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Where to Position Your Print Ad for Maximum Exposure

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 10:30 AM |


Just because you’ve spent an innumerable amount of time carefully crafting your advertisement – making sure your headline grabs attention, your typography allows for easy reading, and your images and layout direct your readers’ eye to your call-to-action – doesn’t mean your job is finished.

Choosing where to place your ad is one of the most important decisions that can make or break your overall campaign. In order to get the maximum impact from your ad, you’ll want to consider not only the section of the publication, but also the page side and editorial proximity when negotiating your ad buys. [Keep in mind, even premium positioning, such as the back and inside covers of magazines, which typically come with an added fee, can sometimes be negotiated down if you are a savvy business owner or are working with a professional media buyer.]

Right-Hand PagesClean_Newspaper_Ad.png

When we read, our eyes naturally travel from left to right and top to bottom. When reading a magazine with two pages open in front of you, your eyes with generally end up toward the bottom right side of the page before you turn to the next. Even newspaper readers, who fold their papers to read one page at a time, will usually end up looking at the bottom right-hand side of the page.

Hence, what is called the “anchor” position is the most desirable location for many advertisers and commands top dollar when it comes to negotiating your contract. For those companies with large ad budgets, the expense may well be worth it.

Above the Fold

If you’ve spent anytime advertising online, you’ve come to learn that you always want to get your message ‘above the fold.’ This is because many people don’t bother scrolling down the page before clicking off of it to another one.

This saying originally comes from the world of print. Because newspaper readers often fold pages in half, width-wise, the information appearing “above the fold” is often seen as the most important.

Since the newspaper publishers themselves place their most important editorial content above the fold, many advertisers spend top dollar to get their ads placed here, instead of toward the bottom, right-hand side (as is generally preferred by marketers advertising in magazines).

Magazine CoversMagazine

A magazine actually has four covers: the front, inside front, the inside back, and the back. The back cover is the most coveted and expensive position in the magazine, followed by the two inside covers. Obviously, those inside covers are really the first and last impressions a magazine reader will have. And, when a magazine is placed (or tossed) on the table or couch, there is a 50/50 chance the back cover will be face up, giving all of those ads (or one really big one) great exposure.

Special Sections

Magazines and newspapers are split into different sections, and each can be capitalized depending on your target audience and your message.

Magazines divide their editorial content and place it into the front of the book, feature well, departments, columns, and the back of the book. Less-professional publications will typically cram most of the ads toward the back of the magazine. You’ve seen these magazines, where the last two or three pages is full of ads. Readers tend to skip over these pages. If at all possible, try and place your ad in the first half of the magazine. This position might come with a premium price, but it may well be worth it, and, depending on the publication, you may be able to negotiate this price down.

Newspapers break up their editorial content into sections like local news, sports, arts, business, lifestyle, etc. Getting your ad into the right section of the paper can make all the difference. But think outside of the box to determine which section is the “right” one.

For instance, if you sell a natural supplement that boosts energy levels, the salesperson might stick that in the health/lifestyle section, but you may want to put it in the sports section instead. After all, if your target audience is baby boomers who want to stay active, many of these people will be perusing the sports section, wishing they had the energy to play their favorite sport.

Ad placement is incredibly important to your campaign. Getting it right can mean the difference between little return on investment and huge gains in revenue. As media buyers, we know the ins and outs of ad placement. We’re also able to negotiate on your behalf and get you the best placement for the absolute best price.

If you need help with your next ad campaign, get in touch with us today.

 Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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