Magazine Advertising in 2017: What Every Marketer Should Know

You’ve probably heard it before: Print is dead. Digital marketing has long surpassed the world of magazine advertising, and the future of advertising is sure to be on a webpage – not a printed page. But is that really true? Well, not so fast. The reality of the situations as it turns out is much more complex.

Though digital marketing is becoming increasingly popular, it doesn’t mean that any point it will totally usurp forms of print marketing, including magazine advertising. “For the same reason video hasn't fully replaced the emotional power of the immersive TV experience, print brings a less noisy setting that can't be fully duplicated online. There is a uniquely strong allegiance to content the reader is physically holding onto,” Kim Evenson, Chief Marketing Officer at Legacy, insists. “Pure branding will continue to wane, but smart calls to action will drive measurable growth for products who benefit from this intimate medium.”

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel like, as a marketer, you need to avoid print advertising. In fact, there are instances where forms of print advertising, including magazine ad placement, will be valuable. Let’s take a look.

Not all Print is Dying

You’ve probably read a lot of depressing things about print. It is true that overall magazine readership is on the decline. But it isn’t all just doom and gloom: Not all print is dying. Indie magazine sales, for example, have actually experienced growth in the past few years. In 2014, Stack, an independent magazine subscription service, actually reported close to an 80 percent increase in revenue and its number of subscribers grew by an impressive 80 percent.

Magazine retail sales did drop from about 103 million at the end of 2014 to roughly 85 million by the second quarter of 2016 – a nearly 25 percent decrease. Annual revenue estimates for U.S. magazines are also down, as are subscription and sales revenues. But those are overall numbers and not a full picture: The world of print, including the magazine industry, is evolving, not totally dying off – so you shouldn’t expect it to go extinct anytime soon. 

“There's something about the physical nature of them that means we can't really give up on them. I think it's a bit like how telephones didn't stop people meeting up face to face, and having televisions didn't put a stop to the theatre. There's still a role for magazines,” Ruth Jamieson, the author of "Print is Dead. Long Live Print" told the Independent. "Just go and look at the newsstands. The kind of breadth of what's on offer is greater than ever before."

The good news for marketers scouting for magazine advertising opportunities in 2017 is that these kind of independent magazines present great opportunities. A lot of these publications are truly niche, providing access to a highly targeted market. If you chose the right magazine, the right print ad could dramatically improve your brand visibility with your target audience. Just like with digital marketing, it all boils down to knowing your audience and understanding what types of content they are most likely to consume.

Millennials Aren’t Print Averse

One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that millennials’ aversion to print media is one of the major reasons that magazines aren’t doing well. It’s true that millennials tend to consume more digital content than print content, but to say that they are singlehandedly pushing the magazine industry to the brink of doom is simply unfair.

Moreover, there can actually be benefits to magazine advertising if you’re trying to capture the attention of a millennial audience. Research suggests that millennials actually feel that print advertising is more trustworthy and authoritative than digital advertising. So, if you want to gain the trust and confidence of a millennial, your best bet could very well be to take out a magazine ad.

Magazine Advertising Can be a Great Opportunity – If you Have a Plan

Magazine advertising spending dropped from $13.87 million in 2010 to $9.44 million in 2015. That figure is expected to further decline $5.51 million by 2020, a pretty significant decline in just a decade.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t advertise your brands in magazines. In fact, digital marketing forums are becoming increasingly competitive and over-saturated, whereas as spaces in print magazines are freeing up. That means you can get great spreads in magazines at relatively affordable prices, which can help you to improve your brand’s visibility, build trust, and, ultimately, boost your marketing ROI. There is a lot of noise in digital marketing, which can make it hard for customers to connect with your brand. By contrast, the magazine advertising market is much less cluttered, which can be a great strategic opportunity. 

But in order to maximize your success with magazine advertising, you need to have a plan. What goals do you have for your ad? Is it a brand recognition play? Or are you hoping for direct sales results? First and foremost, you need to figure out what it is that you want to achieve; you can then design and publish a magazine ad that will put you on the track to success.

So, how can you combine print and digital?

Don’t be Afraid to Mix Print with Digital

Last but not least, you shouldn’t be afraid to mix print forms of advertising, including magazine advertising, with forms of digital advertising. Research consistently shows that cross-media campaigns deliver the absolute highest response rates.

“Mixing print advertising with a fully integrated approach has been successful with our construction executive buyers, leading to larger enterprise partnerships,” Heather Dueitt, a communications executive at NoteVault, tells Forbes. “Combining social, native, digital, and other lead-generation efforts to saturate the audience will help tell the complete story and reach the audience where they feel comfortable interacting with the brand.”

So, how can you integrate digital and print? Luckily, there are a number of different options to consider. QR codes are an especially great option to bridge the gap between the page and the webpage, allowing users to scan the codes using a mobile device to display a product or coupon at the sane time they are consuming the print ad. It might take some research and creativity to integrate print and digital but it can be done – and when it is done well, it can do great things for a brand.

Magazine advertising can be an excellent opportunity in today’s world. Print is far from dead! The key is to make sure you choose the right opportunities and that you execute your magazine advertising strategically. Ultimately, many of the most successful brands in today’s world use a combination of different marketing types, from digital marketing to magazine advertising, to ensure success.

Need more information or advice deciding if magazine advertising is the right fit for your company? Consult with 10twelve today!