It’s True – Millennials Trust Print More Than Digital

From the decline of newspaper sales to the extinction of long-running magazine titles, we’ve all fallen for the narrative that print is a dying medium. Indeed, as the great Malcolm Tucker declared: “I know these are hard times for print journalists. I read that on the internet”.

This view is encouraged by the stereotype of millennials being glued to their smart phones all day. Whether at the dinner table or in a darkened cinema, many 15 to 34-year-olds apparently struggle to keep their phones in their pockets. After all, it’s how young people consume all their content… right?

Look out, digital – here comes print

Wrong. New research has found that, despite millennials having grown up in the age of mass digital consumption, their trust in website and social media content could be on the wane. We’ve noticed that millennials are falling in love again with print – and marketers are set to reap the benefits.

Much of it comes down to the vital issue of trust. A recent Royal Mail survey found that 32% of millennials “trust information in print more than information on the internet”. It also concluded that, far from bypassing the short attention spans of air-headed millennials, direct mail is 18% more “memorable” to young people than the average sample.

So why are millennials shunning digital for print?

We reckon there are two main reasons for millennials embracing print. The first comes from the relative scarcity of print in the lives of young people. Magazines and direct mail have earned a “novelty” status that earns the attention of millennials, many of whom are sick of being inundated with digital media. There’s something about a physical copy of something that resonates with people – just look at the resurgence in vinyl record sales across the west.

The second reason is that millennials have wised up to the misinformation so often found online. Despite the cliché that young people are easily swayed by what they read on the net, older people are much more likely to fall for fake news on social media. In a recent study, over-65s were found to lack the online savvy to tell the difference between reality and fiction. This phenomenon came to a head with the election of Donald Trump as US president amid the spread of online conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate.” Resentment over these issues may partly explain why millennials are leaving Facebook in such large numbers.

It’s all in the mind

Believe it or not, we now have the support of neuroscience to confirm the power of print over digital. Psychologists at Temple University found that physical marketing such as direct mail, newspapers and leaflets led to a stronger emotional response than digital ads. The research also found that physical media tended to stay longer in peoples’ memories. Fancy that!

In light of this shift in attitudes, many big brands are starting to hop on board the Print Express. When branches of KFC ran out of chicken last year, the company launched a magazine and billboard blitz to manage the fallout. Even NME – the poster child for failed magazines in the digital era – has partnered with Netflix to launch a one-off “comeback” print edition for the launch of a new series.

If you’re ready to launch a print campaign to capture millennials, get in touch with our print experts. From our digital printing service to stunning brochure design, we have all the tools and expertise to manage your print campaign from start to finish.