print ads still work
Home / Blog / Do Print Ads Still Work?

Do Print Ads Still Work?

If you’re here because you’re wondering if print ads still work, the short answer is yes. Still, we get this question all the time from potential customers. But before we get into why print ads still work, and can be extremely effective for 800 vanity numbers, let’s start with a little history.

In October 1999, A & E first aired the TV show, “Biography of the Millennium: 100 People – 1000 Years,” which counted down 100 of the most influential people of the last millennium. As the countdown drew to a close, many viewers expected that the number one spot would be held by someone like George Washington, Jesus Christ, or Martin Luther King, Jr. But the person who was voted as making the greatest contribution to society in the last 1,000 years was Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press.

Surprised? You’re not the only one. But the truth is Gutenberg made a tremendous impact on history. Without the printing press, we would’ve never had the means to easily share our thoughts and ideas with the world. Gutenberg’s invention made it possible to share information with numerous people around the globe via books, magazines, brochures, mailers, and other printed materials. And it has also been a boon to advertisers for centuries, even today.

3 Reasons Why Print Ads Still Work

Print ads still work for three main reasons:

  • Print ads reach a wide audience
  • Print advertising is noticed more and has a longer life
  • Print ads aren’t competing with other ads, whereas online ads have a much higher competition

Print advertising can easily reach a vast number of consumers via a variety of mediums. Think of how many billboards and moving ads (company vehicles) you saw just on your way to work today. Not only are print ads noticed more often, but they also tend to have a longer life than other ad forms, particularly digital. Unlike online ads, which tend to crowd ad space, print ads get to have their own space, so the viewer can focus on just one ad at a time.

On a more granular level, people often take more time to look at printed materials, whether it’s leisurely perusing a magazine or taking a brochure to look through later. This means they are more likely to absorb the information. People also tend to notice a mailer more than an online ad, as mailers tend to have a more personalized touch. Plus, PPC ads are often ignored in an organic search, even if they are at the top of the results page.

Now that we’ve shown you why print ads still work, you’ll need the right strategies to unlock the potential of print advertising. Here are some tips to ensure your print ads are on target with your marketing goals.

Taking Advantage of Print’s Powerful Reach

Nielsen and GfK MRI conducted research on print advertising in 2017. What they found was that the top 6 magazines in the United States have a more extensive reach among 18 to 49-year-old consumers than any TV program [1]. That’s partly because the vast array of magazines published today cover subjects that appeal to both wide demographics and niche audiences.

No matter what product or service your business offers, there is a publication that is best suited to your advertising needs. Don’t forget about placing ads in regional magazines and newspapers. Not only is this cheaper than advertising in national magazines, but it also has the “shop local” quality that appeals to so many people.

Placing brochures and flyers in high-traffic areas can also be very effective. And by featuring a memorable vanity number in your ads, you can obtain more accurate and useful demographic data. This data enables you to make more informed marketing decisions and ensures that your messaging connects with your target audience.

What’s the takeaway?

  • Magazines have a more extensive reach across a wider demographic than other forms of media
  • With the vast number of print magazines published today, you can easily find a magazine that matches your advertising needs
  • Placing ads in local publications and distributing product literature is cost-effective and adds value to your brand
  • Featuring a memorable vanity number with call tracking in your ads will streamline your marketing and advertising efforts

Don’t Just Grab Your Audience’s Attention – Keep It

As we mentioned, print advertising doesn’t need to contend with online ad clutter. Print ads are easier to notice and remember. However, many of us are so busy that our time is short, making our attention span even shorter. Most people are not likely to stop and dissect every ad they see. That’s why your print ads need to grab your audience’s attention and make them want to know more.

The number one rule of print advertising is to make it short and to the point. Too much text and over-explanation can easily cause a reader to dismiss it. Instead, use shorter text and focus on the visual appeal of your print ads. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use pithy language in your text
  • Include intriguing images that draw attention and connect to your audience on an emotional level
  • Make sure your branding stands out on every ad
  • Use humor when possible, but keep it tasteful
  • Implement interactive components, such as pop-ups and pullouts, in mailers and brochures


In sum, your ads should focus on who you are and what exactly your product can offer the consumer. If nothing else, a strong call-to-action, such as a unique vanity number, will help people easily remember how to contact you.

Print advertising has always been, and continues to be, remarkably effective. Savvy businesses continue to see its value and continue to find new ways to use it effectively. In fact, the majority of small businesses include print ads in their ideal marketing strategies.

Print ads still work because they help build brand awareness by reaching a larger audience in a more memorable way. Including additional tools, such as call tracking and toll-free vanity numbers, can help increase the longevity of that awareness. So thank you, Mr. Gutenberg. Your invention continues to benefit businesses everywhere!

Skip Footer