PDFs have long been a major part of internal and external communication. This era is now being replaced by a world in which digitality is becoming increasingly important and has become an integral part of our everyday lives.
From customer magazines to white papers and product brochures, companies are publishing elaborate projects that deserve more attention than a dusty PDF. A lot of time, money and effort is invested in order to have a beautiful glossy magazine on display at an event or trade fair. The marketing department is happy - the finished product is tangible and also looks very pretty. But what if there are much more cost-effective, customized and, above all, environmentally friendly options?
PDFs are too often used as a last resort - the budget has been used up and thousands of copies are being produced as glossy paper waste. So the print version of the magazine is quickly converted to PDF, uploaded to the website and bang - done! You realize that this is not a good digital strategy when you look at the number of downloads.
So here are 7 good reasons why communication with PDFs should be put on ice.
Relics from the time before the cloud
A PDF must be downloaded by the user before it can be read and therefore requires a certain amount of storage space on their end device.They are often quite large and take up space on the hard disk. Because let's be honest: who deletes or archives a PDF after reading it?
Up-to-date software is also required to read PDFs in order to display the document correctly and not completely destroy it.
Not suitable for reading on a smartphone
PDFs are designed to be displayed in the same way on every device - they are not responsive. Therefore, they do not adapt to the appropriate end device - anyone who has ever read a PDF on a cell phone knows exactly what happens when you try to zoom and scroll at the same time.In most cases, you give up after a few seconds before you lose interest.
80% of B2B customers now use a mobile device such as a tablet and are therefore used to easy operation. A PDF cannot meet this expectation.
The content of PDFs cannot be found by search engines
Google and the like have no access to PDF files, as the entire text is anchored there in such a way that it can only be accessed if it is sent to you personally. The writing of the content and all the specialist knowledge can therefore not be found by anyone searching for it. Wasted potential.
Communication via PDFs is almost always static, like in a book or a magazine. Yes, you can link texts in PDFs, but that's about it.There is no such thing as forms or call-to-action buttons, and interactive graphics are also in short supply. This means that content creators quickly squander all opportunities to interact more with their users as soon as they opt for a PDF as a digital version.PDFs cannot be evaluatedBlack box - the PDF remains completely unclear about the user.As the sender, you are left completely in the dark about how often the PDF is read, which devices the users are using, which articles are running and which are not... Data about usage is essential for communicating with customers, it provides information about things such as links and buttons, where in the magazine users often leave off or where a purchase is perhaps made.With a PDF, you don't know how long the reader has spent with it and therefore have no way of adapting the next publication to them.
PDFs cannot be evaluated
Black box - the PDF remains completely in the dark about the user. As the sender, you are left completely in the dark about how often the PDF is read, which devices the users are using, which articles are running and which are not... Data about usage is essential for communication with customers, it provides information about things such as links and buttons, at which point in the magazine the user often breaks off or where a purchase is perhaps made.
With a PDF, you don't know how long the reader has spent with it and therefore have no way of adapting the next publication to them.
Cannot be changed after publication
A published PDF can no longer be changed. If there are changes, it must be completely redesigned and published again as a PDF.The old document must also be taken offline and redistributed - an act that involves many people and can lead to an unnecessary waste of time.
The change loops are often lengthy and therefore a waste of unnecessary resources. Conclusion: PDFs are inflexible.
Sharing on social media is virtually impossible
Have you ever seen a PDF posted on social media? Probably not. A publication as a PDF is practically like a game of hide-and-seek in front of an interested audience - it cannot be shared.
But what can be used instead of PDFs? The solution is digital publications.
The publications are published web-based and can therefore be opened in any browser without the user having to download or save a file.They are structured like a website and search engines can index the content.The content can be found on Google, for example, and sharing it on social media is no longer an obstacle.
With digital publications, user behavior can now be evaluated in real time:How often is the magazine actually read? Which article is the most popular? Where do users drop out? How long do they stay in the publication?
Digital also means interactive - almost anything can be incorporated into a publication: Moving images, audio, links, forms, call-to-action buttons, etc.
In combination with detailed data analysis, this results in a marketing tool that proves to be particularly valuable.
That certainly sounds like it's incredibly complicated. I promise - it's not! Ready-made templates, drag & drop systems, uploading your own media and fonts make creating a digital publication child's play and a very special experience. Changes can be made at any time and are generated in real time, the reader always sees the latest version.
Once you have discovered the advantages of this type of corporate communication, you will never want to go back to dusty PDFs again!