Advantages and disadvantages of magazine advertising

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There are a host of different avenues for advertising a business. Magazines are conveniently placed on racks near checkout lines or in waiting areas or purchased through subscriptions by those interested in a specific topic. Like any marketing tool, magazines have both pros and cons for advertisers to consider.

Businesses must determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and if magazine ads can provide an effective means of advertising their particular products or services.

Creativity and quality

Unlike newspapers, magazine ads are not used to advertise sales or special promotions. The purpose of a magazine ad is to create and build an image for the product or service. Ad creativity and cleverness is essential to attract attention and make a lasting impression. Image resolution in magazines is of much greater quality than newspapers, which use fewer dots per inch. Magazine ads appear sharper and cleaner, while the paper quality adds more weight and a professional, glossy appearance. More dots per inch in magazine print means sleek, vividly colourful ads. Foods look mouth-watering and objects practically pop off the page.


Ad placement in a magazine is particularly successful at reaching a specific target audience. Magazines can be geared toward particular groups of people based on gender, ethnicity, age or interests. Magazine advertising is particularly influential for automotive, electronics, fashion and beauty, food and home improvement products. Luxury goods buyers use magazines the most when choosing purchases.


Because magazines production costs are high, businesses will spend more on magazine ads than for ads in newspapers. It can be more economical to buy advertising space in a local magazine with limited circulation, as ads for national magazines can easily run upwards of several thousands of pounds. However, the expense must be considered in terms of the exposure a magazine advert can bring and the long-lasting impression it can create.

Time frame

Magazines are published weekly, monthly, bimonthly or even quarterly. Magazine ads have a long lead time; they may need to be ready six months in advance of the issue. However, magazines remain on shop shelves for weeks or months. They also entertain people on planes or those waiting for cars to be repaired or to see the doctor or dentist. People read magazines that are weeks or months old because the articles are still relevant.


The strength of the economy and digital technology influence magazine advertising. Publishers Information Bureau reported more than £14 billion of magazine advertising revenue in 2008, which was 7.8 per cent less than the year before because of a weakening economy. When the public must alter their spending habits, advertising strategies must be carefully considered. As people buy less print publications, they turn to the Internet and television for news. A close eye must be kept on the strength of magazine readership in times of a fluctuating economy.