So I started an internship program at Nigerian Tribune (one of Nigeria’s oldest newspaper companies) working in its production department.

While working there I got to learn a bit about the high cost that newspaper companies charge corporations to advertise. I also got to know the newspaper company’s reach. Which was largely disappointing due to the very high cost of advertising in it.

I decided to compare the CPM (the cost of getting a thousand views on for an advert) for an average full page ad in a newspaper (am not obliged to give out the specific costs) vs an average ad campaign on Facebook

I’ve always thought advertising in newspapers didn’t make a lot of sense, but after seeing these facts it made me even more curious as to why everyday I still see so many adverts running in the papers. I decided to take a critical look at things.

Why Newspaper Advertising sucks?

It’s not measurable

The first thing that really bugs me about advertising in newspapers is that fact that it is very difficult to track it’s success rate, whether or not it did well or not. All you know it the reach, end of story. So it’s a bit difficult to validate whether it had a good effect on your business or not.

If you are targeting Millennials you’re screwed

According to Pew Research Center in the US, only about 6% of newspaper readers are 18-24, while 48% are 65% and above, which means that majority in the younger generation doesn’t rely on printed newspapers for information.

Which ultimately means Newspaper ads don’t serve all demographics of people, unlike online advertising where you can pick what specific age bracket you want seeing your ad and many more targeting options.

The channel is too rigid

Modern advertising channels give you the chance to pay for results and optimize on the go, but with newspaper ads, you pay once and then you go to the mountain top to pray the gods favour your ad because you can’t optimize for better results or make any more changes during the campaign.

Olowogbogboro help me o.

After looking at all these problems I pondered on why people still run these kind of ads.

Why Newspaper Advertising doesn’t really suck?

The Bad-guy Effect

I’ve always believed that marketing is all about selling a perception, and there is a certain effect that advertising in a newspaper gives which I call the “bad-guy” effect.
It basically means your brand gives off the perception of being very big and established.

Think about it almost everyone knows that advertising in a newspaper is not cheap because most the ads we see in them are usually from telecomm giants and banks, so when you take out a full-page ad in a newspaper it gives the viewer the belief that your brand is doing great. There is just a certain prestige that comes with appearing in a newspaper.

This could be very useful if a business is on the stock market or about to IPO.

High Trust Levels

Let’s face it are more like to trust something we see in an established newspaper than what we see on the internet.

This doesn’t mean we’ll be much more willing to buy, this also depends on a lot of other factors like what you are trying to sell. But we’ll be more trusting of the brand itself than if we saw them online because we’ve heard so much about 419’s and we think that anyone can just sell anything on Facebook but we think that newspapers only allow reputable brands to advertise in their paper.

Final Verdict

When to use newspaper ads

Newspaper ads are awesome if you are big brand looking to deepen or define your brand perception and identity.

When not to use newspaper ads

Newspaper ads are not very suited for direct response campaigns when people have to call, or take a certain action due to the friction involved i.e. transferring from one medium to another (dropping the newspaper, reaching for my phone typing the number), unlike online campaigns where everything is done without you having to transfer between mediums.

And with online channels you can reach the right people for less, unlike with newspaper ads.


All in all newspaper ads have their own advantages, it’s your choice about what works for you. If you have questions or contributions you can always drop a comment below so we can talk.