Running an ad for your small business in a local or national magazine can help you build your brand's reputation and find potential customers who are interested in your industry. However, you might have some concerns over the cost of advertising in a magazine since it tends to run higher than other mediums like newspapers and online advertising.

Ultimately, your business would incur setup costs as well as the advertisement costs for the magazine. The price you'll pay will depend on factors like the ad's size and color, the magazine's popularity and the ad's placement in the magazine.


WebFX gives an average national magazine advertising cost of $250,000 to run a single full-page ad plus between $500 and $397,800 in setup costs to design the ad. However, you can save money and increase the frequency your ad appears if you run your ad in local magazines.

What Influences Magazine Advertising Pricing?

When you start looking into the cost of advertising in a magazine for your small business, you'll notice that numerous factors such as these will impact rates:

  • Size of ad: Magazines often charge based on the percentage of the page your ad takes up, which can be a flat rate or be based on column inches.

  • Location of ad: You can expect to pay the most for a cover ad. A two-page spread's cost would follow, while you'd pay around half that price for a full-page ad. Cheaper common ad options range from one-third of a page to two-thirdsof a page.

    Popularity of the magazine: You'll find the highest average advertising rates for national and international publications due to the high number of readers and reputation of the publishers. Local magazine advertising rates tend to be more affordable since they're often based on the number of subscribers, which will usually be significantly less than a major publication.

    Ad color: Magazines consider whether you want your advertisement in black and white or in full color along with the size and location of the ad. Looking at Inc.'s print advertising rates, you could pay a 50% premium or higher for the same ad in color than you would for a black-and-white ad.

    Price of magazine: Like the magazine's popularity, you may pay more to advertise in a publication with a higher average magazine price than for a cheaper one.

    Frequency of ad appearance: The number of issues in which you have the ad appear will also impact your magazine advertising pricing. Usually, you'll pay a little less each time you run the ad, and you'll pay the highest rate for a single run.

Average Magazine Ad Setup Cost

To determine how much you'll pay for magazine advertising, you first need to consider the initial setup cost. After all, you need to do a considerable amount of work to have a successful ad created before you even approach a publisher.

You might pay as little as $500 to as much as $397,800 to have your ad professionally designed. The fee will depend on whether you have staff who can create the ad in house or if you need to seek an outside graphic design or marketing agency. You'll likely find that your setup cost is highest when you plan to place a cover ad, full-page ad or a two-page spread in a top national magazine. You may be able to get away with a simpler design for a small ad in a local magazine.

When considering your magazine ad setup cost, keep in mind that the cost will recur unless you plan to reuse the same ad multiple times or work out an affordable agreement with the designer.

Average Magazine Price for Advertising

Once you have your ad ready for publication, the average cost is estimated at $250,000 to have a full-page ad displayed one time in a national magazine. However, this can vary widely since each publication will have a magazine ad rate sheet that lists rates and options.

To get an idea of how your cost varies by publisher, ad color and placement, take a look at some examples of current national and local magazine advertising rates:

  • Bloomberg Businessweek: This publication has both North American and global editions with one-page ads along with various cover options. A one-page color ad in the global version would run you $114,640, while you'd pay $105,160 for the same ad in the North American edition. A second-cover spread would run you $286,650 in the global edition and $262,960 in the North American edition.

  • Inc.: This magazine runs $67,300 for a black-and-white, one-page ad to $134,600 for a black-and-white spread, but these costs could go down to as little as $63,900 for a page and $127,800 for a spread if you have the ad run six times. The cost of a color ad jumps to $105,00 for a one-page ad and $210,000 for a spread. Running the ad six times would bring the costs down to $99,800 for a page and $199,600 for a spread. Cover options range anywhere from $115,500 to $252,000.

  • TIME: A black-and-white ad in the U.S. edition of TIME ranges from $77,600 for one-third of a page to $172,400 for a full page. A color ad costs $119,300 for one-third of a page and $265,100 for a full page. You'll pay anywhere from $265,100 to $357,900 to get on one of the covers of the magazine.

  • Look Local: This regional publisher in Florida charges fees based on the number of addresses to which the magazine is sent. This means your ad could cost anywhere from 0.75 cents to 8 cents for each recipient. The website estimates that you could pay just $41.67 for 10,000 recipients.

Considering Cheaper Advertising Options

If the cost of advertising in a magazine seems beyond your small business's budget, you have several cheaper alternatives you can consider to spread awareness of your products and services. Some of your options include:

  • Paper flyers: If you prefer an affordable print advertising alternative, you can create flyers about your business and either hand them out locally or mail them to potential customers in the area. You could also look into having local newspapers include the flyers in their weekly edition.

  • Online media: Video and audio streaming websites have made it easy for any company to post online video advertisements and podcasts that promote the company and attract customers' attention with special promotions. You can also host live streams on your business's YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages and interact with your customers.

  • Social media and email: Rather than putting your ad in a magazine, you can simply have a graphic created that you post on your social media pages. When doing so, you can encourage people to share the post on their own social media pages and possibly hold a contest to encourage shares. You could also send an ad via an email newsletter to people who have visited your website and signed up.

  • Paid online advertising: From paying to have your company come up prominently in search engines to showing targeted ads on other websites, you have plenty of ways to increase your company's exposure. You can also pay to have your company promoted on blogs and business directories.

  • Local events: Attending community events like festivals and sports games can provide a way to hand out information about your company. You can also seek local sponsorships to see even more results.