12 Pros and Cons of Newspaper Advertising

Although the internet is clearly here to stay, there are other traditional forms of media that still have a lasting presence. One of those media options just happens to be the newspaper. Newspapers may be struggling in certain parts of the world, but they still reach numerous people every day with information they want to see. Many newspapers are also online, which gives people instant access to breaking news.

Newspapers don’t exist without advertising revenue and customers purchasing papers or online subscriptions. People will see this advertising if it is designed correctly. If you’re thinking about expanding brand awareness through the local news, then here are the key pros and cons of newspaper advertising to consider.

What Are the Pros of Newspaper Advertising?

1. Newspapers are a trusted form of media.
The reputation of a newspaper is transferred over to the businesses or individuals that advertise within it. Most people who subscribe to a newspaper will read it regularly because the respect the content it contains. This also means they’ll be automatically willing to accept the value proposition offered in an advertisement because the overall product they are using [the newspaper] is already seen as valuable.

2. Consumers are more willing to accept newspaper advertising.
People aren’t stupid. They know that if a local newspaper is going to stay in business, they need to sell advertising space. Local businesses who purchase newspaper advertising must also be able to stay in business. Because of this relationship, consumers pay attention to newspaper ads and shop at local businesses as a way to support their local community.

3. Newspapers focus on current events for a minimal investment.
Placing a newspaper advertisement can cover a number of options. Daily advertising is always a possibility. Special advertisements can be placed for events that are being hosted by a business or community. In return, an awareness of what is going on with a specific brand is very affordable to obtain because just one advertisement can be enough to draw people to an event, a new product, or other need.

4. It can be used as a form of content sharing.
Some newspaper advertisements today are structured as if they were a news story. These ads provide people with 250-400 words of exact content that can lead those readers to a desired conclusion. This content can be about virtually anything: new programs, the value of new products, or even how a new employee might be able to change the working environment of the brand. This skips the press release process entirely.

5. Consumers take the advertising with them.
Many people take newspapers with them during their commute to work. They’ll read a paper at the doctor’s office or while eating lunch. This means your advertising and brand recognition opportunities follow each footstep taken for continued recognition. In some ways, there isn’t a better way to obtain multiple chances for brand exposure thanks to the portability of most newspapers.


6. You can quickly pull a non-functional advertisement.
Newspaper advertising can be structured in such a way that you can pull an ad that isn’t functioning. Some newspapers require contracts, but even then you can swap a non-performing ad for a new one if it becomes necessary. This flexibility isn’t always offered in other forms of print media.

What Are the Cons of Newspaper Advertising?

1. There is a slow and steady erosion of newspaper readership levels.
Many newspapers are focusing on their online presence because of how deep their readership has eroded. This requires advertisers to purchase a spot in the newspaper and online in order to maximize their investment value. Less than half of Americans read a newspaper every day, so not every business will experience value from their ad placement.

2. You have to pay a surcharge to guarantee advertisement placement.
Unless you’re willing to purchase a specific package at a higher rate, your advertisement is going to run where the newspaper needs it to run to fill space. This means there is a chance you could be on Page 2… or you might be on a page that gets virtually no readership. Targetability comes with a price in newspaper advertising and the return value doesn’t always show up.

3. The cost of newspaper advertising is not as competitive.
Compared to other forms of media advertising, newspaper advertisements are one of the most expensive that is available today. This is especially true when looking at the actual cost per customer acquisition rates that are typically seen within the industry. If there is a conversion rate of just 0.5%, a $1,500 newspaper ad may not even pay for itself some days. That’s why constant monitoring on the advertisement is necessary.

4. There is no way to control target demographics within a newspaper that is delivered.
Newspapers provide excellent advertising opportunities when geographic locations are being targeted. What they don’t do well is provide much help toward specific target demographics. The only exception to this rule would be for businesses that wish to target fairly wealth Caucasian households. 9 out of 10 regular subscribers to a newspaper come from a Caucasian background.

5. Newspaper advertising doesn’t allow for errors to be corrected.
Once the newspaper ad has been printed, there is no coming back from it. If there are errors in place, then those errors are going to be permanent until the next printing. Even when a proof is approved by an organization, errors in the final printing process can still creep up and change prices, terms, and other specific data points that can provide readers with an inaccurate value proposition. Corrections can run at the store or in the next issue, but many consumers will see the mistake as your fault and refuse to do business with you because of it.

6. Image quality within newspaper advertising can be quite poor.
What sets you apart from the rest of the competition? If your value proposition is within the actual quality of the product itself, then the images that can be displayed within the newspaper might not communicate this message as well as it could. The low quality images can actually detract from the message and send customers over to the competition – and there’s the fact that you’ll pay more for photo placements to consider as well.

The pros and cons of newspaper advertising show that it can be an effective medium if the negatives are considered before finalizing a contract. It is a flexible and mobile method of advertising, especially when print and online ads can be combined together with the newspaper. It may not be the best option for every business, but by evaluating these key points, you can decide if they are right for you.

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