What is Print Advertising?-A Guide | By Design



Print advertising was once the most useful form of advertising. As the use of revolutionized digital marketing practices is increasing rapidly, many people wonder whether print media is still even in the game. We’re here to tell you that the importance of print media has not diminished and is crucial in any marketing mix!

In this blog we aim to answer questions like ‘what is print advertising?’, decode the advantages and disadvantages of print media, share various print ad examples, amongst other things. 

What is Print Advertising?

It is a form of advertising wherein several kinds of print media channels are used to reach a target audience. Companies and brands advertise their products using the best print ads across various print advertising channels like billboards, newspapers, brochures, direct mail, etc.

Examples of Print Advertising

KFC, one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world, ran out of chicken in its restaurants in 2018. Rather than making an outright public apology, the company released a cheeky print ad to inform readers about this rare mishap and created a online web-page to supplement this. 

Volkswagen's "Think Small" Campaign: Volkswagen's iconic print ads from the 1960s showcased the compact Beetle car with minimal text, challenging the prevailing trend of large, flashy cars. The simplicity and clever messaging of the campaign made it a standout in the advertising world.

Significance of Print Ads 

Printing press advertisement is a crucial aspect of the latest marketing strategies. On average, U.S. companies invest 25 billion USD in print advertising yearly. It shows the importance of print media persists. 

Here is why printing press advertisement is still important for companies.   

1. Reach Target Audience

Recalling a print ad is easier for people compared to digital advertising. The trust element is also in favour of products or services in best print ads instead of digital ads. Customers have an emotional reaction towards print advertisements which act as an excellent source of absorbing information for customers.  

2. Develop Trust

Print ads represent a hidden message that shows 'this brand is trustable'. It helps in winning the trust of the target audience and developing credibility.  

3. Improved Conversion Rate

Print ads, despite the increasing popularity of digital advertising, still hold significant value and offer unique advantages. On average, U.S. companies invest 25 billion USD in print advertising yearly!

Here are some of the key reasons that print advertising is still important for brands:   

  1. Tangibility: Print ads provide a physical presence that can be held, touched, and displayed. This creates a lasting impression and allows for a deeper engagement with the audience. People often find print ads more trustworthy and credible compared to digital ads, as they perceive them as more permanent and legitimate.
  2. Targeted Reach: Print publications cater to specific demographics and interests. By advertising in magazines, newspapers, or industry-specific publications, businesses can effectively reach their target audience and generate higher response rates.
  3. Longevity: Print ads often have a longer lifespan compared to digital ads. Printed materials are often kept for extended periods, allowing the advertisement to reach a broader audience over time, enabling repeated exposure to the ad, reinforcing brand awareness and message retention.
  4. Brand Building: Print ads contribute to building brand credibility and reputation. Being featured in respected publications lends an air of authority to the advertised brand, helps establish trust and can positively influence brand perception.

Print Advertising Types

Now that we’ve answered the pressing question (What is print advertising and its importance?) let's jump to the different types of print ads that exist. 

1. Magazines

People in Asia, U.S., and Europe believe that magazines are the best print ad channels to reach a certain audience. There are different types of magazines for various interest groups like beauty, health, cooking, fashion, and more. High-quality images in magazines effectively portray a product. 

2. Newspapers

Newspapers are believed to be the king of print advertising and for good reason. They help businesses reach a specific target audience or local groups. In addition to 70% higher recall, print content is 21% easier to understand and memories.

3. Direct Mail

Opt for direct mail as a form of advertising for your brand, if you need to have personalised messaging to reach specific prospective consumers. It is a more affordable method advertising as compared to billboards or newspapers.

4. Directories

Directories are an exceptional method of print advertising due to their unique ability to develop a huge client base, while offering targeted exposure. Whether it's a local business directory or a specialized industry listing, directories provide valuable visibility to businesses of all sizes. With their organized structure and categorized listings, directories enjoy a long shelf life, ensuring that businesses maintain visibility over an extended period and allow potential customers to quickly find the products or services they are seeking.

