The Role of Advertising in Newspapers

Revenues from sales of advertising pay for the bulk of the costs of newspaper production. That’s why the reading public pays so little for its newspaper.

What is advertising?

An advertisement is a message designed to sell the advertiser’s goods or services to prospective buyers.

Types of newspaper advertising

There are two types of newspaper advertising – display and classified. A display advertisement is a written message, often accompanied by an illustration or photograph, which can be placed in any section of the newspaper. A classified ad refers to those advertisements that are separated into specific classifications and located in one or more sections of the newspaper.

Display advertisements

There are two types of display ads found in the newspaper – national and local. National advertising usually refers to products that are promoted on a nation-wide basis, such as automobiles and brand-name products or retail chains. Local advertising is used to promote local, regional or national products. The ad is written, however, to appear in the local market.

When placing a display ad, the advertiser is charged by the amount of space the ad occupies in the newspaper. The price of the space varies with certain factors:

  • Newspaper circulation (the larger the circulation the higher the price charged)
  • Size of ad
  • Use of colour
  • Guaranteed position in newspaper
  • Day the advertisement runs
  • Advertising frequency

To attract a reader’s attention and to sell a product, many techniques are used in the creation of a display ad. As a result, these ads are usually professionally prepared in creative services departments of the newspaper, the advertiser or a contracted advertising agency.

The physical appearance of an advertisement often determines its attractiveness to the reader. Some aspects considered in ad preparation are:

  • Size of the ad
  • Use of colour
  • Amount of white space, i.e., not too crowded
  • Graphics chosen
  • Type style and size of text

The information included in an ad can definitely influence its effectiveness in selling a product. Some display ads are purely factual and appeal to reason. Information in these ads usually relates to:

  • Quality of the product
  • Price or value of the product
  • General description of the product
  • Guarantee of the product

Classified ads

Classified ads are not written by creative service departments, but by individuals wishing to advertise goods and services available or needed.

When placing a classified ad, advertisers are usually charged by the line. As a result, classified ads are brief. The price varies with the number of insertions desired and the particular days chosen. For example, the unit cost of an ad may decrease if it is run all week. On the other hand, a premium could be added to the cost if a high circulation day is chosen, such as Saturday.

In some cities and towns different days are popular for certain types of ads. In your area, for example, Saturday may be a heavy real estate day, while Monday may be popular for car and truck ads.

Placing a classified ad is very simple. One dials the classified advertising department of the newspaper and a trained operator assists in the placing of the ad. The operator will also help in the writing of the ad and in the selection of insertion dates. The process can also be done on-line. The classified ad section is organised to assist readers in locating relevant information. Many classified ad readers have specific goals in mind, rather than casual browsing. The classified ads – as their name implies – are grouped together according to product or service type. An overall index conveniently directs readers to each specific category, within which listings are arranged alphabetically.

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