Pixels to Paper: The Unanticipated Return of Print Advertising

Print Advertising | SumnerOne

Despite the popularity of digital advertising, print advertising remains relevant in many places around the world. In fact, from 2018 to 2023, the print advertising distribution market in the U.S. brought in $3.9 billion in revenue, involved 1,137 businesses, and employed over 10,000 employees.

Contrary to popular belief, print advertising had a bit of a comeback in the last few years and has continued to thrive. Research from Vericast shows that 70% of consumers value mail ads—so much that they even keep engaging mail ads for roughly 14.5 days!

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, direct mail services helped drive digital activity and engagement. As digital advertising grew by 35 percent and continued to bombard consumers with messages on the web, direct mail marketing benefited from people’s renewed attention and interest.

Print advertising distribution engages consumers through physically printed media. Some print advertisement examples include newspapers, magazines, and brochures sent through direct mail.

The Evolution of The U.S. Print Advertising Market

Businesses have been using print advertising for decades, and the industry has continuously evolved over time. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the market witnessed significant milestones, such as the introduction of color printing, the creation of iconic branding campaigns, and the emergence of advertising agencies. The memorable Coca-Cola ads of the 1920s are a testament to the power of print to captivate audiences.

Direct mail marketing has expanded with the nation and led to the development of magazines and specialized publications. While digital media has gained prominence, advertising printing maintains a unique appeal. Thanks to their large consumer bases and diverse markets, major metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago have become print advertising hubs.

Direct mailer offers a tangible connection that digital ads often lack. The enduring presence of magazines, direct mail services (such as via USPS direct mail), and billboards demonstrates that print advertisements continue to engage and influence consumers.

Modern advertisers and direct mail marketers have come to understand the value of tailored content in direct mail. They’ve observed how customized print ads resonate with specific demographics and people and have started leveraging this knowledge to increase engagement and ROI.

At the same time, some eco-conscious consumers began demanding sustainable print materials and practices. As a result, using recycled paper, eco-friendly inks, and responsible printing processes are becoming standard.

The Enduring Benefits of Print Advertisements

Print advertisements' tangible and memorable touchpoints (including direct mail advertising) complement digital efforts. When strategically integrated with online campaigns, it reinforces brand messages and enhances overall marketing effectiveness.

Here are five key benefits of print advertisements:


Being able to touch, feel, and even smell the ink and paper used in a print advertisement creates a memorable experience for consumers.


Unlike a direct mailing service, advertisers can easily manipulate digital ads or hide them with a click. Direct mail is not just more enduring in a physical form and in consumers’ minds.

Targeted Approach

Advertising printing also allows for precise targeting of niche audiences. Businesses can advertise in specific publications catering to their desired demographics.


People have longer attention spans when devouring print content compared to digital content. Print advertisements capture consumers’ attention for an extended period, which means a higher chance of receiving the brand message and being converted.

Creative Freedom

Since a print advertisement allows experimentation with innovative designs, formats, and sensory experiences, advertisers can apply much greater creative freedom in their campaigns. Such diversity enables companies to engage their target audience’s multiple senses, which can lead to better marketing outcomes.

Print Advertising Opportunities for Commercial Print Shops

The rise in popularity of print advertisements—including direct mail marketing—offers some exciting opportunities for commercial print shops. Here are four key areas where print shop businesses can focus to meet the evolving demands of local companies:


Commercial print shops can gain a competitive edge by adopting sustainable printing practices. Recycled paper, eco-friendly ink, and energy-efficient machinery all reduce environmental impact. Using these (and ensuring that your target audience is aware of this) can help your shop gain the business of environmentally-conscious clients.

Rise of local businesses

With the increasing number of local businesses, there’s also a greater demand for customized advertising materials that can effectively connect with their target audience using direct mail.

Offering advertising printing services—from flyers to brochures to banners and other promotional materials in-between—that cater to small businesses’ unique needs can help you establish a solid customer base.

Niche markets

Commercial print shops can tap into niche markets like luxury print, specialty magazines, and artisanal publications. Offering specialized print services like embossing, foil stamping, and unique paper finishes will help your print shop cater to the discerning tastes of these niche audiences.

Integration with digital

Finally, integrating augmented reality, QR codes, and NFC-enabled print materials in direct mailing service can provide interactive and engaging experiences to consumers and help you earn more business clients. Businesses can enhance virtually every type of print advertisement by integrating such digital technologies.

Advanced Print Advertisement Solutions For Direct Mail Marketers

The print advertising industry will always need commercial print shops. Businesses need creative and high-quality materials to execute effective direct mail marketing campaigns.

Staying ahead of the technology advancements improves productivity and output quality. The right print solutions provider can help your print shop seamlessly adjust to the changing market.

SumnerOne is a trusted print solutions provider offering commercial print shops the best technology recommendations and strategies. Our modern print solutions prioritize efficiency, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. We supply high-speed printers and advanced software to help print shops streamline their processes, thus reducing downtime, increasing productivity, and boosting revenue.

Book a free consultation with SumnerOne today to learn more about our print advertising and direct mail marketing solutions!


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