Advertisers traditionally have made their media choices based on reach and cost. Until the Internet gained popularity, newspaper advertising was the mainstay of ad campaigns -- particularly among retailers who, according to Media Today, represented its the largest revenue source. Promotional dollars follow audience and readership, resulting in advertisers increasing their online marketing emphasis. Advertisers must weigh the advantages and disadvantages to using print and the Internet to reach their target audiences effectively.
Advantages to Newspaper Advertising
Newspapers continue to offer advertisers the ability to target market segments through zip codes, and often provide special sections or niche publications, such as those focusing on weddings, holidays and back-to-school events. In addition to segmenting their circulation, newspapers give advertisers the option of promoting with inserts, which shoppers use for purchase planning. This ability to reach prospective customers, combined with the purchasing power newspaper readers enjoy, keeps newspapers viable as an advertising medium. According to national advertising placement service MANSI Media, newspapers reach more than 70 percent of households whose income ranges from $50,000 to $99,000, and more than three-fourths of those with income of $100,000 and more.
Disadvantages of Newspaper Advertising
Despite reaching a more affluent audience, newspapers have failed to attract younger readers in the 18-14 demographic many advertisers covet. Time spent reading newspapers dropped more than 25 percent between 2010 and 2014, as reported by ZenithOptimedia's Media Consumption Forecasts, which may concern advertisers leery of an equal drop in exposure to their promotion. In addition, placing an ad in a newspaper costs more than placing the same ad on an Internet website. According to Poynter, print newspapers charged an average of $60 per 1,000 impressions, or CPM, in 2011 compared to online average CPM rate of $2.52.
Advantages of Internet Advertising
Internet advertising includes web pages and social media sites that offer advertisers 24/7 access to potential customers, the flexibility to use video and interactive formats to draw interest, and the ability to link ad copy to related information on the advertiser's website. This around-the-clock nature of Internet advertising also means advertisers can make changes without worrying about meeting a deadline.
Technology gives Internet advertisers more ways than newspaper advertisers to measure ad performance. Tracking tools can show online sales attributable to an ad, how many people saw it and statistics on the number of visitors who landed on the advertiser's website after clicking on it. Technology also enhances target marketing that differs from newspaper demographics. GoogleAdWords for example, offers advertisers the ability to reach potential customers by the types of websites they visit. An Internet site can verify an advertisement was actually seen, not simply provide circulation.
Disadvantages of Internet Advertising
Internet advertising only reaches prospective customers that have a computer and a Web connection, which may exclude an advertiser's target audience, according to the Pew Research Center. Other prospects may limit which links they click on or sites they visit because of privacy concerns. The pricing structure can be a drawback to Internet advertising, according to Cornell University. Whereas newspapers have rate cards, websites use visitor-based pricing such as click-through rate and impressions. Outside influences. including the popularity of a website or an advertisement, and search engine evaluations of an ad's effectiveness influence visitor exposure to Internet advertising.