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The answer, of course, is: It depends! (Don’t you hate that answer?)
It’s true, though. It depends on 1) who you’re trying to reach and 2) what you want them to do. Some folks, mostly the older ones, don’t spend that much time on the Internet. If you’re trying to reach them, traditional media are still the best way to do it. That is, if you focus only on Internet ads, you may miss them entirely.
Surprisingly, however, you can also still reach the young ones through newspaper and magazine ads, too. Although readership is down among the younger readers, printed media has special power. Printed media is perceived as higher quality content than that found on the Internet (a side effect of the fact that anyone and everyone can have a web page, and that Web ads often offer nothing more than a computer virus).
Because of this perception of quality, a message conveyed by printed media lingers in the mind for a longer period, meaning these ads have a greater impact and a greater recall value. The reader may not directly perform the call to action specified in the ad, but may do so later when the need arises. This probability goes down for Internet ads. The connection just isn’t as strong. Indeed, the connection formed with a printed ad is sometimes so strong that a person will cut one out and store it away for future reference.
This doesn’t happen with Internet ads, but Internet ads have their own strength: instant results. They appear at exactly at the moment when a person is searching for the product or service in question. Targeted ad experiences like these lead to greater conversion rates among people searching for the type of product or service being advertised. Internet ads are a double-edged sword, though. If the viewer isn’t searching for the product or service being advertised, they are less likely to be derailed and attend to the ad. People on the Internet rarely spare a second as they click, click, click all over the place, expecting lighting-fast results.
So, which is better? Print or Internet? Honestly, most businesses need both. It’s valuable to grab instant sales from the Internet, but you also don’t want to ignore those who stick to printed media, and you don’t want to miss out on the impact of printed media on young folks. In the end, you don’t need to figure out which one is “better.”
You need an effective combination of both to achieve your desired results.
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