Printed Marketing: Selecting Ad Size - dummies

Printed Marketing: Selecting Ad Size

By Alexander Hiam

What size ad should you buy when you have designed a printed ad for your marketing campaign? The answer depends in part on the design of your ad. Does the ad have a strong, simple visual or headline that catches the eye, even if it’s only a third of a page in size? Or does the ad need to be displayed in a larger format to work well?

In addition to your (or your designer’s) judgment about the specifics of your ad, also take into account some general statistics on what percentage of readers notice an ad based on its size. As you may expect, the rate goes up with the size — bigger ads get more notice (all other things being equal), according to a study by Cahners Publishing Co.

Selecting the Right Size Ad
Size of Ad Percent of Readers Noticing Ad
Fractional (part-of-page) ad 24%
One-page ad 40%
Two-page spread 55%

The bigger the ad, the bigger the impact. But also consider the fact that the percentage of readers noticing your ad doesn’t go up in proportion to the increase in size. Doubling the size of your ad gives you something like a quarter more viewers, not twice as many.

That’s partly why the cost of a full-page ad isn’t twice the cost of a half-page ad. For example, a full-page, four-color ad in Health magazine costs 59 percent more than a half-page, four-color ad.

The same ad, run at full versus half size, probably attracts, at most, about a third more reader notices, meaning your cost per reader exposed to the ad is higher for that full-page ad than for the half-page ad (although your impact on each of those readers may be greater with a larger ad, which is why the cost per reader can be set at a higher level for a larger ad).