Print and web ads create a profitable partnership

June 12, 2017

By Joe Banish

Senior Production Manager | Metro Creative Graphics

The formula for great advertising is—and probably always will be—the combination of an engaging headline, a dynamic image and benefit copy, all deployed to serve the needs of the advertiser and garner results. However, although many elements of effective ads have endured over time (such as adequate white space, balance, readability, etc.), others have been transformed in response to new technologies, shifts in media consumption and changing consumer expectations. Understanding some of the similarities and differences between print and digital ads in this new environment will give you the edge in designing and selling.


Web and Mobile

The fact is that many of today’s millennials—the Holy Grail of advertising demographics—have never personally bought a print newspaper. That does not mean, however, that they don’t look for news and information. Studies are indicating they do look to the websites of their local newspapers as a trusted source. Nonetheless, they approach advertising entirely differently than their parents and grandparents did. Although the old adage of “what’s in it for me?” is foremost in digital ads, as it is in print, the answer in digital form has got to be immediate. A web ad needs to “pop” more than in a print situation because of everything that’s happening around it. And, although the goal of a print ad has traditionally been to get consumers into an establishment to buy a product or service, digital ads go for quicker action. Your digital ads need to be click-worthy.

That click can provide immediate satisfaction in the form of an internet purchase, product or service order, or they can offer a special deal or info on acquiring the product or service IRL (in real life). In order to accomplish this goal, digital ads need to be succinct yet eye-catching, whether they are static or animated. Because the majority of people are now accessing the internet through their smartphones, your digital ads also need to be mobile-responsive.


Print Today

Before the internet, print needed to contain more detailed copy information. Consumers today would rather search for that info online on their own timetable. For this reason, imagery and headlines become even more important in the print realm, as they do in digital ad formats, and cross-promotion to the advertisers’ websites and social media outlets are vital to getting your advertisers the most exposure.

The move toward less copy automatically increases the physical size and relevance of the imagery. That is one reason that advertisers and readers alike tend to respond to eye-catching photo and vector art images. The right image engages us in a quicker read to cut through the bombardment of visual stimuli in our sophisticated visual world. Although there is a trend toward lifestyle photography that alludes to the benefits of the advertised product or service, there is also a trend toward exacting imagery that reflect the industry. For example, although a lifestyle photo might be appropriate in an insurance ad (i.e., happy people with the peace of mind that comes with the insurance), an ad for cleaning air ducts will probably return better results with a before-and-after image of clean air ducts.

In print and digital ads, designers need to walk a fine line between compelling design and the delivery of the ad message. The latest graphic design trends, such as wood and slate backgrounds, word clouds and flat design vectors, can be great attention-getters when used with a deft hand. Yet salespeople and ad designers need to employ an editor’s eye to limit ad crowding with text and items in favor of getting to the point.



Like Einstein’s search for a unification theory, if there is one phrase that can bring it all together when contemplating the similarities and differences between print and digital ads, it’s the phrase, “Keep It Short and Simple.” The acronym KISS is as valid today as ever—and is vitally important in the digital world.



Successful revenue generation for today’s publications depends on being equipped with strategic offerings that meet advertisers’ needs and objectives through locally focused print, online and mobile advertising promotions designed to maximize earnings.

The art, ad and design services of the company I work for, Metro Creative Graphics, could fill this need for your newspaper, while also offering inspiration and a huge head start to providing solutions to today’s multi-media ad content requirements. We have a wide selection of spec ads and imagery

available, which make the task of providing digital and print spec ads for prospects time- and cost-effective. For example, Metro delivers spec ads in print and digital formats for top-selling ad prospects every month, which are ready to present as is or easily personalized to suit individual needs.


Joe Banish is senior production manager for Metro Creative Graphics Inc., a provider of advertising, creative and editorial resources designed to help media companies create, sell and profit with their print, web, social and mobile efforts. Visit or call 800-223-1600 for further information.


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