Do you remember what life was like before the Internet?
When you think about it, the Internet hasn’t been around all that long. But it is so intertwined in our lives that it’s hard to imagine it ever not being here.
Long gone are the days when you’d be watching a television show, see a familiar face on the screen, and find yourself futilely trying to remember that actor’s name. (“Oh, it’s that guy. He’s been in tons of stuff, but I can’t think of his name or where else I’ve seen him before!”) Now, while you’re sitting on your sofa, you can just pull up the show’s IMDB page on your smartphone and find information about “that guy”—as well as about every other cast and crew member involved with the show!
Gone, too, are the days when doing research on a subject required a trip to the library to spend the afternoon looking through encyclopedias and other hard-copy texts. Thanks to the Internet, a wealth of knowledge is just one click away. (And often, that one click leads to another click, which leads to another, and to another . . . )
We live in a golden age of information sharing. It is truly amazing to consider just how much is out there. But how can we process it all without getting overwhelmed? The short answer is “we can’t.”
Last year, the business data management company Domo calculated how much online data was being produced every minute. The numbers are staggering:
277,000 tweets on Twitter
2,460,000 shares on Facebook
204,000,000 sent e-mails
4,000,000 searches on Google
3,472 pins on Pinterest
216,000 posts on Instagram
Can you imagine seeing that much content in one minute, much less actually comprehending it? Even over the course of an entire year, a single person couldn’t begin to process that much data!
People see a lot of stuff on their screens every day—and most of what someone encounters isn’t relevant to his or her interests. As more and more information is produced on an ever-increasing number of channels, it becomes increasingly difficult for signals (useful information) to cut through the noise (useless information).
Consider, for example, the most popular social media site in the world: Facebook. A tremendous amount of data moves through Facebook’s one billion registered accounts each day. The leader of the company’s ads marketing team, Brian Boland, explains:
On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.
In order to make it more likely that users see the posts that are most relevant to their interests, Facebook employs some fairly sophisticated computer algorithms. Rather than see everything that’s produced by their friends and by the companies and pages they like, users see a curated selection of that content.
Unlike Facebook, though, most of us don’t have an army of programmers at our beck and call. So the challenge for marketers who want to reach their audiences via social media is to find other ways to help their signals stand out from all the noise.
Volume is one way to accomplish this: if you put your content out there in a large enough quantity, it’s bound to get seen, right? Perhaps. But it’s also very likely to be ignored, especially if your competitors have the same idea and also increase their output. Also, there’s a fine line between saturating your market and oversaturating it—and once you cross that line, you run the risk of annoying your audience to the point of alienating them. Some marketers who realize that have turned to a “new” media that’s actually been around for a long time: print.
Print magazines in particular have a proven effectiveness in helping companies cut through the noise. By their novelty (in comparison to digital media), print magazines stand out and can therefore make a lasting impression with their audiences. Their format enables more targeted communication, and the staying power they have as physical objects increases both the reach and the duration of that messaging.
Rather than jump on the Internet marketing bandwagon with everyone else, why not forge a different path and give print a try?