Print vs Online Advertising

We love our glossy paper while the world has gone digital. When it comes to spending your marketing dollars, the possibilities are abundant and range from traditional print media to online advertising. Unfortunately, finding the most effective ways to advertise products or services is one of the most difficult challenges businesses face.

How can you keep your content alive and relevant? What factors do you need to think about as you decide how to invest in your magazine’s future? Let’s look at some considerations when deciding how to address the print vs. digital dilemma. Or why not both?

Reach / Scope

One of your first marketing considerations needs to be where your ad should go, and the biggest differences between online advertising and print advertising is the scope of advertisements. A single website or Web ad can potentially reach customers anywhere in the world, while the circulation of newspapers and magazines and the logistics of sending direct mailings to customers limits the number of consumers that print advertisements can reach.

When using an online approach, you need to look at which websites your target audience is visiting. Then you need to find out how much traffic they are receiving, their audience demographics, and their unique visitor score.

In terms of print advertising, many of the same principles hold true. You need to know the publication’s circulation – how many are being distributed. You also need to know what type of readership the publication has.


Online advertisers allow businesses to set spending limits on ads, which lets small businesses spend precisely according to their budget. If you have the time you can promote your business for free through social media, blogging, forums, or online article submissions.

Also, you can purchase a specific number of ad impressions, which is a charge for each thousand times an ad is viewed, or you can choose a pay per click model, which is a charge based on an actual click-through rather than just a page view.

Print advertisements on the other hand, can be expensive – a single print ad in a local newspaper and or magazine can cost more than $100. Although print ads are more costly per advertisement, they can be equally cost-effective in terms of how many sales they bring in per dollar spent. A single ad has the potential to engage thousands of people.