Print advertising


Advertising in printed press publications can be an effective way of reaching your audience. You can target particular groups by advertising in specialist, trade and local publications. National and general interest publications can offer a wide reach.

Advantages of print advertising

The benefits of press advertising include:

  • local and specialist publications can help you reach a targeted audience
  • an engaged audience who may be looking for coupons and deals
  • different advertising options to suit your needs and budget

Disadvantages of print advertising

The downsides of advertising in print publications include:

  • it can be hard to measure effectiveness, readership figures don't tell you how many people really see your ad, and response rates can be low
  • competition - your advertisement will appear alongside many others, and readers could miss it
  • dwindling readership rates - print media is becoming less popular in favour of online content

Types of publication

Different publications will reach different audiences. Make sure the publication you choose to advertise in lines up with your marketing strategy. Some examples include:

  • Local and regional newspapers - weekly, evening and morning local papers can help you reach potential customers in a particular geographic area. This includes paid-for and free newspapers. 
  • National newspapers - you can reach a very wide audience, however this is not a targeted approach.
  • Local magazines - many areas have local lifestyle and country magazines. These can be useful for certain types of upmarket consumer advertising.
  • Trade publications - there are many trade, technical and professional magazines. These are read by customers, suppliers and businesses in your sector. If your business sells to other businesses, advertisements in these publications can be a powerful way of gaining sales, product enquiries, higher profile, trade partnerships and even potential investors.

Types of print advertising

 There are a number of advertising options in print publications. The most common include:

  • Lineage - usually only in the classified advertising sections and containing only words. Often the cheapest option.
  • Display and semi-display - display advertisements are bigger and more eye-catching. They usually appear on editorial pages or in special supplements, eg motoring, recruitment, property, etc and can use imagery.
  • Advertisement features or 'advertorial'- laid out like editorial pages but featuring your business. You pay for them, and you may also be given advertisement space.
  • Loose inserts (also known as 'mailers' or 'flyers') you supply that are placed inside the newspaper, ie using the paper's circulation to distribute your flyer.

Ask the advertisement department at the publication for a media pack with readership breakdown and rates for different types of advertisement. The quoted rate is only a starting point - always negotiate to try to pay less.

Negotiate for a better advertising deal

Advertising media companies produce rate cards - information on the rates they charge for advertising. But it is usual to negotiate on the final price, according to the type of campaign you want. Negotiating could get you:

  • a price reduction
  • a repeat that's free or discounted
  • a better position in the publication.

You should:

  • Mention your budget, but appear undecided about who to spend it with.
  • Mention rival media you're considering.
  • If you don't need campaigns at specific times, ask media sales teams to alert you when they have one-off deals. This may be when they are seeking to achieve specific monthly or quarterly targets and are willing to consider lower prices.

Remember that most media sales teams will be paid commission, you may find they are persistent. They use their desire to achieve a sale to push their prices down or increase the space you get for your money.

Advertising relies on repetition so prepare to run several campaigns throughout the year. You can get a discount for booking multiple advertisements - a series is generally more likely to be effective than a one-off advertisement anyway. But don't be persuaded to buy more than you need.

Ensure any print advertisement is in the best possible position. Remember that:

  • it is widely believed that right-hand pages, especially early right hand pages (those in the early part of the publication), catch the reader's eye the most
  • an advertisement selling greenhouses, for example, should be on a page devoted to gardening
  • the most effective place for your newspaper advertisement is either page one or three - preferably in the bottom right-hand corner
  • if your advertisement has a coupon - for readers to cut out and send in - make sure it is placed at the edge of the page

Remember that the design and content of your advertisement is critical to attracting your target market. This is regardless of its position in the newspaper.