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The Helcim Blog / Merchant Guides

Newspaper Advertising: Is It Worth It?

Danny Randell | October 5, 2021

“An advertising medium that doesn’t get as much attention these days but still plays a pretty major role in media is the newspaper.”

3 min read

Trying to crack the code on what sort of advertising actually works isn’t easy. Just ask the hundreds of millions of businesses out there spending billions of dollars on ads every week! (Coca-Cola alone spends $4 billion dollars a year on advertising.)

One of the advertising mediums that doesn’t get as much attention these days but still plays a pretty major role in media is the newspaper. While this medium might seem a little outdated (especially to North Americans), front page paper adverts still get a lot of looks and cost a pretty penny.

Although many of the largest advertising mediums are difficult to measure, there’s something about seeing your company’s name or latest product plastered on a paper, billboard, or TV screen that just screams awareness. But how do you really know if newspaper advertising is worth it? It comes down to weighing the cost and the benefit.

Newspaper Advertising Cost: How Much Is It?

Newspaper advertisements are generally priced primarily according to size. Though colour vs. black can also be a factor. When it comes to size, any newspaper you’re looking to advertise with will use one of two types of pricing models: modular or per column inch.

Both pricing models don’t take long to become acquainted with. Modular is a little simpler; rather than using a specific measurement, modular pricing is based on commonly understood sizes (e.g. half page, quarter page, etc.).

Conversely, per column inch pricing, as the name suggests, relies on an accurate measurement in inches for length and measures the width of an ad in standard newspaper columns (i.e. one column, two columns, etc.).

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Factors Affecting Newspaper Ad Cost

There is more than one way to advertise in your local newspaper. You can buy something as small as a classifieds space to as large as an entire front page. So your first consideration might be: how big do I want the ad to be? And the second: do I need visuals or text only?

If you decide you want visuals accompanying your ad there are a few additional questions you’ll need to ask yourself to determine the money you’ll spend:

  • Can I design it myself?
  • Am I willing to pay someone else to do it if I can’t?
  • How much can I afford to pay them?

Additional factors affecting cost include which day of the week you want to run your newspaper ad (e.g. Monday vs. Saturday), the size of the publication, and where in the newspaper you want your ad to appear (i.e. which page or section).

Measuring Return on Investment Of course, you’re never going to know exactly how many pairs of eyes landed on your newspaper ad. You can’t measure these types of advertisements by clicks and conversions, but you still need to account for costs and try and figure out how (or even if) your newspaper ad achieved anything for your business.

Pro Tip: Measuring your return on investment is crucial in advertising. One of the best ways to measure how many people are engaging with a print advertisement is by incorporating an online (measurable) element. For example, try creating an associated landing page on your website that only people who have viewed your ad will search for. This way, you can track electronically how much interest your ad is getting. Alternatively, use another call to action, such as asking people who’ve seen your ad to enter a contest or claim a voucher online.

Both of these options can be challenging to implement because they require people having to do something. You still won’t know the total number of eyeballs you got on your ad and how many people were intrigued, but simply didn’t have time to enter your contest or forgot to visit your website.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, when you’re advertising, it’s important to remember that your main priority is getting your name out there and raising brand awareness. When you’ve come to terms with this, you can live with a less tangible or immediate return on investment and just be glad to get some exposure for your brand. No matter what sort of ad you decide to put out, just make sure you’ve done the groundwork and are confident it’s going to turn heads—the format of an ad doesn’t matter half as much as the content. A good ad is a good ad, no matter how big it is or how many people see it. The medium you choose will take care of the last part, but the first part is up to you.

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