banks or the consecutive pages for advertising.
And so, it is not entirely okay for magazine publishers and print advertisers to blast the emails of their subscribers with messages from sponsors. But why do they still find it surprising when prospective consumers do not respond to their calls to action and worse, completely unsubscribe from the newsletters?
Taking Things in Perspective
During the 19th century, ads in the periodicals then only carried rather simple texts found within a small box, which we call “tombstone” messages. These listings were scattered in other notices that contained single-column texts.
Advertising then was just about bringing brand or product awareness to the market. And as we know it, the market and print technology evolved through time. That also changed the way advertisers sought interaction with their niche audience.
Postings increasingly became persuasive as they tugged at the hearts of their prospective consumers. Ads also changed their attitude in sharing narratives meant to encourage people to patronize specific brands, products, and services. The change involved larger images, greater white spaces, more variety in typography, and of course, fewer distractions from any nearby ads. That also meant higher ad revenue for every page.
It had taken a lot more years before the standard for magazines became a full-page ad on the right-hand side facing an editorial on the left-hand page. Ads that occupied a single column are highly discouraged, and they are either placed at the back of the book or not published at all.
Now taking things from a digital perspective, note how little space there is for a web ad and see a number of competing messages there are on a page. When viewing a page using your mobile device, we often find some ads and commercial messages trying to get our attention by blocking everything we’re trying to access. That’s no wonder why digital advertising is experiencing a huge drop in CPMs.
The good news is web publishers are prioritizing quality again over quantity. Most online pages now have fewer, though larger ad units. Although that isn’t the case yet on mobile, Google warned that by January 10, 2017, it will start penalizing web pages that display what it classifies as “intrusive interstitials.”
That means, web pages that don’t give users easy access to their content will likely have lower rankings, especially on mobile search. According to Google, the interstitials that make content less accessible are intrusive pop-ups that block the main content, standalone interstitials that users still have to dismiss, and above-the-fold layouts that hide content.
Print and digital advertising are two different methods, but both can do so much more for businesses when they learn a thing or two from the other. Print nor digital cannot do everything alone. There are challenges in both industries and one thing either must do well is to answer to their prospective customers’ interests. And dealing with ads the right way is just one of the most crucial steps for either print or digital marketing campaign to succeed.