I’ve cut my full page print ads to half pages…what have I done?
I’ve said it before: when trimming your marketing budget, measure twice, then cut once.
But not all stages of a campaign deliver easily measured outcomes.
For example, what about print advertising?
Reducing ad size will certainly save money, but how will it impact campaign performance?
‘It’s impossible to know’ is not an answer the boss wants to hear; we need a number.
In terms of cost savings, it’s straightforward. When you reduce a full page to half, you save between 40% – 45%.
Have you noticed it’s never half?
The visual and emotional engagement with the brand is another matter though.
This is the tricky bit, and a clear invitation for some experienced Account Director BS.
Alternatively, in the absence of something definitive, let me draw your attention to a research study undertaken within the direct marketing industry concerning off-the-page advertising response rates.
The aim of print advertising in our campaigns is to provoke a behavioural response, whether that’s increased awareness, a request for more information, or something else!
As a result, it makes sense to consider the relationship between reduced ad size and off-the page response rates as a simple but relevant measure of campaign performance.
This research* was conducted by a Mr Strong (1914) some 109 years ago! A number of contemporary agencies have revisited this research, arriving at roughly the same conclusions – it stands the test of time!
Using the same copy, in the same place, and with the same title; only the ad size varies.
Indexing a page at 100, the following response results were obtained:
When times are tough, it’s critical to stay active, or at least more active than your competitors!
It’s generally accepted that how a brand presents itself is as important as what it says.
Print advertising is a medium that can deliver higher levels of brand impact and awareness, more than other media, including digital.
In all sectors, brands that use print advertising as part of an integrated campaign enjoy much greater buyer confidence than those that don’t.
The high raw cost yet continual use is a statement of intent to the market: ‘trust in us, we’re playing the long-game!’
If business is slow, you may still need to dim the lights a bit to save money.
Despite its ability to reduce campaign costs, cutting ad sizes can negatively affect a brand’s image, which can lead to lower campaign effectiveness.
The same also applies to keeping the same ad size but running it fewer times.
If you think this information is better than relying on your BS, then please use it!
*Drayton Bird’s book, Common Sense Direct Marketing, first introduced me to this research – updated to now include digital, it’s an essential read for today’s young marketers, especially those who think effectiveness is all about clicks!
You may also be interested in...