February 12, 2019 By Trevor McWilliams

5 Reasons You’re Wasting Money with Newspaper and Magazine Ads


If you’re still spending part of your marketing budget on print ads in newspapers, magazines, or yellow page listings, you’re wasting your time and money – there are much more effective ways to market your business. Technology makes things both easier and cheaper, and if you don’t take advantage, you could be throwing money away on ineffective marketing.

Here are 5 reasons you’re wasting your money by placing ads in newspapers or magazines.

Targeting & messaging

When you purchase an ad in a newspaper or magazine, there’s limited flexibility regarding who will see it. Basically, you only get to choose which newspaper or magazine it will be in and, if you’re lucky, the section; otherwise, it’s mostly up to chance. Even worse, only people who read the publication will see the ad, so it’s possible no one in your target audience will even see it.

Number of viewersnewspapers

The number of people who subscribe to newspapers has dropped dramatically in the last decade; last year it dropped a record 10% and is at an all-time low with no signs of it rising again. And be honest – you throw away 90% of magazines before you even open them, don’t you? All this while the number of smartphone users is at an all-time high.

Shelf life of the ad

Newspapers and magazines are printed daily, weekly, or monthly, which limits when people can see your ad. As mentioned, many magazines are thrown away before they get opened, and newspapers are often thrown away after they’re read – and your ad goes in the trash with them. That’s a lot of gambling when choosing when to run your ad because there’s no guarantee anyone will ever see it.  

Too much work for the consumer

Print ads don’t create an easy buying experience for the consumer. Even with a call-to-action, a buyer must go to a device and either type in a link or search for the page the ad refers to. If someone doesn’t have their computer or phone near them when they read the newspaper or magazine, they’ll probably forget about the ad entirely.

No data to track

Once you place an ad in the newspaper or magazine, that’s it – you just hope people see it. You can’t track how many people saw it, cut it out, or used it to go to a link, which isn’t a smart way to do business. If you don’t know if the ad is working, you can’t make edits, or you might run it again despite its lack of engagement (because you don’t know about the lack of engagement). You always want to make sure you’re getting a proper return on investment when spending money so you aren’t wasting it.

The Alternative

Programmatic advertising is the future of advertising – the use of artificial intelligence to buy digital advertising space and decide where your ads will appear based on many customizable factors. Unlike newspapers and magazines, mobile advertising is easier because the consumer sees the ad, clicks on it, and is immediately taken to a page with the buying information. It’s easier for you because it’s faster and more effective; the AI knows your target audience and ensures only a tightly defined group of people will see your ads. Mobile advertising also makes it easy to track, analyze, and change your ads based on objective data.

For more information on programmatic ads, read Search, Geofencing, and Programmatic Advertising – Oh My!

Everyone is looking for the most efficient way for prospects to see their ads, and if you’re still paying to advertise in newspapers or magazines, you’re wasting your money. If you’d like to learn about effective ways to run ads, contact us – we can help!

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