Sure, digital advertising dominates the game in terms of volume and spend, but there’s one metric that’s even more important: return on investment. It’s actually print magazine advertising—not digital mobile or video—that earns the highest return.

The first step is understanding the consumer psychology behind it. Studies show that because we view print magazine ads as trustworthy and aspirational, we are more easily influenced by them, especially as compared to other ad types. It’s your job as the advertiser to reinforce this assumption with an expertly crafted print ad. Here’s our insight into how to capitalize on the unique opportunity magazine print advertising offers:

Concept first, design second

Before you begin designing, be sure to develop a well-defined ad concept and stick to it. What reaction or emotion are you looking to evoke? What intangible benefit does your product offer the consumer? (Hint: sell style, not sneakers). With these questions answered, you’re ready to start designing. Keep in mind that consumers look to print magazine advertising to be truly print-worthy; to be beautiful and blend seamlessly into a publication where form is as important as function. A simple, lifestyle-focused ad will be better received than one that’s super technical and info-packed.

Look to “show, don’t tell” your message with visuals. Maybe take it a step further and try visual metaphors to say something about your product without any words at all. Consider imagery that shows movement, an effective juxtaposition that catches the consumer’s eye in a static ad. Let your design speak to your audience, not any copy you may include.

It’s technical…

With a concept and design established, it’s time to consider a few technical aspects of print magazine advertising that could make or break your ad.

Keep it right

Studies show that people gravitate towards options that appear on their right side. Use this psychological preference to your advantage: secure right-hand page placement if possible, and place critical details like your logo and website on the right side of the page.

Blank White space

The use of white space is print magazine advertising is not just a trend; it’s a great design tool that can clarify, organize, and elevate your message. Use white space as a purposeful, integral part of your design, not just leftover space. You can also use white space to frame the focal point of your design and draw attention with precision. Here’s one of our favorite examples of expertly used white space.

Power placement

Another critical factor is your ad placement within the magazine. Do you need a two-page spread, or just one page? Does your ad demand the back-cover, or would it be more effective following an editorial? What other advertisers might your ad appear next to? Will the binding interfere with your design? You want your ad to add to the reader’s experience, so it’s important to consider all the nitty-gritty details that may influence them to either stop and stare—or skip.

Copy Call to action

Simple. Smart. Sharp. This is what you’re going for when deciding what words your ad should feature. While some products lend themselves to entirely visual ads, if yours require words, be sure to choose them wisely. Develop a clear call to action that’s short, sweet, and inspires action. 61 percent of readers are inspired to act after seeing a print magazine ad, so choosing a strong call to action is especially important in this advertising space.

Lastly, use your words to speak directly to your target audience, not broadly at the entire readership. This is where real return is seen. Don’t turn the page on your chance to capitalize.

Ellen Huber

Ellen Huber

Communications Strategist at The Moak Group
In an era of rapidly changing technology and content mediums, Ellen Huber brings to The Moak Group’s clients precision communication and marketing strategies that capture the latest in cutting-edge technology and distinctive branding and marketing.
Ellen Huber