Flip through most consumer magazines and you'll find several different types of advertising on its pages. You'll also notice that not all of these ads are the same. Most modern magazines contain everything from classified to display ads to advertorials. Each ad type is important, as magazines typically make the majority of their profits from advertising, not from subscriptions.
When you think of magazine advertising, you probably think first of display advertising. These are the glossy, four-color ads that dot most consumer magazines. Display advertisements can shill everything from new cars and smart phones to upcoming movies, newly published books and the pilots for next fall's TV shows.
Usually located in the back pages of magazines, classified are small, usually black-and-white, ads that most often contain text but little or no other artwork. Classifieds often list homes for sale, financial services, help-wanted jobs and other services. In fact, classifieds are often an eclectic mix that might even include personal ads and dating service promotions. These ads may look small, but magazines often rely on them--thanks to the volume of classifieds they receive--as a solid revenue stream.
Advertorials are often difficult to spot. That's because they usually look similar to a story or feature in the magazine. There's a difference, though; advertorials are written by the marketing department of a company to promote a specific product or service. The advertorial may include what looks like a standard headline--an advertorial promoting a newly released collector's coin might have a headline such as "Rare Coin Released to the Public"--and even feature quotes from people thrilled with a certain product or service.
To determine if what you're reading is an advertorial, look at the top of the page. Written there somewhere, perhaps in small type, should be a phrase similar to "Paid Advertisement."