The Best Advertising for Your Dollar: Newspaper, Radio or TV? How To Tell Which is Best
All business owners are eventually confronted with a serious dillema -- how
to advertise, in which medium, and which is the best deal for each dollar
Do newspaper ads outpull radio spots -- or is the power of television the
only way to go? The answer is different for each business, each situation,
each location and each product.
The following are the pros and cons of each medium. Knowing these can help
you decide which medium is right for advertising your product.
* It's fast. An ad in a magazine may take three months to break. A
newspaper ad can come out the next day. If you need business fast, this is
* Newspapers have wide array of editorial topic selcition to match what
you are advertising. For example, if you are selling car parts, you cac
place your ad in the paper's automotive section, or have it placed next to
news stories about cars. Newspaper also have international news, local
news, etc., all of which help you focus your advertising effort.
* You get a lot of room, if you need it. Remmeber, long copy always sells
better than short copy. The broad area of a newspaper page is ideal for
* Newspapers can insert your catalog, flyer or whatever preprinted
matreials you might have.
* You can use them to distribute reader response items, such as coupons,
contest entry forms, surveys, and other such things.
* Radio advertising is sometimes called "invisible ink." That because it
is gone as soon as it is broadcast. With a newspaper, you can give the
customer something to clip, or something they may see a second time if they
read the newspaper a second time.
* Nespaper can reach large numbers of people, depending on circulation.
Lage urban dailies, for example, may easily reach 1 or 2 million potential
* They are available nationally, regionally, or locally.
* Newspaper allow you to reach possible nonreaders who might be part of
your secondary target audience.
* Tend to be cheaper than other media, depending on a number of variables.
* Newspaper ads are easier to produce, and thus less costly. A TV ad, for
example, may require special effects, actors, video footage, etc.
* Newspaper are good for repeat exposure, a vital element of effective
advretising. Readers need to see something an average of six to eight
times before they "see" an ad or respond to it.
* Newspaper can reach people who othrewise have little access to other media.
* Many people buy newspaper not for the news, but to find out what's on
sale today, or what's happening today. Movie ads are a prime example.
* They have better local market penetration than magazines.
* You have more options in terms of space and unusual ad configurations
* You can use dealer listings.
* Newspaper tend to charge relatively high-cost premiums for less than
* They are flat, and more than literally. In other words, they don't beep,
squeek, blast and make noise and colorful moving images as do radio and TV
* Do not have the reach other media forms, such as national magazines.
* Are not conducive to last minute changes beause of tight printing schedules.
* Newspapers do not produce as high a frequency level as other media forms.
* Large space ads are very expensive and their longevity is fleeting.
* Ads in newspaper tend to compete heavily with other ads on the page.
Clutter is not good for your ad, but in a newspaper, their is usually a lot
* Use of color is crappy, and does not equal that of magazine color quality.
* Tend to deliver only an adult audience. If you have products targeted at
teens or even college students, a newspaper probably won't reach these
* Newspaper are usually only viewed by one person at a time.
* Radio offers a wide array of formats which can reach listeners during a
specific state of mind, which can complement a specific advertising
message. Many people listen to radio while driving to and from work, other
listen in the evening while relaxing next to a cozy fire.
* Delivers your message to everyone in the room or car at the same time.
* In fast. Your ad could be heard the next day if production is available,
ad copy is written and studio time is available.
* Radio advertising is intrusive -- it butts in on your listening, and your
only opiton is to listen or chage the channel, (or shut it off!)
* Reaches a national, regional or local audience.
* Can be effectively targeted to consumer segments, such as teen-agers vs.
seniors, or men vs. women.
* Can be repated often, thus driving the message home. Once again,
repeition is the heart of effective advertising.
* Radio ads can be heard 24 hours a day.
* Radio can reach people as they are on their way to the store. Messages
delivered just prior to actual shopping are very powerful.
* Tends to be cheaper per announcement than either TV or print, and in fact, is probably the most cost efficient of all media.
* Uses "theater of the mind." Radio uses voice and sound effects to conjur
up images in the listener's mind by engaging the human imagination. This
can be more powerful than any pre-developed TV image or still photograph.
