Print vs. Digital: Where Your Ad Dollars Should Be Going

Print advertisements like flyers, ads in magazines, newspapers, or mail were the way people used to find out about things happening in life. Then technology came into play where you can reach anyone through social media or buy something from a banner advertisement in a matter of seconds. Both are so different, but where do you start as someone who wants to communicate to an audience? Where should you put your money?

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising makes it easier for the audience to share with friends and family with a click of a button. This also means you’re able to communicate with your audience and give attention to the customers who rave about your business or brand. Forbes writer Zohaib Hassan Patoli, explains that if you really want to stay connected with your customers you must engage and respond to them. Patoli wrote, “technology gives business owners endless opportunities to engage with their customers, whether it’s through review management, social media posts or email newsletters.” It can also mean hate comments where you will have to diffuse a situation. Patoli mentioned that “through digital mediums, you can respond to a customer’s negative feedback in a public forum, which not only means you can quell their concerns, but everyone who reads the review will see your response as well.” You have control over what you put out to your audience but you have no control over how your audience responds back. 

Communicating with customers is important, but ensuring you’re hitting the right demographic will make a business successful. Patoli explained “digital marketing channels allow you to target individuals based on age, gender, income level, location, job title, interests and more. And if you don’t know what demographic breakdown applies to your business, free analytics tools associated with platforms such as Google and Facebook show you the exact characteristics of people who follow your page or visit your website.” Also communicating to specific audiences on different platforms can be helpful. For example, for a younger audience, you would post on Instagram or Tik Tok, but for an older audience, you would post on Facebook. Digital advertising is the cheaper and easier route to advertising but does that mean you should leave print behind?

Print Advertising

So, is print really worth it after hearing everything about Digital Advertising? Forbes Communications Council shared their thoughts on how print will fit in the advertising future. We first have Dave Matli who stated that print is a target-specific medium. The examples Matli gave were having medical payment plans be placed in a doctor’s office or having mail be sent to “senior citizens who will read long-copy mailers.” Print is also a great way for people to get information offline. Brandon Ortiz explains how it can also mean more if a business employee is “trying to target a C-level audience, forget email — their assistant will just hit delete. But if you take your e-book, print it as a nice brochure and mail it to the exec’s office, it might get to their desk and leave a lasting impression.” It all depends on the target audience and what you’re trying to communicate. Print is more expensive but you’re able to reach specific audiences through it. So with all this information, where do you go from here?

The Best of Both Worlds

Digital advertising and print advertising has their strengths and weaknesses. Vox explains how “new estimates from eMarketer show that US advertisers will spend more than $129 billion on digital advertising in 2019 — more than the $109 billion they plan to spend on “traditional” advertising.” But having both working as a team can make your business successful. Almitra Karnik from Forbes explains how you should use the leftover budget from digital channels for print for maximum impact around your campaign. Karnik goes on by saying using them both to determine the success of a specific launch will change the advertising game. Another Forbes Communications Council member, Jeannie Ruesch goes deeper in explaining, “if your target audience reads print magazines as a regular part of their day, there is still a reason to consider print ads in your marketing mix. However, you need to adjust the expectations of actions your audience will take. Print ads will be more effective if they are a complement to your digital campaigns already in play and entice readers to interact with your brand online.” This means that using print ads can help lead people to have digital interactions with your pages on different mediums. 


Both print and digital advertising will help you boost your business. You can target specific audiences and need both for a successful business. Go through your budget and create content that people will love. Print and digital advertising give you so many options to connect with your audience and gravitate new customers to your business. 


Work Cited

Forbes Communications Council. “Council Post: Does Print Still Have a Place in the Future of Advertising? 10 Experts Weigh In.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 2 Mar. 2018, 

Patoli, Zohaib Hassan. “Council Post: Why Digital Marketing Is Important for Business Owners.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2022, 

Wagner, Kurt. “Digital Advertising in the US Is Finally Bigger than Print and Television.” Vox, Vox, 20 Feb. 2019,

Lisa Williams

Author Lisa Williams


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