Does Your Print Advertising Align With Your Shoppers’ Path to Purchase?

By: Kristin Connolly, New Product Development Director, Valassis
Published Thursday, Jan 18, 2018

Does Your Print Advertising Align With Your Shoppers’ Path to Purchase?

Chances are you’re already using influencers and content creators online to promote your brands. Hundreds of thousands of content creators have become experts at using social channels like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to share their thoughts on a myriad of topics.  Consumers increasingly turn to these content creators – who create original photos, videos and brief stories – for entertainment, inspiration and value. So, it’s not surprising to hear that 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.1

This consumer interest has created an opportunity for brand marketers to tap into a level of authenticity and new types of content never before available for advertising. The trend is clear – 86 percent of marketers say they have used influencer marketing and 94 percent found it effective.2 It works online, so have you thought about bringing influencer content into your print advertising?

Maybe the better question is – are consumer conversations limited to online social channels? Of course not!  A new study reveals that a combined 19 percent of sales can be attributed almost equally to offline and online social conversations.3 The study concludes, “We now have concrete proof that by understanding what consumers are saying, both online and offline, and how media buys impact those conversations, marketers can optimize their marketing spend and make their dollars work even harder.” Traditional media plays an important role in stimulating these consumer conversations and represents a real opportunity for marketers to improve results. 

Technology – namely mobile devices and social media channels – has changed how consumers find information and learn about products. So, how can you respond to the trends and leverage user-generated content in traditional print media? Here are a few things to consider:

1. Broad Reach for More Influence.
Content creators might reach a few thousand followers, or a few million. Research indicates the smaller influencers deliver more authenticity and higher engagement with their followers. Use the broad reach of print with creative featuring these smaller influencers to deliver that deep engagement to a wider audience for your brand.

2. Refreshed Creative.
Effective influencer marketing is characterized by high-impact visuals and relatable advice from people like you or me. Bring this type of socially-inspired content into your print design as a way to attract and activate new consumers. Expand beyond the confines of print by steering consumers online for more value – in the form of special offers, additional content or ecommerce links. Simply switching from stock photos to Instagram-style photos has been shown to significantly improve engagement and conversion.4

3. Cross-channel Engagement.
Winning campaigns extend beyond a single media or channel. Your best outcomes will likely result from integrated campaigns that change consumer conversations. Feature select content creators in print and use others online to amplify reach and engagement. Consider how content creators can facilitate your next sampling program; hire them to show up at a store opening; or build engagement with promotions that actively involve followers and readers.

Not many marketers have fully realized the opportunity they have with influencer marketing and applying the approach to print might seem risky. As always, when you consider trying something new, do a test. One of the long-standing benefits of print media is that it is easy to measure results and calculate return on investment. And, with complementary content online, there are new insights available about reach and engagement, including how your media tactics work synergistically. Be bold and dive in to the hottest thing in marketing – chances are you will be influencing your peers and starting a new trend.


  1. HubSpot Infographic, 2017
  2. The State of Influencer Marketing 2017, Linqia
  3. Engagement Labs, 2017
  4. Maven, 2017