Posts Tagged ‘newspaper advertising’

Ad Types – Pros & Cons: Newspaper Advertising

January 11, 2010 1 comment

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be presenting a series of posts that identify the pros and cons of a number of different types of advertising.  The intention is to provide a base understanding of both the benefits and pitfalls of the particular advertising channel.

This series of posts is not necessarily meant for other marketing gurus.  It’s meant for the small business owner who spends 90 hours of the week working on their own product or service and who doesn’t have time to become a marketing guru.

Let’s get to it.

Newspaper advertising has been a staple in the marketing arsenal ever sense the first person to print a newspaper decided they needed a little help paying for all that paper. However, over the years there has been an erosion in the effectiveness and value an advertiser receives from newspaper advertising.  Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s so you can judge for yourself:


  • For those people who read one on a regular basis, a newspaper is a valuable and trusted source of both information and advertising messages.
  • Newspapers remain highly ranked when it comes to consumer attitudes toward advertising media.
  • Newspapers are very timely (you can change your ads daily if you’d like – although I wouldn’t recommend it).
  • Portability and comparability – very easy for readers to take along with them or compare one ad to another.
  • Very transactional – reasonable medium for specific transactional messaging as opposed to general branding messaging.


  • Readership erosion – according to the Newspaper Association of America 81% of adults in 1964 read a newspaper regularly, in 2007 that number was down to 48%.
  • Targetability – unless you want to pay a significantly higher rate for your ad, you do not have the ability to choose where your ad will run.  Nowadays marketing is all about your ability to target your message to your very specific prospects.  The last thing you need is your ad for a retirement annuity account to run next to the obituaries.
  • Cost – compared to some other advertising channels newspaper advertising can be very costly (and here’s the important part) to reach your target audience. Don’t be fooled when your new account-rep-of-the-week comes in and shows you sky-high circulation numbers or effective readership numbers.  Ask yourself of those 100,000 “readers” how many are actually in the market for your product? 1%? .5%? Now do the math. That $1000 ad doesn’t look so cheap now, does it?
  • Demographics – if you’re not targeting an older white audience…forget about it! Accoring to the Newspaper Association of America a whopping 77% of single copy buyers during the week are white (79% on Sunday). Actual subscribers are a staggering 89% white during the week and 88% on Sunday.

There you have it.  A few pro’s and con’s of newspaper advertising as I see them. There’s so much more that should come in to your buying decisions but I hope you use this information to help guide you in your decision process after that pesky newspaper account rep has left your office.  And remember that no one advertising channel is the end-all-be-all.  It’s the mix of channels that will determine the success or failure of a campaign.  That’s where having a true marketing professional on your team can really payoff.

Watch next time for my take on television advertising!