Why Do Advertisers Spend So Much On Print?

The chart below shows the over-investment in print and the under-investment in mobile and web compared to the relative time consumers spend with those mediums.

Flurry points out a few reasons why mobile is so under-invested in, including the fact that agencies and brands have yet to adjust to the unprecedented speed of adoption of apps by consumers and the lack of systems in place to buy inventory in volume.

The part that confuses me is why so much money is spent on print, when the amount of time consumers spend with print is the lowest of all mediums. Besides the reasons Flurry notes above, I think the answer is because the people making the buying decisions have a strong interest in keeping their jobs and when it comes to allocating the marketing spend, its much safer to do it like you’ve always done.

The thing that’s scary about online or mobile advertising is that its much more measurable. And once its measurable you can be blamed. They like to be creative, tell stories and take the time to craft the right font, color scheme and images. But when technology puts control into the hands of the consumer, they can choose to skip and ignore your story, and you’ll see how bad your well-crafted idea crashed and burned in real time.

Also, advertisers want to be the ones to decide what ad creative will be shown, they don’t want data to decide for them. If the data decides which image or tagline works best than how do they justify their big salaries?

Print also lends itself well to an advertiser’s desire to have brand consistency, which is easy when one ad campaign is seen by thousands of people in a magazine all at once. As soon as you are marketing to a mass of niches, you have to start tailoring it to those niches which causes it to loose that brand consistency. You can’t treat people like they are all the same anymore, that’s why taking a print ad and pasting it onto the web doesn’t work either.

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