5. Billboards

Billboards capture attention and deliver impactful messages to a large audience when placed strategically along busy roads and highways. They each a wide range of people, including commuters, pedestrians, and travelers. Their size and bold designs make them highly visible, creating an immediate impact and leaving a lasting impression on viewers. With clever and concise messaging, billboards can effectively convey brand messages, promote products or services, and generate awareness. Unlike other forms of print advertising, billboards are not limited by space constraints, allowing for creativity in design and messaging.

6. Brochures

Offering a compact and informative way to showcase products, services, and brand offerings, brochures are an excellent example of effective brand advertising. With their visually appealing designs and concise content, brochures effectively capture the attention of potential customers. They can be easily distributed in various locations such as trade shows, events, or mailed directly to target audiences. Brochures provide an opportunity to present detailed information, including key features, benefits, and contact details, all in a portable format that can be kept and referred to later.

Print Advertising Pros

1. Engaging:

Print advertising offers a physical medium that engages multiple senses, allowing readers to touch, feel, and interact with the content, creating a more memorable and immersive experience.

2. Credibility and Trust:

Print advertisements often carry a sense of authority and trustworthiness, as they have a physical presence and are associated with reputable publications. This can enhance the credibility of the brand or product being advertised, fostering trust among consumers.

3. Less Competition and Distraction:

In a digital world saturated with online ads, print advertising stands out by offering a clutter-free environment. By leveraging print, businesses can capture the attention of readers without the distraction of competing online content, increasing the chances of message retention and brand recall.

4. Longer Shelf Life

Unlike digital ads that can be quickly scrolled past or closed, print ads have a longer lifespan. Magazines, newspapers, brochures, or posters can be kept, shared, and revisited multiple times, providing sustained exposure and reinforcing brand recognition.

Cons of Print Advertising

1. Limited Targeting Options

Unlike digital advertising, print ads have limited targeting capabilities. It can be challenging to ensure that the message reaches a specific demographic or niche audience, potentially leading to lower conversion rates compared to targeted online advertising.

2. Lack of Real-Time Updates

Once a print ad is published, it becomes static and cannot be easily modified or updated. This lack of flexibility restricts the ability to make real-time adjustments to the campaign or respond to changing market conditions, potentially resulting in missed opportunities.

3. Cost and Production Time

Print advertising can be expensive, especially for full-page ads in popular publications. Additionally, the production process, including design, printing, and distribution, can take longer compared to digital advertising, affecting the agility and responsiveness of the marketing campaign.

4. Difficult Measurement of ROI

Tracking the effectiveness and return on investment (ROI) of print advertising can be challenging. Unlike digital ads, which provide robust analytics and tracking tools, it is often more difficult to accurately measure the impact and success of print campaigns, making it harder to optimize marketing strategies for maximum results.


We’re sure you can now confidently answer the question, ‘What is print advertising?’, list its types, debate on the advantages and disadvantages of print media, and decide on how to use the best form of print advertising considering your business needs. Right? If not, let’s briefly recap the blog.


1. What is meant by print advertising?
A form of advertising using tangible, printed media formats such as journals, newspapers, etc. to reach a wide target audience.

2. What is an example of print advertising?
Apple's iPod Silhouette Ads: Apple's print ads for the iPod featured black silhouettes of people dancing with their iPods and white earbuds. The minimalistic design and bold imagery effectively conveyed the joy and freedom of listening to music, contributing to the immense success of the iPod.

3. What are the top 3 types of print advertisements?
Magazines, newspapers, and brochures & direct mail are the top 3 types of print advertising formats. 

4. Why are print ads important?
Print ads offer a tangible and engaging experience, allowing readers to physically interact with the advertisement, which can enhance brand recall and leave a lasting impression. They provide a targeted reach, allowing businesses to select specific publications or locations that align with their target audience, increasing the chances of reaching the right people. They carry a sense of credibility and trust, as they are associated with reputable publications, which can positively influence consumer perceptions of the advertised brand or product. Lastly, print ads offer a less cluttered environment compared to online advertising, allowing for greater attention and message retention.