In the last of our “best of” advertising channel series, TACK10 will look at the benefits and drawbacks of print advertising for small and medium businesses. Another traditional medium that has contracted over the past two decades, global print advertising sales dropped dramatically from 2008 to 2009 and have never rebounded to the success they once achieved. Over the past decade newspaper circulation has dropped and magazines have ceased publication as competition for readership and advertising has increased.


  • Ability to align against topics of interest. Advertisements can be placed in newspaper sections and niche magazines that target your brand’s desired audience.
  • Some types of print publications (magazines in particular) have long life spans and strong secondary readership as they are shared amongst friends and family.
  • People still feel a higher level of trust for print over online sources. Additionally, print is now seen as an opportunity to disconnect and thus interference and background noise is minimized.


  • Print advertising can be extremely expensive due to the fact that well known, reputable publications are often national
  • It is difficult to test in print because of the distribution scale and required lead times
  • Difficult to track – unlike digital advertising it is hard to trace print as the conversion mechanism for new customers

Who can benefit from Print Advertising?

Print advertising could be a top option for:

  • National brands
  • Brands in traditional industries (i.e. beauty), who need to demonstrate credibility against much larger brands

Print Advertising Hack

Print can be criticized for being too static and unable to drive audience engagement and interaction. Brands tried for awhile to integrate QR codes in their print advertising, but that failed due to the fact that QR scanners weren’t available natively in any mobile operating system. Initially developed and utilized to identify songs based on audio samples, Shazam has over 120M users. Shazam has now introduced visual recognition capabilities, allowing print advertising to become dynamic pieces of interactive content.

TACK10 thoughts on Print as and advertising channel

Brands that are trying to build national relevance in traditional industries would be wise to leverage print advertising to demonstrate credibility. For regional and non-traditional brands, however, the expense of print advertising likely exceeds its value. For insights on other ad channels of interest you can check out Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of our series.