Print Versus Digital Advertising

In our current digital era with smartphones, tablets and screens at every turn, it is easy to dismiss print media as part of the Stone Age. But there are still things print and paper offer that digital cannot replace. Think about the last time you received a handwritten note or letter in the mail from a friend and how that made you feel. A study done by market research company IPSOS has found that 80% of people prefer reading paper than digital media. Print cards and letters carry far more personal and sentimental value than any email or Instagram post. 92% of direct mail gets opened, as opposed to only 15-30% of emails.

Let’s look at the ways in which print triumphs over digital media and why print should still be included in advertising campaigns.

Physical Engagement

Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making conducted a research study sponsored by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General to show the differences in how our brains process digital and print ads. The results of the study show how the ad formats affect customers in different ways. While the digital ads captured attentions and were processed more quickly, physical ads engaged customers better and longer. This is because print offers physically and tangibility that digital does not. Touching the paper has people fully engage with the information on it, stimulating senses that digital otherwise can’t do.

Read More: How to Organise a Scented Direct Mail Campaign.

Emotional Responses & Memory

In addition, print’s physicality also creates stronger emotional responses from customers. Reading off paper translates to a sense of comfort and familiarity, like when reading a book or magazine. Moreover, information off paper is better retained in memory. Because print ads leave a longer lasting impression, customers’ brains associate this with value and desirability, leading to more intent to buy the product advertised.

Read More: Scent in Magazines.


Finally, what you see/read is what you get with print. There are no other tricks or complexities with print that digital can have, such as pop-up ads, spam and possible viruses. Print material is very straight forward, and thus full attention given to the ad. With full attention and no distractions, consumers are better engaged with your ad’s message and can remember it for longer.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why Scent Advertising Works.

Scent & Print

These benefits of print can be taken even further by adding scent. Print’s strengths rely in its ability to stimulate and engage the senses. Touching the paper is just one sense. Consider adding scent to paper to stimulate more senses and boost your ad’s efficiency. We all know smell is the most powerful sense and can trigger emotions and memories instantaneously. Thus, combining scent and print will further emphasize the strengths of each medium, boosting consumer engagement with your brand and increase sales.

Learn more about our Scent Print Sampling solutions.

Study by Canada Post conducted by TrueImpact compared the effects of direct mail and digital media.

Direct mail requires less cognitive effort — easier to understand than digital media. Brand recall was also higher with print than digital ads.

Scented direct mail scored the highest in motivation-to-cognitive load ratio, suggesting scented print is the most successful way to market (most easy to understand and most impactful).


Traditional advertising with print still has advantages that digital cannot replicate. Print ads offers better consumer engagement with your brand and ad messages are remembered for longer. Add scent to your print advertisement to boost these advantages even more.

We help you create the perfect marketing campaign.

Discover how to add your scent to print materials.

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