After word-of-mouth print advertising is as old and traditional as it gets. For centuries people have been advertising their wares in pamphlets, newsletters, bulletins and newspapers. With the advent of magazines, businesses gained one more important avenue to reach their audience. Radio, TV and online advertising have made a serious dent in print advertising revenue but they have not succeeded in making newspaper and magazine ads redundant. And, despite what some people may think, the effect of newspapers and magazines is unlikely to be negated any time soon.
Newspaper advertising obviously has some important differences when compared to magazine advertising. These differences should be carefully considered before you decide which medium to purchase. For instance:
Because newspapers are read daily, they’re a good medium for sales ads and coupons. Magazines come out weekly or monthly and people tend to spend more time pouring over them, as a result they’re good for brand awareness and image creation.
Magazine ads are more expensive than newspaper ads, so if you’re on a tight budget newspapers are your best bet. On the other hand, magazine ads are more expensive because they’re of a higher quality, especially image-wise. Newspaper ads tend to be grainy, image resolution is low and people spend less time examining them. So you need to ask yourself what you want to achieve with your ads.
If all you want to do is let people know that you’ve got a sale on homemade wooden furniture or wash basins then a newspaper ad will do. Depending on whether your store is national or not you can save costs by sticking to local newspapers. If you have a little more cash to spare and want to sell the idea of your business as opposed to a product then you should invest in a magazine ad. Magazine ads provide more scope for creativity. They’re flashier and richer and you can use them to create an impression. If you specialise in extreme sports then you can use exciting action images in your ads, leaving people in no doubt as to the fun you offer. If you’re a wedding planner than romantic (but not cheesy or clichéd) images will give the impression of professional elegance.
Newspaper ads are immediate. They run daily, so you can expect an immediate response. And because their format is simple it’s easy to change them on the fly. Magazine ads may have more visual impact and longevity but they’re less flexible and because they only appear weekly or monthly the response rate is not as immediate.
There is one more important difference between magazine and newspaper advertising. Newspaper ads can provide wider reach or, geographically speaking, when you advertise in local papers a more targeted reach. But advertising in niche magazines will allow you to directly target your demographic. Magazines tend to have a particular focus – fashion, cars, horses, and pets – so you can reach the people who are mostly likely to be interested in your particular product or service.
When considering which print medium to advertise in, you need to ask yourself:
What are your goals?
What is your budget?
Who is your audience?
Where is your audience most likely to be found?
Answer those questions and you’ll know whether newspaper or magazine advertising is right for you.