Companies have three primary categories of newspaper ads to use when advertising. These types include display or box ads, inserts and classifieds. Some businesses use all three, while others focus newspaper messages on one format.

Display Ads

Display ads typically run from one-eighth of a page up to one full page. They often are known as box ads, because they occupy a square or rectangular space, similar to a box, within a particular newspaper page. The larger the space, the greater the expense. However, half-page or full-page display ads attract much more attention than smaller box ads. The use of full color and appealing imagery contribute to the impact of a display ad.

Along with size and color, circulation of the newspaper affects costs. Single ads cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $1,000 or more. Buying placements for an extended period typically leads to a lower per-ad rate.

Insert Ads

An insert ad is a full-page or postcard insert included with the distribution of a newspaper issue. The advertiser's rate is based largely on circulation, though you do pay for the production costs on the flyer as well. Insert pricing ranges anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars in large markets.

A primary advantage of an insert ad is that it stands alone. Readers pull the insert out of the paper to look at it. Retailers often use insert flyers to deliver coupon sheets and promotional announcements aimed at drawing a crowd. Also, newspapers typically allow you to distribute inserts to select markets, enabling greater cost control. As a result, inserts are a lower-cost alternative to direct mail for many small businesses.

Classified Ads

A budget-strapped small-business operator may turn to classified ads to deliver messages. The classifieds section of a newspaper is divided up into categories, and targets consumers and small businesses. You can run a classified ad that is text-based or image-based. Text-based ads are less expensive, often costing just a few dollars a day in small towns. While the impact of classifieds normally is lower than that of display or insert ads, you can run a classified ad every day for a modest monthly budget.

House Ads

Another type of ad you typically see in newspapers are house ads. These are ads placed by the publisher to promote the value of purchasing ad space. While most publishers include some house ads in each edition, a large inventory of them may suggest the paper is struggling to sell space.