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Determining Ad Size
Is smaller better?
Determining Ad Size

Get more readers seeing your ad
Get more readers reading your ad
Get more readers responding

Your advertising representative is most likely on commission, meaning the larger your ad is, the more money the ad rep will make. That doesn't necessarily mean that your ad rep will automatically try to sell you a larger ad, however.

In fact, we've found that most advertising salespeople do just the opposite, often recommending a less than optimal ad size. There are a combination of reasons why they do that.

Some of the more shortsighted salespeople will simply accept whatever money you're willing to give them, even if the ad size is too small to be effective.

Another, more common reason is simply their fear that their own publication might not work for their advertisers. As you can imagine, a typical advertising representative spends a good amount of time listening to advertisers complain about poor response. Although often an ineffective ad is at fault and not the publication, still this frequent negative feedback can begin to shake the confidence of even the best advertising representatives.

This, combined with a typical advertiser's protests whenever a salesperson does attempt to sell them a larger ad, explains why many ad reps, especially those not well versed in effective advertising techniques, eventually switch over to a mode of selling advertising where they're just trying to accommodate the advertiser's wishes and at the same time minimize an advertiser's expectations and losses.

They find that by recommending and selling smaller ads, there's less confrontation and advertisers simply aren't as disappointed when their ads don't work.

Another reason advertising salespeople recommend smaller sizes is that their publisher believes that smaller ads are best for their newspaper and the customer.

That's because a publication with many small, frequent advertisers is considered more stable than one that has only a handful of larger advertisers. Losing a few accounts could devastate the publication with only a few large advertisers.

There is also a growing belief that running frequent small ads--around 2 columns by 2 inches--many times each week will make readers remember your name and they'll call at the right time. In fact, you might be offered special "mighty midget" or "business builder" discount rate if you take this approach with your advertising.

While we're a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of this strategy, nonetheless, don't be surprised if your advertising representative encourages you to run smaller ads, even if we won't.

Our priority is getting you the strongest return on your investment possible, and we'll share our thoughts. But first, let's look at some of the common but inappropriate ways you might be encouraged to determine ad size.

Next: How much you got?


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