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Determining Ad Size
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Determining Ad Size

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

Here are the things we look at when helping an advertiser determine the ad size he should be running—a size that's big enough to get a strong response, but not so big that the return required to make a profit is unattainable.

How big do you need to run?
First, think about how big you need to run based on a couple of factors.

Think about the popularity of your products or services, specifically, how often does an individual purchase it.

Take a look at the scale of popularity below. On the left side of the scale would be the things that an individual buys frequently, such as food.

As you move to the right, you still encounter things that an individual purchases fairly frequently, but less so, including clothing, and health and beauty aides.

Move further to the right and you'll see things that an individual purchases with much less frequency, including furniture. At the far right of the scale you'll find things that an individual buys very infrequently, such as a car or a house.

The question then is: Where does your business fall on this scale of popularity? Many businesses, we find, sell products or services that an individual buys fairly infrequently. If that's the case, then your business is in something called a thin market--relatively few people are out there at any given point in time about to purchase your products or services.

Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does have a huge bearing on your ad size. If you're in a thin market and your ad is relatively small, then a good amount of those few target customers might miss your ad.

This, of course, assumes you agree with the notion that very large ads--full pages and near full pages--are seen by all your target customers and as the ad size decreases, the amount of your target customers that see the ad is reduced. The very small ads, such as 2 column by 2 inch ads, may be seen by as little as 25% of your target readers.

If you're in a thin market and running a very small ad, this could be a big problem, since you've reduced the few people about to buy your product or service down to very, very few. And you're still not out of the woods.

Because of those very, very few people about to buy your product or service who happen to see your smaller ad, will all of them decide to read it? Hopefully they will, but odds are some of them might not. And of the fewer people who read on, will they all call or come in? Again, hopefully, but probably not. And of the even fewer people who call or come in, are they all going to buy? Well, we hope so but we should plan for the worst-case scenario and assume they won't.

Our fear is that if you're in a thin market, you've got a limited amount of people this week about to buy your product. If some of those people miss your ad because it's too small, then once the remaining people go through the elimination process of seeing it, reading on, coming in, and buying, the there might be nobody left at the end of the process, and your ad will fail.

So we believe that the thinner your market, the larger you need to run. How large? It depends on how big it needs to be to be seen by as many target customers as possible, but in general, no smaller than a quarter-page and often as large as a half-page or more.

Of course, that's not to say you can run a large size. That's a whole different story, and we'll cover that on the next page.

Next: How large can you run?


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