10 Pros and Cons of Magazine Advertising

Magazine advertising has long been considered one of the best ways to use print media to promote a business, a product, or even just an exciting opportunity. As the world moves away from the world of print to the world of digital, does this marketing investment still make sense? Here are the pros and cons of magazine advertising to consider for the 21st century.

What Are the Pros of Magazine Advertising?

1. Magazine advertising can be targeted to specific demographics.
If you know that a magazine reaches out to a customer base that is within your targeted demographics, then your marketing efforts will have exposure to many potential prospects. The average person may see over 350 advertisements in a single day, but because your advertisement is within a magazine brand that is trusted, the ad placement is more likely to be noted.

2. Magazines have a long life span.
If you picked up a magazine from 1954 and started flipping through it, you’d be able to still see the advertisements that had been ordered for that issue. This is the true power of the magazine advertisement. A magazine is more than a simple news source or bit of entertainment. It’s a periodical piece of literature that many subscribers save to review more than once. This gives the advertisement placed the potential for repetitive exposures.

3. There is the possibility of pass-on ad exposures.
People read magazines at doctor’s offices while they are waiting. Friends will give magazines to each other to read. Magazines may be read at coffee shops, bookstores, or even at the beach. Some customers read magazines while waiting in a checkout line at the grocery store. All of these examples are instances where pass-on exposure can happen for a brand.

4. It’s an affordable print advertising option.
According to information from Entrepreneur, magazine advertising can start for as little as $500. That’s cheaper than some newspaper advertising, phone book advertising, and even radio or TV. This makes it an affordable marketing option for a business of almost any size.

5. You have multiple design options.
Magazine advertising can be text only or it can be a full display ad. It can be placed on the inside front cover or buried in the back pages. It can be a coupon or discount code, a survey, or even a small mini-article that looks like it was written for the magazine. There are many ways to take advantage of this medium.

What Are the Cons of Magazine Advertising?

1. Good advertising placements can be expensive.
If you want to advertise in a national magazine and purchase the inside front cover for advertising space, that might run a bill of $500,000 or more for that placement. If a magazine is popular, then good advertising placements can get quite expensive rather quickly.

2. Magazines often have deadlines that run months in advance.
You may need 6+ months of lead time in order to successfully run an advertisement in a magazine. This means you’ll need to have your marketing strategy in place well in advance in order to take advantage of this option. This lead time length also means there will need to be added resources given to ad testing before the publication goes to print.

3. There is always a chance your magazine advertisement won’t be seen.
Magazine advertisements can sometimes be put in what is known as the “graveyard.” Those are the pages at the back of the magazine that are almost 100% ads – which are pages many readers just skip over since they don’t contain any meaningful content. There is always the chance that you can pay for an ad and never have it be seen.

4. Ad testing can sometimes be problematic.
If you advertise in a national magazine, then regional testing of your marketing materials can be nearly impossible to do. The reverse is true for regional magazines. Then you’ve got the color testing that you’ll want to do for certain ads and only small test run samples may be made available to you. If you haven’t completed any independent testing before the magazine goes to print, then the ad placed is more of a gamble than an actual strategy.

5. It may give readers the wrong impression.
There are many unintended ways someone can interpret a magazine advertisement. If what is communicated to the reader is negative in any way, even if unintended, then the result is going to damage your brand. That damage can spread if that reader tells their friends, who tell their friends, and so forth.

The pros and cons of magazine advertising show it is an affordable and useful method of marketing. As long as testing is done beforehand and enough lead time is given, many of the negatives can be effectively managed.

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