Despite digital advances, tablets and e-readers revolutionising the book and magazine market, a recent study discovered that printed media is still the consumer’s preferred choice for reading. The independent research commissioned by Two Sides discovered that 84% of respondents retained or used information better when reading printed words, and 78% said that given the choice they would rather read on paper.
Print Helps Us Process More Complex Information
83% of survey respondents preferred to read about more complex topics on paper. This isn’t due to age group or habit either, as the study found:
82% of 18-24-year-olds questioned said they could understand or retain information better when reading on paper, as did 83% of 25-34-year-olds, 78% of 35-44-year-olds, 86% of 45-64-year-olds and 91% of those 65 and over.” Perhaps something about the print format is simply better for our cognitive functioning.
It comes as no surprise that the method of receiving information could have an impact on how we understand it. Psychologists have found that simpler fonts help us understand complex information more easily, and more decorative fonts cloud our understanding. If this is the case even when the same words are used, we can see why the idea might apply to print vs screen. Screens could be affecting our cognitive fluency, making topics seem more complicated and time consuming than they seem on paper. If this were found to be the case, there would always be a place for printed media.
Print Encourages a Relaxed and Receptive Emotional State
Print is still seen as a more enjoyable media to browse. 69% of respondents said they felt relaxed and receptive when reading printed news and 66% said the same about magazine content, but only 25% felt this way when reading news content on screen and 18% when reading magazine content on screen.
Perhaps this is because newspaper and magazine reading is something associated with leisure time, whilst we psychologically connect screens with work. There are also other distractions on digital devices, emails or notifications could pop up which can change the experience of losing yourself in an article. There’s more to the experience of reading a newspaper or magazine than the content itself. The feel of the pages, the smell of the print and the size of the publication all add to the overall experience you enjoy.
Print for Marketing
Survey respondents also suggested they took more notice of printed marketing messages they received in the mail than on screen ones, and over 50% noticed advertising in magazines and newspapers whilst just 21% engaged with adverts on websites.
Mike Colling at agency MC&C found that
“Customers who receive printed materials from advertisers tend to be more loyal, and generate higher net revenues over a five-year period”.
Printed materials provide a smart choice for getting noticed, communicating more complex messages, building long term revenue and loyalty. Digital supports this with fast-paced, offer driven communication that gets quick results. With all this information in our arsenal, marketers can select an appropriate marketing mix and engineer their print projects to work for them.