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

For any business to be successful, the most appropriate advertising medium and strategy must be used. Afterall, advertising is a hefty investment so it important to get the best deal for each dollar spent.

Newspaper, radio, television, magazines – which one should you choose?  The answer is different for each business, each situation, each location and each product.

The following are the pros and cons of each medium.  This can help you decide which medium is the best for your business.

The Good:

  • It’s fast.  A newspaper has daily issues so an ad can come out the next day.  If you need to grow your business fast, this is the option to go.
  • Newspapers  have wide array of editorial topic selection. You can place your ad in the section that is most relevant to your business. This helps you focus your advertising effort to your target audience.
  • You get a lot of room, if you need it.  You can pay for a long copy in the broad area of a newspaper or if you want a short ad, you can also buy a small ad space.
  • Newspapers can also insert your flyers or other pre-printed materials that you have.
  • You can use them to distribute reader response items, such as coupons, surveys, or contest entry forms.
  • A newspaper ad gives the audience something to cut and clip. Radio advertising is sometimes called “invisible ink” because it is gone as soon as it is broadcasted.
  • Depending on circulation, newspaper can reach large numbers of people. Lage urban cities may easily reach 1 or 2 million potential buyers overnight.
  • Newspapers are available nationally, regionally, or locally.
  • Newspapers also reach possible non-readers who might be part of your secondary target audience. With the use pictures, you can still reach potential customers who are non-readers.
  • Tend to be cheaper than other mediums, depending on a number of variables.
  • Newspaper ads are easier to produce, and thus less costly. A photographer and a layout artist would entail less cost than a TV ad which would require actors, director, cameramen, etc
  • Repeat exposure is 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. A newspaper ad can be run everyday which increases its exposure to the target audience.
  • Newspaper can reach people who do not have access to other media such as radio or TV.
  • Many people buy newspapers to specifically look for ads they are interested in.
  • You can use dealer listings.

 

The Bad:

  • Sometimes charge relatively high-cost premiums for less than full-run purchases.
  • Newspaper ads don’t beep, squeak, blast and make noise and colorful moving images as do radio and TV.
  • Since it focused locally, it doesn’t reach customers on a national level.
  • Because of tight printing schedules, last minute changes is not possible.
  • Newspapers do not produce as high a frequency level as other media forms.
  • Large space ads can be very expensive.
  • Ads in newspaper compete heavily with other ads on the page. Newspapers usually have a lot of clutter and clutter is not good for ads.
  • Color quality is poor especially if compared to magazine color quality.
  • Newspapers are usually read by an adult audience.  If your product is targeted at a younger audience, a newspaper probably won’t reach these people.
  • Newspaper are viewed by one person at a time.

The good:

  • Radio stations have different formats 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. Your ad may be played during the time of day most relevant to your product.
  • It is able to deliver your message to everyone listening to the ad at the same time.
  • It’s fast. Radio can be be played the next day if production and airtime is available.
  • Radio advertising is intrusive as it butts in on your listening. The only option is to listen to the ad or change the station.
  • It is able to reach a national, regional or local audience.
  • It is able to target consumer segments.
  • Repeat exposure as a radio ad is often repeated, thus driving the message home.
  • Some radio stations operate 24 hours a day and your ad can be heard round the clock.
  • Radio can reach people as they are on their way to the store. This is very powerful as your message is delivered prior to actual shopping.
  • Tends to be cheaper per announcement than either TV or print. Some expert say that it is probably the most cost efficient of all media.
  • Radio ads uses the human imagination. It engages the listener to conjure up images in the listener’s mind with the use of voice and sound effects.
  • A catchy song can be stuck in a listener’s head for the rest of the day.

The Bad:

  • Most people have the radio as “background noise.”  Most are only half-listening.
  • Because of lack of attention, you have to spend more for more spots for repeat exposure.
  • It can be a challenge for a listener to take physical action such as writing down the details of the product, the 800 number to call or an address to remember.
  • You generally need more up-front money to buy up the large number of spots.
  • People retain better what they can see than what they hear. Capturing visual attention is essential in advertising.

The Good:

  • Color is a prime motivator of the human mind and ads are usually in vivid exciting color.
  • Ads make use of elements of sight, sound and movement all at once which stimulates human senses.
  • TV ads can deliver message to all people watching  simultaneously.
  • Like radio, TV ads are intrusive.  Potential customers does not have to seek out the ad as it comes to the viewer.
  • Available nationally, regionally, or locally.
  • TV ads are able to focus on concentrated geographical areas, especially with cable TV.
  • TV has a wide variety of programming which can match the nature of your product. For instance, buying time during soap operas can be beneficial for products targeted for female audience.
  • Because just about everyone watches TV. Thus, TV ads have more reach than any other medium. Not everyone reads newspapers or magazines.
  • TV is good for repetition of ads.
  • Some TV stations run 24 hours a day which means more exposure.
  • Your ad need not compete with a clutter of other ads. But an exclusive spot may cost dearly.
  • The number of responses it produces outweighs the dollars invested.

