Cost to Advertise in National Magazines

Today, there are more advertising options than ever before. Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, and social media platforms are all options to consider for businesses trying to reach new customers.

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With all of these options, it can be very difficult to determine which advertising channel is the best fit for your business. Even if a certain channel is working, you always have to wonder “would a different type of advertising work even better?”

Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about your marketing options, or keep reading for a breakdown of the cost of advertising in a national magazine, as well as how that cost compares to online advertising channels.

Video: Cost of Magazine Ads vs. Other Media

Becca Stickler compares the cost of magazine advertising against other common methods.

Setup process & setup cost

The first cost to consider with any form of advertising is the associated setup cost.

National magazine advertising

The main cost you’re looking at for the setup of a magazine ad is the design cost. If you’re taking out a big ad in a national magazine, you want to make sure everything looks perfect. And unless you just happen to be a graphic design agency, that means you’ll probably have to spring for some outside design help.

The cost here can vary wildly, depending mainly on the size and complexity of the design. In general, designing a magazine ad can run you anywhere from $500 all the way up to $397,800. This can be minimized by shopping around to find the best design agency fit.

Online advertising

Similar to magazine advertising, the setup for online advertising is largely about the design of the ad. If you don’t already have a website, you’re going to need one of those as well – you have to send users somewhere after they click on your ad, after all.

As for ad design, most advertising services only require an ad image, a headline, and some brief body copy. This isn’t always the case, but is what you can usually expect from major advertising networks like Google and Facebook.

If you don’t have a website, or your website isn’t properly configured for an advertising campaign, you’re looking at spending $4,000 - $10,000 to get everything set up correctly.

If you already have a website, the ad design itself is exceedingly cheap, and can even be free if you decide to do it yourself.

Cost of media

Next, you’ll have to consider the cost of advertising in each location.

National magazine advertising

Within magazine advertising, “cost of media” refers to how much you’re paying for ad space in the magazine.

This cost can vary greatly, and depends on how big your ad is, the circulation volume of your chosen magazine publication, the time of year you’re buying the ad real estate, and so on.

On average, for large, international magazines, you can expect to pay around $250,000 per large ad.

Online advertising

Most forms of online advertising today operate on a pay-per-click, or PPC, model, meaning that you don’t actually pay to publish your ads. Instead, you pay every time a user actually clicks on an ad.

So in this case, the “cost of media” is really how much you’re paying for a qualified user’s attention. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from 5 cents per click to $3 per click.

This, again, depends primarily on the industry you’re working in, the display network you’re advertising on, and how competitive the keywords you’re targeting are.

Cost to continue

Once you have your campaign up and running, you’ll have to consider the costs associated with keeping it going.

National magazine advertising

To continue an advertising campaign with a national magazine publication, you have to consider both the ongoing design costs and the ongoing media cost.

Unless you’re running the same ad multiple times, each new cycle of magazine advertising means you’ll be spending another $500 - $397,000 per ad design, on top of the $250,000 cost to run the ad in the first place.

Online advertising

Because online advertising campaigns are inherently “ongoing,” you’ll just keep paying that same cost per user click until you decide to stop the campaign altogether.

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If you want to put some new ads in the rotation at any given point, you may incur additional design costs as well if you’re outsourcing that portion of the campaign.

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At WebFX, we have years of experience creating results-driven digital marketing strategies for our clients, and we can do the same for you.

Demographic served

In addition to the costs associated with any form of advertising, it’s also important to consider the audience you reach.

National magazine advertising

It’s hard to pin down exactly who’s seeing your ad with magazine advertising.

You can narrow the focus a little bit by ensuring your ad’s in a publication that serves your general target demographic, but in reality, you never know for sure who’s going to pick up the magazine and read (or ignore) your ad.

Online advertising

With most online advertising platforms, you have almost complete control over who sees your ads.

Most networks offer very granular targeting options, and you can serve ads to people based on the specific words and phrases they search for on search engines like Google. On some platforms, you can also target based on gender, location, age, interests, past web behavior, and more.

Definitive ROI tracking?

Finally, you’ll want to know how much of a return you’re getting on each of your advertising investments.

National magazine advertising

Stemming from the lack of demographic targeting, you won’t ever really be able to answer the question “was this campaign worth it?” with magazine advertising.

At best, you can ask your customers “where did you first hear about us?” and hope that you get a high response rate with accurate answers.

That’s not to say magazine ad campaigns aren’t effective, though. For all you know, they could be directly responsible for a 200% increase in qualified leads. You just won’t know for sure.

Online advertising

graphs on paper showing analytics

Much like the targeting options available with online advertising, you’re always going to know almost exactly what your ROI is with an online campaign.

All data throughout the ad campaign is thoroughly tracked and recorded, and you’ll be able to tweak, optimize, and test on the fly while the campaign is still live.

If it’s losing money, you can turn it off right away. If you’re making money, you can scale it up and replicate your success.

In conclusion…

Advertising in national magazines can definitely be effective for some businesses, and has worked very well for certain companies in the past.

However, it suffers from shortcomings in the form of imprecise results tracking, non-existent data sets, and higher costs.

On the other hand, online advertising does not really fall short on any of those same fronts.

At WebFX, our expert team of Internet marketers has years of experience structuring and managing lucrative online advertising campaigns. We know how to test and optimize so that you end up with the best possible ROI, and we’ve helped businesses across the country use smart online advertising to improve their bottom lines.

Contact us today for more information, or for a free quote!