2015’s Top 5 Print Advertising Trends for Science Marketers

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the importance of print — both as a content distribution channel and as an advertising platform.

Yet print is still very much in the game for science communication, as well as media as a whole. Not only do readers tend to focus more intently on print ads, but they also see print ads as more credible and relevant when they’re already engaged in publications they trust.

Print TrendsAs we gear up for a successful 2015, here’s a look at some of the top trends to embrace in the world of print advertising. Overall, expect to see an increase in strategies for generating user-specific content, which will generate higher return on investment. In addition to everyday best practices for print ads, keep these evolving trends in mind as you create your media plan for the year ahead.


Native advertising takes off.

Native advertising is a content-driven approach that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. While it’s often associated with online media, this type of ad has fully launched in print publications, including Nature and Drug Discovery News. C&EN itself instituted C&EN Supplements as a way for richer, more in-depth advertising content to reach an interested audience.

For examples from some major outlets, take a look at this post that outlines both effective – and ineffective – native advertising examples. While some say native advertising can blur the lines of advertising and editorial, many see the value it holds for providing revenue to publications while serving up content audiences actually want to consume. To do it right, then, develop content that’s useful to your audience and is from a trusted source: if you’re too promotional, or if you try to ‘trick’ your audience, you’ll lose credibility.


Augmented reality gets real.

Augmented reality combines the digital and physical worlds to offer science-driven brands a unique opportunity to interact with customers. The approach leverages smartphone technology, allowing marketers to imagine completely new ways of adding value to traditional print media. Users and brands have the ability to connect even further with a product, during and after a purchase. Scientists viewing this type of advertising will be able to connect with relevant information at that very moment, and advertisers have an opportunity to take readers directly to a website to engage and learn more.


User experience for print advertising.

User experience is often discussed in the context of a nifty website. But the idea of designing around the user is becoming more commonplace in the print world, as well. With the user’s experience at the center of design, ads are becoming more adept at capturing and sustaining users’ attention — something that’s essential in the science industry, where there’s often a lot of information to communicate. To adopt this strategy, take consumer insight to the next level. Get ultra-specific about your audience, its mindset, and the problem your product solves. Scientists have busy lives; to pique their interest, you must provide your information in the way that’s most useful to them.


Story-led advertising.

Storytelling and user experience go together like a test tube and a reagent. Increasingly, science-driven companies are moving from traditional advertising to neatly crafted, integrated storytelling that captures the audience’s interest and makes them want to learn more. (And was certainly a hot topic at iPharma’s conference last year.) Different pieces of the story can be told in different mediums, starting with print and moving through online and mobile. The end result is an advertising campaign that not only aligns with your brand, but that resonates with customers. A great story is so compelling that readers will feel they’re a part of it. What stories does your brand have to tell?


Targeted placement.

Gone are the days of blasting readers and blindly placing content – hitting those select few are going to give you more return on your money. Personalization will become even more precise in 2015, with companies looking for opportunities to showcase their ads in trade publications, special sections and local or regional circulations. While this has always been possible, the idea of personalization has reached a whole new level, with unique ads sometimes created for specific print issues.

These five advertising trends have one thing in common: serving the consumer. By understanding, targeting and engaging with them in the right way, any science-driven company can get the most from their print advertising this year.

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With 2015 behind us, what do you think will continue, or finally land, in 2016?


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