Online vs. Print Marketing and their Effects on Your Conversion Rates

flyers and postcards

It is becoming more and more important for businesses to advertise online, but many companies are not sure if they should be focusing the majority of their marketing budgets on online or print advertising.

Much of what was direct mail marketing has been replaced with e-mail marketing. However, the basic strategy with e-mail is no different from it has been in the past with letters. Your success or failure depends upon the quality of your list. Today, a list may only be a name and an e-mail, while in the past the list would contain a name and address. Offers are sent to prospective customers and then an attempt is then made to convert respondents into sales.



While most businesses are more comfortable with print marketing, online advertising is the most likely to provide a high return on investment if you have a limited time to promote, or a quick pick-me-up campaign. The goal of any advertising initiative, be it online or in print, is to improve your sales. Internet advertising over time has become much easier to track than its printed counterpart. PPC ads allow you to track your conversion rate with ease. Google AdWords and other online ad management systems automatically track your conversion rates and click-through data. This means that you can see how well your online ads are doing at any time of day and real-time results. While print campaigns utilize coupons, flyers, and market research to track their efficiency but it can take weeks or months receive data regarding these initiatives.


Although there are promising qualities of both, one major advantage of online ads is the fact that they are highly adaptable and can be changed at a moment’s notice. If you find that your online ads are under-performing, you can easily pull them from your ad rotation. However, if you end up with a dud print ad campaign, the money is already spent and you are stuck with the results.

Further, it is much easier to tweak online ads and adjust the keywords that they are related to by using different wording and the like. Having a dozen different print ads is not particularly feasible.

Return on Investment

flyers and postcards


While not quickly able to adjust their campaigns, print advertising capitalizes on in-store purchases. Conversion rates are then not only based on coupon usage, but getting customers in the store with the products; being in the store prompts impulse purchases and often times leads to buying more than they had originally planned. Online ads link to a landing page that encourages the purchase of one product, and it’s up to the user to check out other merchandise.


There is a common misconception that direct mail campaigns are significantly more expensive than those of the online variety, however the truth is, both online and print advertising systems can be expensive depending on how you use them. Both campaigns can be as flexible as your pocketbook will allow. With standard advertising, you can choose how much you want to spend on flyers or in print publications, but it is usually a flat rate. Online advertising allows you to set daily limits on how many times your ads can be clicked on, meaning you have total control over how much is spent on your Internet marketing. However, if your niche has tough competition that is allowing a larger budget for their online ads, your ads have little probability of being seen over theirs.

Prediction of Success

With print ads, market research and historical data to tell you how likely your ads are to succeed. Google AdWords provides you an immediate quality score that can predict the likelihood of your online ad campaign’s success. By looking at the strength of the relationship between your chosen keywords and ad copy, success of the campaign should be a direct correlation with its strength.

Both online and print ads are continually showing an influx in conversion rates, and if well put together, both campaigns can be exponentially profitable. The real choice between print and online advertising is relative to the target market. Build your campaigns around your consumers, their needs/wants, and you will surely see positive results.

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