Tried and true: Study finds consumers have an emotional connection with direct mail ads

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

With trust hanging in the balance for most brands these days, especially when it comes to their online practices, sometimes a basic-to-basics and trusted approach is the best way to go. And new survey research and data analysis from Vericast illustrates why print advertisements remain in style—and why they play a critical and emotional role in how consumers choose to engage with and purchase from brands.

The firm’s new Direct Mail Influence study, in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics, based on a survey of nearly 2,000 adults, affirms that print is alive and well. With analysis done by Dr. Martin Block, Professor Emeritus in Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University, offers new insights to help marketers further understand consumer behaviors and the use of direct mail.

direct mail

Specifically, people are:

  • Creating an emotional connection with direct mail ads (1 in 3 respondents feel this way)
  • Finding print ads trustworthy, with 58 percent of consumers saying this about direct mail
  • Spending an average of 1.6 minutes with a direct mail ad
  • Saving direct mail ads to refer to later (88 percent of respondents)
  • Likely to buy (50 percent) after seeing a direct mail ad  

“My assessment and conclusion of the study finds that consumers who use print ads are happy, confident, and consistent. Why is this significant? Years of conducting and reviewing this type of research shows a predisposition for happier people to shop and spend more,” said Dr. Block, in a news release. “The concurrent validity demonstrated across separate studies conducted by Vericast and the USPS supports the continued need for media plans that include direct mail messages to optimize consumer engagement. What gives print ads their edge, according to the studies, is they are more effective at leaving a lasting impression.”

direct mail

Survey highlights include:

People experience more emotional reactions to print ads

  • 53 percent say they look forward to receiving direct mail ads vs. 38 percent for digital
  • 47 percent say direct mail ads give the impression the advertiser is more genuine
  • 54 percent of millennials and 61 percent of millennial parents say the ads they receive in the mail feel more personal than digital ads

Consumers enjoy spending time reading through print ads

  • 82 percent of direct mail readers look at advertisements at least once a week
  • 72 percent regularly read or look at ads in the mail, with Gen X leading at 78 percent
  • 54 percent find reading through mailed advertising enjoyable, rising to 61 percent among millennial parents
  • 49 percent, especially parents (55 percent), consider direct mail a part of their shopping routine
  • Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) agreed they spend more than a minute reading a direct mail ad

direct mail

Interest in making a purchase after seeing a print ad is high

  • Half of respondents say they typically choose to buy after seeing a direct mail ad, while 43 percent say they do this after seeing a digital ad
  • Direct mail drives purchases with 61 percent of consumers being likely to use direct mail ads to research products to buy and/or plan their purchases ahead of time

More information is absorbed from print ads and people often have better recall

  • 64 percent say direct mail is easy to use to compare products, services or stores
  • 60 percent say direct mail ads make it easy to remember when they are ready to make a purchase, while 44 percent feel this way about digital ads
  • Almost half of respondents say direct mail ads are their preferred media for learning about products and services
  • 55 percent indicate they pay more attention to direct mail ads as opposed to 39 percent saying this for digital ads

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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