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Facebook vs Print: How do Their Advertisers Compare?

Facebook vs Print: How do Their Advertisers Compare?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve dug into Facebook advertising data and released a Facebook advertising trend report

We’ve covered: 

Now it’s time to look into how print’s performing compared to Facebook. Which top spending brands buy across both formats?

Digital outpaces print overall, but print’s still alive

Though digital advertising has been around for years, we’re just getting to a point where individual print publications are seeing their digital sales consistently outpace their print sales. 

Meredith publications—the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, People, Real Simple and many other national lifestyle magazines—made $107 million on online advertising during Q1 2021. This is about $10 million more than their print sales. 

“We’ve reached that inflection point,” said CEO Tom Harty. “We’re seeing outsized performance in the digital area.” Magazines used to be a way to showcase local art and culture, but that design is fading. Instead, businesses and communities showcase their vibe using social media. 

Despite evolving communication formats, there’s still a role for print and print advertisers.

Certain times call for bolder long-form copy, rather than bite-sized copy or quick visuals. 

While the nation confronted racial inequality last year, brands opted to buy long-form print copy in order to articulate their values. Mastercard even bought a two-page spread in The New York Times to make clear its support of the LGBTQIA+ community, and in particular, the Black LGBTQ creators producing GLAAD’s NEON series.

And it’s important to remember that print advertising is the most trusted advertising format, whereas social is the least. Recent research from eMarketer found that fewer than 1 in 5 adults trust ads on social media. Even if social is great for targeting, measuring and flexibility, brands that want to build trust might prefer print. 

Print may be decreasing in prominence, but it isn’t dead. And our data indicates that more brands are currently buying print than Facebook. However, spending on Facebook certainly trumps that of print. 

MediaRadar Insights

In April 2021 there were 42.5k companies spending $1.4B in print advertising, compared to Facebook’s 17.4k companies who spent $3.8B.

The disparity between the number of advertisers and spend across the two formats suggests that, despite the acceleration of digital advertising, more companies prefer a “traditional” method of advertising. But those who buy on Facebook spend more all together. 

We can also see that Facebook attracts a different set of advertisers than those who are buying print. Of the 17.4k advertisers on Facebook, only 1,022 of them also purchased space in print advertising.

The top ten spending advertisers on Facebook who also purchase print space are: 

  • Capital One
  • Home Depot
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Discovery+
  • DELL
  • Google
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • American Express
  • Walmart.

For more insights on opportunities in the print space, reach out to us directly. 

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