The Death of the Death of Print


Publishers know that even in the digital age, readers of all ages and demographics are strong believers in print magazines. Advertisers, on the other hand, still have a perception that online content is king. They’ve likely heard the decades-old notion that “print is dead,” and that magazines have been on their way out the door since the turn of the millennium. But in what some may call an ironic twist, the “digital-only” approach predicted by tech industries has become an outdated concept. The single most profitable investment for advertisers is not just magazines, but specifically print magazines. Last September, the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) pulled a series of studies from Nielsen, Milward Brown, GfK MRI, and its own published studies on the power of magazines, both on paper and in the digital space. These studies show that print is a significant player in the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, especially in tandem with TV or digital.

The MPA attributes this success to the tangibility of print, citing more than 150 academic studies that find increased focus, engagement, recall, and emotional response in readers of print-based media. Those reactions likely also explain why consumers report the highest brand favorability and purchase intent with printed ads. “But print itself is only part of the equation,” your print naysayer may say. “Why should I advertise in a magazine?” That’s when you crack your knuckles and show them these MPA statistics:

  • The top 10 magazine brands reach more Americans age 18 to 49 than the top 10 television shows.
  • Better Homes & Gardens alone has a 94 percent greater reach than AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
  • The No. 1 brands on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are each magazine media brands.
  • In 2018 alone, magazine media reached 1.8 billion people across all its platforms.

The truly fascinating development in all of this is that technology and magazines are no longer competing; they’re collaborating. An article on Ceros.com reveals that Apple is bolstering its own creative team with magazine art directors from massive titles such as The New York Times, GQ, Wired, The Atlantic, and Bon Appétit, specifically because these creative minds are so versatile and so capable of developing the engaging content Apple now seeks to create.

For the skeptical advertiser, this means that, while magazines are no longer just books full of articles, they are also not just websites full of articles. Magazines have come of age in the digital world as the first and best content creators, and they are consistently the most sought-after forms of media available. Any advertiser who doesn’t believe in magazines, well, they’re simply behind on the times.

Here are some links to detailed fact sheets and presentations, laden with third-party studies, that you can use to arm your sales team to help kill the outdated and uninformed notion of ”the death of print”: