Similarities & Differences Between Web & Print Advertising


Print advertisements include newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and brochures. Web advertisements encompass any ad appearing on the Internet, whether on a large website or as a banner on another site. Differences between print and web ads center around the ability for web advertisements to generate ongoing revenue. Similarities include the way an ad needs to target an audience, and how the ad design has to appeal to consumers.


Conveying information is the key to any successful ad. The way to plan both print and web advertisements is similar in that they must elicit attention from an audience. This is done with a specific message that must be clear to be effective. Both types of ads utilize a theme. This theme becomes the idea communicated to consumers, which involves being specific about the services and deals offered. Branding is also the same in both ads. Print and web ads both use color and design to make an indelible impression with consumers and lure them into the advertisement.


The way a consumer "discovers" print and web ads is vastly different. For a person to view a print ad, he must have specific access to the newspaper, magazine, brochure or pamphlet. Several web ads are spontaneously seen when they are banners or links to other sites. Print ads have the space to be longer, and more detailed. Web ads, according to New, "are more like billboards than ads." This means less space to convey a message because many computer users do not like to read long copy online. Full color ads are expensive to produce. This sometimes limits design features in print ads. Web ads have the ability to be flexible in design and color use because these features are free. Print ads are considered "static" because once they are printed, they cannot be changed. Web ads are considered "dynamic" because they can be altered multiple times without adverse effects.

Pros and Cons

The biggest con of print advertising, according to Technology, is that print ads grow stale. They cannot be constantly updated the way a web advertisement can. Web ads can be targeted to specific geographic audiences. Print ads only pertain to the immediate community reading the local ad. Web advertisements have an ability to be seen by more consumers than print ads, depending on the size of the print publication running the ad and the ability of web ads to be circulated in popular search engines. Print ads work well in local media and for community businesses where customers that read those papers more are also potential customers. Print ads can also utilize coupons that readers can on-the-spot rip out and present. This has the potential to increase the sales of other products. Consumers must take the time to print out web ads before redeeming them.

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