The Best Advertising for Your Dollar: Newspaper, Radio, TV or Internet? How To Tell Which is Best

Posted on

Alone In A Swirling Sea of Classifieds?

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 spent.

Do newspaper ads outpull radio spots — or is the power of television the only way to go? And what about the high tech world wide web? 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.


The Good:

* 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 great.

* Newspapers have wide array of editorial topic selcition to match what you are advertising. For example, if you are selling car parts, you can place your ad in the paper’s automotive section, or have it placed next to news stories about cars. Newspapers 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. Remember, long copy always sells better than short copy. The broad area of a newspaper page is ideal for long copy.

* Newspapers can insert your catalog, flyer or whatever preprinted materials 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’s 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.

* Newspapers can reach large numbers of people, depending on circulation. Lage urban dailies, for example, may easily reach 1 or 2 million potential buyers overnight.

* They are available nationally, regionally, or locally.

* Newspapers 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.

* Newspapers are good for repeat exposure, a vital element of effective advertising. Readers need to see something an average of six to eight times before they “see” an ad or respond to it.

* Newspapers can reach people who otherwise have little access to other media.

* Many people buy newspapers 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.

The Bad:

* Newspapers tend to charge relatively high-cost premiums for less than full-run purchases.

* 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 or a website.

* 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 newspapers tend to compete heavily with other ads on the page. Clutter is not good for your ad, but in a newspaper, there is usually a lot of clutter

* 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 people.

* Newspapers are usually only viewed by one person at a time.


The good:

* 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, others 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.

* Is 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 change 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 repeated 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 like TV or computers.

The Bad:

* Most people have the radio on “for noise.” That is, they are usually otherwise engaged with something while listening, and often are only half-listening.

* 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 capturing vital attention.


The Good:

* Is usually in vivid exciting color, and color is a prime motivator of the human mind.

* 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 advent of 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 Grammy Awards or American Idol. Want to sell feminine hygiene products? Buy time during soap operas.

* TV has more reach than any other medium in terms of all segments of society. Just about everyone watches TV, but not everyone reads newspapers or magazines.

* 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.

The Bad:

* Most often is very cluttered. your commercial 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 product message.

* 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 another channel.

* TV is cost-inefficient when you are after highly focused target markets.

* VCRs are helping TV ads get beyond the “invisible ink” problem of broadcast media. A taped program may be viewed again and again — on the other hand, your commercial may be fast forwarded.


The Good:

* 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 pages 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, magazines are even better on this count than 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 magazines.

* 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 customers.

* 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.

The Bad:

* 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 car-full as in radio or TV.


The Good:

* 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 samples.

* 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 for newspaper.

* Can reach people who do not ordinarily read newspapers or pay attention to other media. Many consider the Sunday papre “special.”

* You get immediate delivery to entire audience — even millions of people — in just one day.

* They can have national, regional, or local distribution, although national is less likely with most 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.

The Bad:

* 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.


The Good:

*The Internet is the global community of computers that makes the exchange of information, pictures and sounds possible.

*Can be in vivid exciting color, and color is a prime motivator of the human mind.

* Is fast. Can achieve astounding success if your website receives enough traffic.

*Available, nationally, regionally, locally and internationally.

*An ALTERNATIVE form of marketing that has many strengths and weaknesses.

*Can be done at low or no cost and levels the playing field. A home based business can appear an compete with large companies.

*A large assortment of creative options: popups, popunders, audio, video, personalizing etc. The list goes on and on.

The Bad:

*The learning curve can be a long one. It takes time before you really understand what you are doing.

*No insertions.

*No social contact. You work alone.

*Ezine ads, classified ads, top ads and solo ads can be expensive.

*Failure rate is high.

*Earning an income online isn’t difficult–but it can be confusing if you don’t manage your time and money, have a consistent plan and stick to it to avoid becoming derailed.

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 ads in each medium. Those that bring the best results deserve to get your future business and a larger share of your advertising dollar.

Good Luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *