Newspaper advertising is a great way to advertise your business, especially if your target audience is educated and affluent.
If you think newspaper advertising is dead, think again. Brick and mortar businesses should seriously consider advertising in the newspaper because of the ability to target a geographic area.
Newspaper Advertising by the Numbers
Newspaper advertising reaches 69% of the U.S. population in a given month. Surprisingly, it’s not just Boomers who are reading newspapers. Millennials (ages 21-34) make up 25% of the U.S. population and represent 24% of the total monthly newspaper readership.1
According to Mansimedia 2,
- More than 124 million U.S. adults, or more than 6 out of 10, read newspaper media each
- Fifty-eight percent of adults aged 18-34, and more than 6 in 10 adults aged 35+, read a newspaper.
- Seventy percent of households with income above $100K are newspaper readers.
Types of Newspaper Ads
There are two sections of the newspaper. There are the pages where the news is printed and then there are the classified ads.
If you want your ad to appear in the “news” section of the paper, then you’ll want to order a display ad. Display ads do not have size restrictions and can occupy the full page. When running a display ad, you’ll be able to specify which section of the newspaper your ad will appear. You can also include eye catching images (clip art or photos) in your ad.
Newspaper Advertising Cost:
There are two things that determine the cost of newspaper advertising: the size of the ad and the total circulation.
Before you purchase newspaper advertising, it is important to understand the lingo. Circulation is important because it’s one of the criteria used to determine the cost of advertising.
A newspaper’s circulation is the number of copies it distributes on an average day. There are two different types of circulation:
- the number of copies sold which is call paid circulation,
- the number of copies distributed since some newspapers are distributed without cost to the reader.
Paid circulation newspapers command a higher price than freely distributed newspapers.
There’s another term you need to know before buying newspaper advertising. Readership figures are usually higher than circulation figures because of the assumption that each copy of the newspaper is read by more than one person.
So the first half of the cost of newspaper advertising equation is circulation. The larger the circulation, the more the newspaper will charge for ad space. Paid subscribers are the most valuable in this model.
Newspaper Ad Sizes
Newspapers sell ad space based upon the size of the ad. Newspapers charge by the column inch. A newspaper column is about 1.83 inches (46 mm) wide. Newspapers use different layouts depending upon paper size and design preference. Common page grid sizes include 4, 5, 6 and 8 column grids. 3
Newspapers bill for advertising based upon column inches. In the United States, one newspaper column is 1.54″ (46 mm) wide. The newspapers charge per the column inch. A 1 X 1 ad is one column wide by 1 inch tall. If the rate is $150 per inch, then you’ll pay $150 for each time the 1 X 1 ad runs. A 2 X 3 newspaper ad is 2 columns wide by 3 inches tall. You’ll be charged for 6 column inches for a 2 X 3 ad each time the ad runs. If the rate is $150 per column inch, then you’ll be charged $900 each time the ad runs. (6 X $150 = $900)
Bigger isn’t better
When it comes to newspaper advertising, bigger isn’t necessarily better. When I was working as an AE with a local newspaper, industry studies showed 3/4 page ads are were more effective than full page ads. I took this a step further and sold my clients on running several smaller ads rather than one big one. This was surprisingly successful. One client in particular had great success running a 1X3 ad every day on the same page.
Eye tracking studies have shown that the viewer’s goals influence their eye movements with respect to print ads.3 What this means is that if you’re in the market for a product, when you scan the pages of the newspaper or magazine, your eye will be drawn to the ads about that particular product.
Remember, people are reading the newspaper to get information, not to see ads. This is why 3/4 page ads are more effective than full page ads.
Newspaper Ad Design
Most newspapers have designers who can create your ad. This is part of the cost of running that ad, so you’ll want to take advantage of this service. If you’ve had a designer create other elements of your visual marketing, be sure to include those files when you order your newspaper ad.
The designers at the newspaper where I worked were incredibly talented graphic artists. In one case, one of the designers customized a clip art image to create a logo for a local business.
How to Create Effective Newspaper Ads
The key to creating effective newspaper ads is knowing and targeting your audience. It’s important to use the right language, graphics and design to capture your target audience’s attention.
Even when you use the newspaper’s creative department, you’ll still need to provide the details for your ad.
Start with the headline. A good headline is critical to the success of your ad. You want it to be short and catchy, but it also needs to make sense for the product or service you’re advertising.
Remember, eye tracking studies show that readers eyes dart all over the page from left to right (in the US). The reader’s eyes stop when they see something that sparks their interest. Keep this in mind as you’re creating your headline. A headline like “Sale!” going to be more effective if you add what’s on sale. Don’t make readers work to find your content. If you’re having a sale on shoes, then have your headline say “Big Shoe Sale” instead of just “Sale.”
The ad copy should provide more details about what you’re offering. Don’t forget to include contact information like your phone number, address and/or web URL.
I recommend allowing the newspaper’s creative department to have a lot of freedom when creating your ad. Don’t try to dictate how the ad should look when you order it. The staff may come up with something better than you ever could have imagined. Remember, you’ll always have a chance to proof your ad before it goes to press.
Coupons can be a great way to measure the effectiveness of your newspaper advertising. In order to measure the effectiveness of your coupon, you need to make sure your coupon offer is compelling.
As a general rule, free is always better than anything less than a 50% discount. Remember, math is not our species strong suit. A fast food burger chain had to discontinue their 1/3 pound hamburger because the public thought it was less ground meat than a 1/4 pound hamburger. With this in mind, a “buy two get one free” offer is often much more compelling than a mere 33% discount.
As with everything else, the best coupon offers depend upon knowing your target audience. It’s possible your target audience may be adept at math. The only way you’ll know for sure to is test both options and compare the results.
A newspaper ad can be a great way to get your company in front of a wide audience. It often costs less than other other advertising options. Remember, newspapers have expanded their options and offer content both on the printed page as well as digital editions.