Advertising tips and suggestions for how to improve the effectiveness of magazine print advertising.

According to The Association of Magazine Media (formerly Magazine Publishers of America),

“…print advertising has been found to be the strongest medium in terms of helping [consumers] be aware of a new… product or what the product looks like on the shelf.”

With more and more products currently becoming available in the craft market, it becomes very important to uncover all the ways to get the most out of your magazine print advertising and reach consumers with your message.

There are numerous details to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of a print message. Ad size, color, bleeds, and positioning all work together to create the impression a print ad makes on the reader.

Many advertisers consider placement a significant factor in the success of a print message. According to the authors of the MPA Handbook, however,

“Print ads must stand on their own, communicate the advertisers’ objectives and support the marketing strategy. Then they will be effective no matter where they are placed.”

While placement of your ad in a magazine is not the most significant deciding factor in its effectiveness, other factors like color, bleeds, and ad size do play a role in improving performance. So how can an advertiser tell if they have the most effective combination? You may already feel you have an ad that is working for you, but some of the suggestions listed here may improve your ad’s effectiveness.

Use of Color

If you are running a black & white ad and want to improve your magazine ad effectiveness, try adding color.

A four-color page ad has a 45% higher effectiveness rating than a black & white page and a four-color spread has a 53% higher effectiveness rating than a black & white spread. If four-color is out of your budget, try adding a second color to your current black & white ad.

The response to my advertising more than doubled when I added a second color to my ad”.
— Mike Taylor, Columbus Washboard Company

Bleed Ads

If you’re already running a color ad but want to increase the effectiveness, try a bleed ad.

“Bleed ads have a definite advantage over non-bleed ads. Full page four-color bleed ads obtained a 15% higher score on effectiveness than non-bleed four-color ads. Even black & white bleed ads scored 11% higher than black & white non-bleed ads.”
— Starch Tested Copy

Magazine Ad Size & Shape

Of course the size and shape of your ad have an impact on its effectiveness. According to Starch Research, the top ten rank as follows:

  1. Three single-page ads following each other on the right side
  2. Two-single page ads in different sections of the same magazine on the right side
  3. Double-page spread
  4. Single-page ads on right
  5. Single-page ads on left with strip on right
  6. Single-page ads on left
  7. Checkerboard ads on right
  8. Checkerboard ads on left
  9. Half-page ad, upper right
  10. Half-page ad, lower right

Magazine Ad Placement

While placement of your ad is less important than the ad itself, there are some specific positions that effect performance when considered with the other factors. For example, ads opposite the Table of Contents earn higher effectiveness scores than comparable run-of-book ads. In fact, according to Starch Research, they score 25% higher.

As well, cover placement seems to be one of the more significant placement issues that actually effect readership. Ads on the second cover had the highest average scores with the greatest increases over run-of-book pages (29%). Ads on the third cover, however, had only a 6% advantage over inside pages while fourth cover ads were 22% higher than those ads inside the magazine.

Contrary to public belief, ads opposite editorials do not perform any better than the norm. In addition, right-hand page ads versus left-hand page ads showed no difference in ad effectiveness scores. (Starch Tested Copy, Volume 1, No. 5)

Consider some of the above mentioned points when planning your advertising campaign and remember, most important is the ad itself. Even if you are satisfied with your ad’s effectiveness, there are still ways to increase the performance of your print message. It is wise to invest the time and money designing ads to give you the results you seek because the right combination can make all the difference in delivering you the sales.