Why Print Ads Are Trusted Most

February 16, 2017

In a digital-first media world where newspaper sales are plummeting and mainstream news media’s credibility has reached its lowest level in the court of public opinion, print ads have somehow become consumers’ most trusted marketing materials. According to a recent survey by MarketingSherpa, 82 percent of Americans depend on print ads when making a purchase decision. Online pop-up ads were trusted the least — at only 25 percent.

Despite statistics pointing otherwise, print is not dead, at least not for marketers. Below we discuss this revelation and how your digital marketing strategy should borrow from print marketing to inspire trust.


Not only did MarketingSherpa’s survey show Americans find print ads most credible, it also revealed that traditional advertising channels were believed more than their digital counterparts. The top five most trusted were offline advertising channels: print ads (82%), TV ads (80%), catalogs (76%), radio ads (71%), and outdoor ads (69%). The rest of the channels ranked below were digital, with search engine ads being the most credible type of digital advertising at 61 percent. Clearly, there is a split in consumers’ perception of traditional and digital marketing.


One possible reason for the high consumer confidence in print marketing could be their perception of print media’s higher standards. Also, unlike digital media, print allows for a limited amount of content — so it is more likely to be of high quality. Though there is quality information to be found online, you have to navigate through a ton of low-quality content to get to it. A print ad placed on a reputable publication will gain credibility for your brand by association. While a digital ad placed in an unreliable online publication can hurt your brand. Print advertising also tends to look more streamlined and less cluttered and obtrusive than digital advertising, which also increases trust and engagement.


Another advantage print advertising has over its digital counterpart is that its targeted marketing techniques are not negatively perceived by Americans. Strives continue to be made with data mining and targeted digital marketing, but many consumers view these techniques as intrusive and a threat to their privacy. They have anxiety over their digital activities and identities being constantly tracked and then used to sell them stuff, or even worse to be targeted by hackers. Finally, print media’s easily measured readership demographics allows for targeted advertising, but without the pushback.

As digital media continues to overtake print media, it is surprising to know that consumers’ trust has not yet crossed over. To gain credibility, your digital marketing strategy should reflect your print advertising. Digital ads should be transparent, well-designed, noninvasive, and placed in the appropriate publications.

At Keenability, we pride ourselves with being a South Florida full-service advertising agency. Call us today to find out how we can address your traditional and digital marketing needs.

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