It's tempting. That nice local magazine. They're in every city. You see them in supermarket stands, dental offices, and shops.

You're serious about trying to promote your company, right? So you want results, not hype, not just pretty pictures or articles about how to care for your dog, what new tree then planted in the park, etc.

And you don't want to make bad marketing decisions, right? 

Why not just buy a billboard off some busy highway, or have a kid run through the neighborhoods sticking hang tags on doors, or use Direct Mail????

Because you want results and bang for the buck. 

Traditional Magazine Ads

All magazine ads are sold by size and position on page (full-page, back cover, etc).

And they are sold by citing circulation numbers and projected number of "impressions." 

Here are the numbers from one local magazine:

  • Circulation: 20,000.
  • Projected impressions: 60,000.
  • Full page, inner position ad: $2,000 (this is just insertion cost).

Do the math. If you don't, your sales guy will: $2,000 ÷ 60,000 = $.04 per impression. That's 4 cents per impression. Not bad, right?


Of those 20,000 printed and placed into supermarket displays, how many do you think are going to get tossed into the recycling bin at the end of each month? So it's not 20k. How many times do you think someone is actually going to see your ad? If you say, "once per month," that's not a bad answer but, it's not the correct answer. 

Just like Direct Mail, impression rates are far lower than what's touted by these publishers.

Do you Like to Throw $$ into BS? 

And here's the big BS... this is from a friend named Stephan who owns a publishing company. Get this, Steve sells advertising. He said to me, "I'd never personally buy display ads. I just sell them; I'd never promote my company in a magazine." 


So, the non-BS is, "what are the real numbers?" Ever seen a report on what the real circulation really is? Like how many magazine copies are going to get tossed each month? I've never seen a report either. Otherwise I'd scan it and stick it in this blog. Because I'm a newspaper adv print guy from the 80's. I've seen this stuff too many times. 

Here's some additional insights from Phill, an agency owner friend in Toronto:


So it's not 4 cents per impression. Might be more like 20 cents per, or worse. Direct mail averages 30 cents per piece with a 2.5% open rate. So, there are your numbers.

If the magazines get tossed or just sit on the coffee table, then maybe it's $.50 per impression. If you've been successful, kudos, because you could be a lot more successful. 


In short, here's where this is at:

  • Real CPM, measured, reported, in your portal: 2 cents to 3 cents per impression.
  • But there's more: Targeting. You can hyper target, displaying the right ad at the right time to the right prospect. Try that with a magazine. 
  • You can target those more likely to buy. Trying to market to a certain demographic? 
  • 60% of the planet is on Facebook™. Why not advertise where your customers are at?

Don't Miss Retargeting

This is massive, and most DIYers miss this. Retargeting falls under the realm of "custom audiences." It's crazy. Picture presenting ads to everyone who visits any web page or landing page your company has. This is cheap traffic on steroids as retargeting costs are dirt cheap on Facebook™.

Don't Miss SMM

Social Media Management is the organic side of social media. Very few companies do this right. But a few do it really right. Here's an example from the indomitable Carmax:


Notice CarMax' response. This is flawless. You need someone really savvy on your team who will head up SMM at your company. YOU COULD BE LOSING 10% of your opportunities by neglecting SMM. These are free opportunities, basically. 


I spent years in the newspaper display ads biz. And I wrote radio copy and recorded the spots myself. If you want an ego trip, hear yourself on the radio :)

Is print dead? No, it's just about 10x more costly than digital. 

Straight Talk:

  • You can't DIY FB yourself, sorry. So you'll have to hire an agency or freelancer. I'm sure you're the kind of person who replaces your own roof and fixes your own car.
  • If you haven't had success in generating new business, it's not Facebook's fault, it's your fault. You've probably got a whole lot of other stuff messed up, like your middle of the funnel: website, social media, SEO, branding, sales processes, reputation, HR issues, etc. Many of these things are easy to fix. But they need to be fixed and running ads on FB, the magazine, or the kid running around neighborhoods won't unclog the bottlenecks in your business. 
  • Whatever you do, you need to budget for it. If you've run $2k to $5k print (Direct Mail, magazine, handbills, flee markets, trade shows, etc) on a one-off basis, you've failed. If you run a FB campaign for a month or two, you've failed. We've done thousands of companies. We know this stuff. Thus, you need a budget and stick with it. If you stick with it, find a good agency, and listen to them, you'll win the game. You can put your competition out of business with this. But not in 90 days. 

You think I'm severe?



You should be able to talk numbers. I mean CPL, CPA. If you're still cautious, find an performance agency who will either run cheap tests, project lead volume or happily tell you where you've screwed up (in case you don't know). 

No print publisher is going to project anything related to growing your business. It's simply an absurd concept in that industry. In the print industry, you throw money into it and forget about it. That's all anyone did in the 80's. It's the same today.

What are you going to do about this? 



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