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Advantages & disadvantages of print media

Updated April 17, 2017

Print media is still a viable way to advertise products and services, regardless of the size of your business. Whether newspaper advertising or magazine advertising, print media gives businesses an opportunity to spread their marketing messages to a loyal, engaged readership.

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Advantage: Credibility

Magazines and newspapers have been around for years, and because of that consumers view them as credible sources for information, compared to online media where people publish practically anything, sources aren't always well-documented, and scams are frequent.

Advantage: Access to Target Market

Print publications produce media kits, along with rate cards, to give potential advertisers their pricing per placement, as well as a snapshot of their readers' characteristics. From buying behaviour to hobbies, media kits outline a publication's typical readers and the types of advertising they're prone to respond to, which makes targeting easier.

Advantage: Tangible and Portable

Print media, unlike web, radio or television mediums, is tangible. Readers are engaged as they turn page after page to read articles, look at images and view advertisements in their favourite magazines or newspapers.

While newspapers are often tossed after being read, the lifespan of a magazine can go on for years. Magazines are passed along to friends, left on coffee tables as decor and stored on bookshelves for future reading and reference. These factors represent an important aspect of print media that online advertising can't offer.

Disadvantage: Cost

While newspaper advertising is cost-efficient, magazine advertising can be costly depending on the popularity of the magazine, its history, readership, frequency and production costs. Smaller publications that are unable to garner the attention of large brands may offer lower advertising rates. Since print advertising prices vary, companies offer databases which provide businesses with advertising rates, contact information and advertising schedules for major and niche print publications.

Disadvantage: Target Market

While the target market for niche print publications is an advantage for businesses looking to reach those readers, some print publications have a variety of readers with varying characteristics who read their publications on any given day. This is especially the case for local publications such as newspapers.

Disadvantage: Scheduling

It is problematic to schedule advertising placements for publications that run monthly or quarterly. The space often books in advance, which causes issues if you have an integrated marketing campaign planned but no available print media sources which fit your target market to run an advertisement. Advertisement due dates are strict and adhere to the magazines publication schedule.

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About the Author

Miranda Brookins is a marketing professional who has over seven years of experience in copywriting, direct-response and Web marketing, publications management and business communications. She has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Towson University and is working on a master's degree in publications design at University of Baltimore.

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