What Works in Print Advertising

Updated: October 27, 2010

  • Size of print Ad: The rule of thumb is that the bigger the better. But this means you pay more for the dimensions. And there's a trade off between size and runs. Depending on the campaign it may be better to go with a smaller ad that runs more than to pay for a larger ad that appears fewer times.
  • Ad Placement: The best locations are in the front or the back of the publication. Another good idea is to place it alongside relevant editorial content. Think of it as the print version of content advertising. Another important factor is consistency. If you advertise in a trade magazine month after month, try to place the ad in the same spot (page number or next to the same editorial type) month after month. This will hit big with the regular readers.
  • Print Color: Depending on your budget you may be restricted to use less colors. If thats the case then go with a single color + black. Safer to use black text (easier to read) and go with a background color that isnt used as much in the magazine. Flip through past prints to find an uncommon color - then use that color as your background. This will make your ad stick out more. If you can afford to go full color, then go for it!
  • Shelf life: Each print medium has a shelf life. From Event/conference newspapers being the shortest to trade directories as the longest. Keep this in mind when designing your ad. Ask yourself, will this medium still be around 6 months from now? If so, then how relevant is my ad at that time?
  • Leads tracking: Of course print ads don't offer the same leads/visitor tracking as their online counterparts. But there are other ways to track print performance. This can be as simple as a different promotion code/url/email in the creative. This is an easy way to track which run/creative/style brings in the most bang-for-the-buck.

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