* Reaches people who do not like to read newspaper or magazine, or people
who do not view outdoor mediums, such as billboards, and those who do not
* Most people have the radio on "for noise." That is, they are usually
otherwise engaged with something while listening, and often are only
* Repetition is more important to overcome general lack of attention on
behalf of the listener, and thus, you have to spend more for more spots,
which can make up for the lower cost.
* Makes it difficult for the listener to take physical action as a result
of the advertising message. For eample, most listeners do not have a pen
in hand when they hear an 800 number to call or an address to remember.
* You generally need more up-front money to buy up the large number of
spots you need to get the job done.
* Is not visual, and many people retain better what they can see than what
they hear. Also does not move, another aspect of captugring vidual
* Is usually in vivid exciting color, and color is a prime motivator of the
* Uses all elements of sight, sound and movement at once to form a powerful
package that hits on all level of human senses (except touch and smell).
* Can deliver your message to all people in a room simultaneously.
* Is fast, but not as fast as newspaper or radio because it tends to
require more production.
* Like radio it is intrusive. The customer does not have to seek out the
ad, like they must to find a movie listing or a rummage sale. The ad comes
to the viewer.
* Available nationally, regionally, or locally.
* Television ads can be purchased to focus on concentrated geographical
areas, especially with the adventof cable.
* Has a wide variety of programming to match the nature or subject matter
of your ad. Want to sell rock-n-roll CDs? Buy ads during Beavis and
Butthead or Melrose Place. Want to sell feminine hygiene products? Buy
time suring soap operas.
* TV has more reach than any other medium in terms of all segments of
society. Just about evreyone watches TV, but not everyone reads newspapers
* Is good for repepetition of ads.
* TV can deliver your ad at any time of the day, 24 hours a day.
* You can get an exclusive, that is, your ad need not compete with a
clutter of other ads -- but you may have to pay dearly for it.
* Tends to be more cost efficient in terms of number of responses it
produces compared to dollars invested.
* Is probably best for reaching those people who tend not to use any other
form of media.
* Most often is very cluttered. your commerical may be sandwhiched deep
within a string of other commericals, which have long since caused the
viewer to head to the refrigerator. Also weakens long-term memory of your
* Is sometimes hard to get. There are usually a limited number of TV spots
available, and you may not get the program you want.
* Is perhaps the most expensive. There are a lot of production costs
related to TV advertising.
* May be less demographically selective as some other media forms, although
cable TV has helped in this category.
* Your audience can fluctuate widely. If 10,000 people see your ad one
night, a mere 100 might see it the next if a high-interest program airs on
* TV is cost-inefficient when you are after highly focused target markets.
* VCRs are helping TV ads get beyond the "invisible ink" proplem of
broadcast media. A taped program may be viewed again and again -- on the
other hand, your commerical may be fast forwarded.
* Magazines offer a wide variety of subject matter and editorial focuses to
reach readers when they have a state of mind you are looking for. Thus,
you can tailor your message to a high degree of specificity.
* Magazines have glossy, polished paper that makes color photographs and
other graphic elements look like works of art. You ad will look superb.
(That doesn't mean it will sell, however!)
* Can reach very specific target markets without having to waste time or
money on markets you do not care about.
* Like newspaper, you can have long copy. Full or even multiple page ages
let you make a pretty long and detailed pitch. Do people really read all
that fine print? Yes! If you have their attention and interest.
* You can insert your catalog, card, flyer or whatever into the magazine.
* Like newspapers, they allow you to include reader response materials,
such as coupons, entry or order forms, and more.
* They are not disappearing ink. In fact, magazine are even better on this
count that newspapers because people are much more likley to re-read or go
over a magazine a second time. Many people even collect magazines or go
through them for research in the library, giving your ad the chance to be
seen again and again.
* Can reach a huge audience, easily in the millions with the bigger zines.
* Magazines allow for a breathtaking array of creative options: pop-ups,
special inks, holograms, unusual space configurations, personalizing
elements for each reader of the publication, etc.
* They have national, regional and local reach.
* Magazine ads can reach specific demographic segments within the total
readership of the magazine. That's because most magazines have departments
and areas of specific topic or subject matter, helping you to target your
* Magazine ads can reach possible nonreaders who might be part of an
advertiser's secondary target audience.
