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Multi-Media and Interactive Advertising are key

August 5, 2011

The rapid growth of digital revenues and usage is undeniable, but print continues to provide the majority of revenues to newspaper companies. Even where digital advertising revenues are approaching and surpassing those of print, the traditional print newspaper continues to produce large profits. And some forget that only newspaper and magazine companies can offer print as part of a multimedia advertising package – a unique advantage offering advertising effectiveness, audience loyalty and an attractive environment for advertisers.

Take Sweden’s biggest daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, for example. They are perhaps one of the most successful newspapers world-wide in terms of digital advertising – and now produce a nearly 50-50 split in digital and print advertising revenues. “Most of the revenues are still connected to print products – you can still make a lot of money from print,” said Anders Berglund, Sales Director at Aftonbladet. “It is important to have a focus on interesting new launches and new products, but also continue to develop the established products.” Like Berglund, many believe that a newspaper’s best bet is to build on the strengths they have.

Engaging (younger) audiences with multi-media and interactive advertising is key. When we hear the words “interactive advertising” we immediately think of the web.  That’s why many people in our industry have to be reminded that print was the first interactive medium, and that’s why it’s still a powerful and effective part of any media mix. Print is also the most sensory medium. Only print can activate each of the five senses and usually more than one of them at a time: Think scented perfume ads, varied paper textures, and embedded devices. The Oregonian certainly understands this importance. On July 31st, they became the first US newspaper to add digital watermarks to their printed newspaper; allowing readers to access video, slideshows and other enhanced digital content related to a story.

One can’t help but wonder if this is the very reason that Magazine ad pages have grown four consecutive quarters, beginning in Q2 2010 through Q1 2011, when they were up almost three percent compared to Q1 2010, according to the latest data from the MPA—The Association of Magazine Media.

Additionally, the Publishers Information Bureau reports that magazine ad revenue and pages increased in seven of 12 major advertising categories during the first quarter of 2011: Toiletries and cosmetics; OTC drug remedies; apparel and accessories; media and advertising; automotive, financial, insurance, real estate and technology.

Print is an integral component of any web-based campaign. It is a strong driver of online behavior by whetting the reader’s appetite for a complementary web experience. Have you noticed that over the past several years, almost all print ads carry some URL or digital code? A lot of the new web-based mobile technologies, such as QR codes, have forced media planners (and consumers) to give print a closer look.

Print ads become even more engaging if they are also tied to a text-messaging campaign; allowing the user access to expanded information that they don’t see in print. The process of consumer engagement almost never starts on the mobile device; but rather, from a print ad. Integration between print and digital is key.

So the next time you find yourself asking if media salespeople and buyers should continue to include print in their media-mix, remember my retort: Absolutely!

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