The Bad:

  • It has the tendency to be very cluttered.  Your ad may be sandwiched deep within a series of other ads, which have long since caused the viewer to mute the TV or head to the fridge.
  • Because your ad runs in between other ads, it weakens long-term memory of your product message.
  • There are usually a limited number of TV spots available, and getting a prime spot is hard.
  • It is perhaps the most expensive advertising medium. Production costs can be very expensive.
  • It may be a challenge to be demographically selective especially if ad is not played on cable TV.
  • Audience is unpredictable and inconsistent.  If 10,000 people see your ad one night, it can drop the next night if there is high-interest program airing on another channel.
  • With the advent of digital video records, programs are taped and allows the viewers to fast forward during commercials.

The Good:

  • Magazines have a wide subject matter and editorial which allows you to tailor your message to a high degree of specificity.
  • Magazines pages are glossy and polished which makes color photographs look superb.
  • It is able to target specific markets without having to waste time or money on irrelevant markets.
  • Magazines offer long copy., full or even multiple pages which help capture the attention and interest of readers.
  • You can insert your flyer into the magazine.
  • You can also include reader response materials, such as coupons, entry or order forms, and more.
  • Unlike radio and TV, magazines are not ‘disappearing ink’ as it gives readers the option to re-read or go over a magazine a second time.
  • Magazines can reach a huge audience, easily in the millions with magazines with bigger circulations. They have national, regional and local reach.
  • The total readership of the magazine allows you to reach specific demographic segments. There are magazines targeted for teenages, adults, entrepreneurs, etc.
  • Magazine ads can reach possible non-readers as well who might be part of your secondary target audience.
  • Magazine ads are able to hone in on the target market and need less repetition. Thus, it can actually be more cost effective than any other media form.
  • Magazines are often read more than once and by more than one person, especially in coffee shops or waiting rooms. Thus, frequency of exposure is high.
  • Magazines can accommodate your listings.

 

The Bad:

  • It takes a while before your ad is posted. A magazine ad may take three to four months before it appears.  If you need fast response, magazine ads may not be the best medium to go.
  • It has the tendency to be expensive especially for one-time runs.
  • There is no sound of movement, although some high-tech ads may have pop-ups or those with micro-chip insertions. However, they are mega-expensive.
  • Magazines are more highly focused thus, they may have less reach.
  • You must submit your final copy and ad prep many months before deadline.
  • Oftentimes, once you have inked the contract, it is impossible to backout.  Generally, once you buy a magazine ad, you are locked in and it is very rare that they offer refunds.
  • For magazines that only run once a month, your ad does not get high frequency unless you buy an entire year’s worth.
  • You only get exposure to one person at a time.

 

The Good:

  • It offers effective product presentation as you get superior quality color on high quality paper.
  • Great for insertions most especially that many people live to scan and clip coupons on Sunday papers and magazines.
  • You may get a long copy which allows you to make a detailed pitch.
  • There is a high chance of repeat exposure as readers tend to hang onto the Sunday paper longer and they are able to read it for a longer time as they are more relaxed on the weekends.
  • It can reach large numbers of people in a short time.
  • Allows more creativity such as using pop-ups, specials inks, scratch-and-sniff, and even insertion of product samples.
  • Ads can reach non-readers who might be part of an advertiser’s secondary target audience.
  • It is ideal for those with limited advertising budget because of high readership and better repetition factor.
  • Production costs is less compared to other mediums.
  • Many people consider the Sunday paper “special” so you are able to reach more people than your ordinary news paper.
  • There is immediate delivery to entire audience in just one day.
  • They can have national , regional, or local distribution.
  • Sunday publications have higher penetration and greater readership locally.
  • You can use dealer listings.

 

The Bad:

  • These ads are nonintrusive and does not force the reader to pay attention.
  • There is no sound or movement which lessens the likelihood of it getting noticed.
  • Usually require advertising materials to be submitted in advance.
  • Last minute changes are not usually possible.
  • Because it is only available on Sundays, people may have a hard time to make connections from one Sunday to the next.
  • It can be extremely expensive especially if you want national or regional coverage.
  • Large space ads are very expensive.
  • Ads have the tendency to be relatively short-lived, and it is thrown out the next day.
  • These may not be able to delivering ad messages to young people.
  • Most often only exposes ad to one person at a time.

There you have it.  Each medium has its pros and cons and it is best to review all before making a decision on which way to go.

But as with any other business venture, it is best to start small and get your toes dipped and wet slowly.  You can do that by starting out with small, inexpensive adds in each medium.  If it is successful, you may then go to other more expensive mediums.

Is there another way to effectively advertise my product?