You could spend $125,000 for inside-front-cover placement in Cosmopolitan magazine--with its circulation of three million--or less than $100 to run a fraction of a page in a local magazine with a thousand readers. Circulation figures offer a better comparison point.
Audited circulation is a magazine's sworn distribution figure. It's verified by a third-party auditor such as the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) or the Business Publication Audit (BPA).
CPM, which stands for “cost per thousand,” is a measurement of magazine ad rates per thousand readers. If a magazine has a circulation of 100,000 and it charges $1,000 for a full-page ad, the CPM is $10.
As with volume discounts in any business, you can usually earn a discount by guaranteeing multiple placement of your ad within a specified period, usually a year. The more ad insertions you commit to, the less you'll pay per insertion.
Audience quality is as important as quantity. You'll engage more readers and minimize ad waste by running in a publication that sharply reflects your targeted audience.
Other cost considerations include position within the magazine, time of year, use of color vs. black and white ink for your ad, and the competitive situation. When the economy is down, you have more room to negotiate rates.