* Because they are more highly focused and need less repetition, as in
radio, they can actually be more cost effective than any other media form.
* Frequency of exposure is high, as we said, because magazines are often
read more than once and by more than one person. Also, they may read other
similar magazines you have targeted for your ads.
* May reach people that other media do not. Many people prefer to read
magazines to newspapers, for example.
* Magazines can accommodate your listings.
* One of the biggest drawbacks is the long period before you buy the ad and
when it appears. A magazine ad may take three to four months before it
appears. If you need fast cash and customers, this is no help. Also, a
reader may not get to his or her magazine right away upon receiving it.
* Tend to be expensive for one-time runs.
* Do not offer sound of movement, although some cutting edge ads, such as
pop-ups or those with micro-chip intsertions are breaching this drawback.
These are mega-expensive, however.
* Because they are more highly focused, they have less reach, which many do
not consider a drawback.
* You must submit your final copy and ad prep many months before deadline.
Some magazines have a fast close, and other will call up repeat advertisers
with last minute deals, often because they have space to fill or when
others back out at the last minute.
* Although once they start printing, you cannot backout. Generally, once
you buy a magazine ad, you are locked in no matter what. Refunds are rare.
* You do not get high frequency unless you buy an entire year's worth, but
then readers will see them about once a month for most magazines.
* You only get exposure to one person at a time, as opposed to a whole room
or call-full as in radio or TV.
SUNDAY MAGAZINE SUPPLEMENTS
* You get superior quality color on high quality paper, allowing for
effective product presentation, if you are willing to pay top dollar.
* Great for insertions. You know the way it is with all Sunday papers and
magazines -- lots of extras which many readers actually buy the publication
for in the first place. Many people live to scan and clip coupons.
* You get ample opportunity for long copy. Sunday magazines are among the
best place to make a long, detailed ptich.
* As we said, people love to clip coupons, and this is the place people
will most likley use any kind of special insertion, from coupons to
sweepstakes, contests or surveys.
* Have better chance of repeat exposure to your ad than newspapers or
magazines. People tend to hang onto the Sunday paper longer and also give
it a better read because they are more relaxed and have more time on Sunday
to linger over the paper.
* Can reach large numbers of people in a short time.
* You can get very creative, as you can with magazines. This means
pop-ups, specials inks, scratch-and-sniff -- even insertion of product
* Distribution of the advertisement to possible nonreaders who might be
part of an advertiser's secondary target audience.
* Because of high readership and better repetition factor, can be a good
deal for the your scarce advertising dollar.
* Production costs for your ad will be less than all other media, except
* Can reach people who do not ordinarily read newspapers or pay attention
to other media. Many consider the Sunday papre "special."
* You get immediate delicery to entire audience -- even millions of people
-- in just oen day.
* They can have national, regionaly, or local distribution, although
national is less likely with mst Sundays, except the real biggies, such as
the New York Times.
* Sunday publications have higher penetration and greater readership
locally than do competing publications or other media.
* You can use dealer listings.
* Ads do not force themselves on reader as in radio or TV. In other words,
they are nonintrusive.
* No sound or movement in general.
* Usually require advertising materials well in advance of issue date.
Some even have longer lead time time than magazines.
* Relatively inflexible for accommodating last minute changes. Most Sunday
ads are set in stone after you issue a check. You won't get a refund.
* Frequency is lacking because they only come out on Sundays, and people
don't make connections from one Sunday to the next, in most cases.
* Are extremely expensive if you want national or regional coverage.
* Large space ads are very expensive and they are here today and gone
tomorrow most of the time.
* Again, they are relatively short-lived, and quickly end up lining a bird
cage or wrapping a fish.
* Are not good for delivering ad messages to young people: teens, young
adults and children.
* Most often only expose ad to one person at a time, unlike radio or TV,
which can deliver a message to a roomful of people all at once.
There you have it. Based on what you have learned above, you should now be
in a better position to decide which medium is best for your business,
product or service.
Of course, the only perfect way to make a final decision is through test
marketing with each medium. You can do that by starting out with small,
inexpensive adds in each medium. Those that bring the best results deserve
to get your future business and a larger share of your advertising dollar.