Canada Post publishes study that proves direct mail triggers more consumer-action than digital media.

A study was done to determine which marketing channels generate more brand recognition and responsiveness. The study used brain-imaging and eye-tracking to gather data from its tests subjects, which monitored the cognitive load, motivation, and visual attention parts of the brain.

The results:

1. “Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media."

             Direct mail needs 21% less cognitive effort to process information and stimulates 70% higher brand recognition.

2. “Direct mail is far more persuasive than digital media.”

             Direct mail’s motivation response is 20% higher and appeals to additional senses beyond touch. The sense of smell creates the greatest effect.

3. “Direct mail is visually processed in less time than digital media.”

             Direct mail needs lower visual attention to retain.

4. “Direct mail is more likely to drive behavior than digital media.”

             Direct mail causes more consumers to take action.


The study states, “Direct mail proved the most effective advertising media, outperforming digital channels consistently— and in some cases, significantly.” It combines low attention value, low cognitive load, and high motivation value, creating the best advertising campaign for consumers to receive. The right direct mail marketing campaign is easy to understand, has an attractive call-to-action location, and can use more than just the sense of touch. Direct mail triggers more responses and actions, the main purpose of advertising campaigns, than digital media.

Articles: A Bias for Action, This is your brain on snail mail: Print outperforms digital in groudbreaking neuromarketing research.