How can I price out ads for a short run, locally and themed focus "map"/newspaper?
May 10, 2008 5:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I price out ads for a short run, locally and themed focus "map"/newspaper?

To help promote (and monetize) an upcoming web venture, I'm making a local map (similar to a map of "star homes") with a focused theme that will be given away for free around Los Angeles. On first glance, it looks like a newspaper - the front page and back pages will be a mix of content and ads. The full "inside" is a map with points of interest.

I'm trying to get a basic idea of how to price ads for something like this.

Roughly, I'm thinking of a run of about 10,000 copies.

There will be a combination of ad opportunities:

-Small, classified ad and business card sized spots.
-Full, back page opportunities (or portions).
-Title/sponsorship available.
-Sponsored "listings" on the map itself.

I'm hoping to find some sort of calculator or basic price sheet that may help gauge potential prices between ad sizes, circulation numbers, etc.
posted by Unsomnambulist to Media & Arts (2 answers total)
This isn't very specific to your exact situation, but I'll give you what I have...

If you are mostly trying to recoup printing and distribution costs, you might want to start by estimating those costs, and dividing by potential available ad space. Of course you can always make the publication bigger if you sell more ads.

Beyond that, do you have a local arts, events, or trivia paper, the kind distributed for free at restaurants? You could call them and inquire about their rates and circulation. This would give you an idea of the range you might be looking at, and it will also let you offer competitive rate. Keep in mind that the local free papers may already have loyal readership (I always pick up the "TidBits" trivia paper in my town).

Keep in mind that your advertisers will need some assurance about distribution, not just run quantity. The TidBits paper I mentioned claims that each copy of their paper is read by 6 people (or something like that). The same is probably true of the publications where you live.

Although I didn't do the kind of thing you are discussing, I have done numerous program books handed out to theater patrons for fund raising shows I produced, many years ago. The runs were pretty small: a couple thousand at most. It was quite a few years ago. I made the program as many pages as needed to fit the ads, and had no problem selling plenty of ads, ranging from $25 for a business card to $200 for a full page (in "olden days" dollars, about 20 years ago.) Although it was small distribution, the advertisers also knew it was a fund raiser, so they were looking at it as a partial donation, which it was.

I hope you can get some more specific information, but hopefully this helps a little.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:51 PM on May 10, 2008

The price list you are reffering to is commonly called a "Rate Card". I did a quick search on "how to price a rate card" and got this worksheet you can buy for $30. I know nothing else about this worksheet, never used it or even heard of it before.

I also agree with Fuzzy, that you could simply take the cost of printing and distributing your work, and divide it by the square inches of available ad space, and then you have your minimum price per inch of ad. Then take that number and price your ad sizes accordingly.

So let's say your 10,000 copies cost $2 each, If each copy has 200 inches of ad space, that's $0.01 per inch per copy, or $100 per inch total. So a 3"x5" ad would need to cost at least $1,500 under this scenario. ( check my math, it is sunday morning after all)

Premium placement, like back cover, should be considerably more, unless you are just looking to break even.

Main advice would be, if this is simply a break even vehicle to get your message out, price it to move. I buy advertising on a fairly regular basis, and if the price is cheap enough, I always take chances on things like this, even though I know it might not be the ideal place to advertise my product or company.
posted by Mr_Chips at 5:10 AM on May 11, 2008

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