How much to charge for yearbook ads?
March 1, 2018 3:41 PM   Subscribe

My students and I are trying to fund this year’s yearbook by selling ad space to local business in the back of the yearbook. How much should we charge? Details below.

Each yearbook will cost about $7-10, and we’ll be printing about 100 (about our school population) It is not necessary to cover the entire cost of printing all the yearbooks, but it’d be great to make a sizable dent in the total.

Population isn’t huge (about 30,000 in the metro area) and has a struggling economy. Folks and businesses aren’t rich.

We plan to offer ad space in 4 sizes: business card size, 1/4 page, 1/2 page and full page.

I assume lots of businesses will be doing this more for the kids and less for the actual ad potency?

How much do we charge for each size? $25-$100ish? $10-$50ish?
posted by Grandysaur to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, none of our students families are like community business owners.

I think an optimistic ballpark would be to sell 15 ads, unless I get out and do all the hustling myself.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:43 PM on March 1, 2018

Best answer: I just looked up the rates to advertise in my kid's high school yearbook (which is a much larger school in a much larger community, but the pricing formula may give you some ideas).

Pages are divided into 12 blocks, which allows for horizontal or vertical. One block is $125 and a full page (12 blocks) is $625. There is preferential pricing to buy at 1/4, 1/2 or full page rather than "odd" sizes. They offered two deadlines, with a 25-33% discount if space was reserved by the first.

In addition, they offer tribute pages for seniors, which are typically bought by parents or grandparents. Same 12-block pricing scheme.

Our advertisers seem to be mostly real estate agents, banks (particularly credit unions/local banks), CPAs, doctors/dentists and other professional service providers. Some local retail.

And even if your students' families aren't business owners themselves, I would encourage the students to brainstorm the prospect list and make the asks, in person if at all possible. Hard to say no to an earnest teenager!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:58 PM on March 1, 2018

Best answer: Congrats on the idea. I was my high school yearbook editor, and we charged more in the 80s than you are wanting to charge now.

That said, you cannot expect to charge more than what a local newspaper may charge; so I'd make inquiries to see how much a comparable ad is in some local places. It will give you a benchmark to work with.

If there are local fast food restaurants where kids frequent, they will be likely advertisers. Also sporting good stores, dance schools, arenas, variety stories where kids go to binge on junk food, and any place where students spend leisure time. In my high school, it was business students who sold ads as part of their classes. You may wish to sell classified ads to grad students as part of it as well.

For fundraising, you may want to sell any unused pictures and send to students via email.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:00 PM on March 1, 2018

Keep charges reasonable for business card ads and a small business may buy more than one ad if the ads can be kept on different pages. Larger businesses may have ready to supply artwork and be sure to set a firm policy for formats and receipt by dates. Highly visible pages or ads with complex artwork may be able to charge more but this may not be appropriate for your community.

Consider ads honoring students other than seniors. Our K-8 yearbook receives lots of ads from parents and grandparents supporting kids and thanking teachers. These are people who would not have businesses or seniors to buy for. And if you do this, for the sake fo the art team, consider offering some standard artwork that's easy to personalize. We had some themed to the school mascot, the school motto and a general "you're great" one as well.
posted by beaning at 5:00 PM on March 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Mobile phone carriers, too.
posted by theora55 at 5:04 PM on March 1, 2018

Would you be interested in in-kind donations? Maybe businesses that can help out with parties/functions, food donations, etc.?
posted by amtho at 5:44 PM on March 1, 2018

How about a "print your tweet" page, where it's $10/tweet. (140 char limit)
posted by Sophont at 7:01 PM on March 1, 2018

Response by poster: To clarify, I’m just asking specifically for advice about how much to charge businesses to advertise, not for general fundraising suggestions, thanks!
posted by Grandysaur at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2018

There isn’t enough info here to really answe the question.

How much will it cost to print the whole yearbook? If you haven’t priced it out start there. Printing options such as pages in color or black/white, number of pages, and quality of print needed affects the price. Most printers will want to do this in page sets in multiples of four, so you might have a choice of a 12, 16, 20, 24 page book, and so on, and with different bindings, and covering choices, all of which cost different amounts and depending on how many you will buy. In commercial printing the book is printed as a 2 sided sheet of 4 pages, then cut and stacked. This means that pages 1 and 2 and 15 /16 are the same quality and color, pages 3/4 and 13/14 match, pages 5/6 and 11/12: etc. each set is called a leaf. So you can do combinations of pages where some pages are black and white and some are color and can vary the quality - maybe the first leaf is not-as-good printing (not good enough for portraits but fine for text and big pictures like of the school dance), but the second leaf has the senior portraits and is in color, and leaf 3 is black and white but good quality for freshman and sophomore pics. If you have no budget or low budget then maybe some of these choices are made for you already, or you can just rule by fiat and say you are doing a 16 page black and white low res book, and it is easier.

It is kind of a balancing act here to match it all: how much content do we have? What is our budget for prepaying for printing? How many pages in color do we need? What content must be included? What quality of printing do we give to the senior class pics versus freshman pics versus pics of the lunchroom? If we give the football team a page in color do we have to give each sport a page in color too? What about the art class or musical or home ec class’ award winning pie? In my school, this was a major part of the yearbook class work - weighing these and doing the math to figure out the right combo.

After you rough out the pages for the required content, then you have an idea of how many pages you have left over, if they are color or b/w and high or low quality (because you know what leaf they are on) and how much you need to bring in thru ads, and can size out and price out your ad space accordingly (and maybe even do things like shift around content so you have one color ad page and can charge $10 extra per ad on that page and can offset your costs more). This is also when you can use people’s ideas above for what else to sell in those spaces.
posted by holyrood at 7:40 PM on March 1, 2018

Response by poster: Our yearbook is a very informal, small scale affair (it’s a tiny alternative high school) and the quote for printing them is $7-10 each, so we’re looking at spending $1000 at most total on the whole shebang. Any help we can get from the community, in this case, through ad sales, would be welcomed, but if we didn’t sell a single ad we’d be okay.

We do also have other funding methods, including selling spots to parents etc as suggested above.

I just honestly have no idea what the going rate for any sort of printed advertisement is. Like if you told me that most small town papers sell a full page ad for $50 or $5000, I wouldn’t know which figure was more correct.

Sorry to threadsit, I’m done now! Apologies for not being more clear, and thanks for the thoughts so far!
posted by Grandysaur at 8:07 PM on March 1, 2018

Sorry to misunderstand your question w/r/t to costs.

Ad rates are calculated based on the recurrence and size/wealth of the audience. You have the initial publication of a yearly for approximately 100 teenagers and 20 adults, not a small town paper (long-standing daily/weekly publication with hundreds of adult subscribers with incomes). Your ad opportunity isn’t going to be evaluated as an alternative or addition to existing ads for a business, it’s an example of “we love/support our community,” so you don’t need to compete on price. Set it at a price where your students can feel comfortable asking for it, and where you might get a few sales by a business owner making a snap decision with the petty cash. Only you know whether this would be $20 or $100 in your area, based on relative affluence of students and businesses.
posted by holyrood at 8:55 PM on March 1, 2018

i have sent you a memail, but i would like to buy an ad.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:17 PM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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