The Cost of Advertising Nationally Broken Down by Medium

The Cost of Advertising Nationally Broken Down by Medium

At WebpageFX, we’re firm believers that the web is the best way to advertise your business. To prove this, we compiled advertising cost data for a bunch of different mediums and compared their costs with the costs of web advertising.

We have numbers for both national and local sources. The current national advertising cost data is below. And we were right: the web is the most accountable, cheapest, and easiest way to bring in new business.


cost-of-advertising-nationally

Last updated on June 19, 2014. We are periodically updating this post as we come across new data. Feel free to suggest any additional resources or edits in the comments.

Bonus: Download this data in a spreadsheet

Click to jump to the data and additional information on each advertising method:

See for yourself how much less overhead there is with the web.

Breaking Down Each Advertising Medium

National TV Advertising

Setup Process Design + Production
Setup Cost $50,000-$750,000
Cost of Media $35,000 to $2 million per 30 second spot
Cost to Continue Cost of media + agency hourly rate
Demographic Served Anyone watching TV
Definitive ROI Tracking? No
Pros Exposure
Cons Expensive, wasted impressions on unqualified customers

 

The advertising costs associated with TV are expensive, and making a TV ad is a complicated process. While many people all over the world watch TV each day, the costs of designing and producing a commercial can really put a dent in your company’s budget. In addition to that, you‘ll be paying between thousands and millions of dollars for a 30-second advertisement.

While some TV ads can be very effective, you really need to ask yourself if the cost of advertising on TV is going to be worth it for your company. After all, nowadays you can film your own YouTube commercial and distribute it through your social media outlets online for a fraction of the time and price it takes to make a TV ad.

National Magazine Advertising

Setup Process Design
Setup Cost $1,500-$20,000
Cost of Media $3,000-$25,000 per full-page ad per issue
Cost to Continue Cost of media + agency hourly rate
Demographic Served Anyone reading the magazine
Definitive ROI Tracking? No
Pros Exposure
Cons Expensive, wasted impressions on unqualified customers

 

Advertising through a national magazine costs less than advertising through national TV, but without the dynamics and level of narrative that an action-packed ad can deliver. On the plus side, your ad will stick around for longer than 30 seconds, but are the costs of magazine advertising really worth it? With the potential to cost $25,000, if you run a full-page ad in only four magazines you’re looking at spending $100,000.

When you consider how inexpensive online advertising is, that seems like way too much money to be spending on ads that don’t even have clickable links.

National Newspaper Advertising

Setup Process Design
Setup Cost $1,500-$20,000
Cost of Media ~$28,000 per half-page ad per day
Cost to Continue Cost of media + additional design in future
Demographic Served Anyone reading the newspaper
Definitive ROI Tracking? No
Pros Exposure
Cons Expensive, wasted impressions on unqualified customers

 

Still cheaper than the costs of magazine advertising are the costs of newspaper advertising. However, one of the big drawbacks to newspaper ads is that they get little notice compared to TV, magazine or online ads. Newspaper ads tend to be less colorful and smaller than other kinds of printed ads and, with newspaper readerships on the decline anyway, why spend the money to advertise in a newspaper when you can get way more bang for your buck with online ads?

Direct Mail Marketing

Setup Process Design
Setup Cost $1,500-$15,000
Cost of Media ~$2.20 per addressee
Cost to Continue Design, publishing + postage costs
Demographic Served Direct mail company’s mailing list
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Targeted
Cons Publishing and postage costs drive up initial investment

 

At first glance, direct mail marketing appears much cheaper than the costs of advertising for the mediums listed above. However, when you take publishing and postage costs into account, you’re looking at spending quite a bit more in advertising costs than you initially projected. It all depends on how large your mailing list is.

Even if you are willing to pay the advertising costs for direct mail marketing, who actually reads this kind of mail anyway? Most people take the envelope right out of their mailboxes and drop it straight into the trash. Do you really want to be spending your valuable advertising resources on filling up someone’s garbage can?

Telemarketing

Setup Process Script Writing
Setup Cost $1,000-$5,000
Cost of Media $20-$60 per hour per outbound caller
Cost to Continue $20-$60/hour
Demographic Served People on your telemarketing company’s call list
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Targeted
Cons Extremely annoying, hurts brand image

 

Telemarketing may be even cheaper than direct mail marketing but, depending on how many outbound calls your company is making, you could end up paying a substantial fee for your advertising costs. Not to mention, you’ll only drive your customers and potential customers crazy with this kind of advertising ploy. Few people will tolerate telemarketing calls, and no one enjoys them. Save your money for advertising campaigns your customers will actually like and find intriguing.

National Search Engine Optimization

Setup Process Website Configuration
Setup Cost $4,000-$10,0000
Cost of Media Free
Cost to Continue ~$500/month to internet marketer
Demographic Served People actively searching for a company like yours
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Free stream of qualified traffic
Cons Continuous monitoring necessary to maintain traffic stream

 

Configuring your website for national SEO is a bit more expensive than the initial costs of telemarketing, but it’s even cheaper than direct mail marketing and none of your customers will throw your ads in the trash or hang up on you. Also, unlike magazine and newspaper ads, SEO allows you to create interesting content that advertises for your business and is sharable on social networking sites.

When you implement good SEO strategies, potential customers can search for your company’s website or social pages on Google and interact with your brand online. You can even create commercials for websites like YouTube and Hulu for only a fraction of the cost of advertising on TV.

National Pay Per Click Marketing

Setup Process Website Configuration
Setup Cost $4,000-$10,0000
Cost of Media 5¢-$3 per qualified visitor
Cost to Continue Cost of clicks + ~$500/month to internet marketer
Demographic Served People actively searching for a company like yours
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Free stream of qualified traffic
Cons Easy for amateurs to mismanage a campaign and waste money

 

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is an inexpensive and highly-effective form of online advertising. After paying the costs to configure your PPC campaign, you only pay a few cents per click. And who is going to click on your link? People who are searching for the kinds of products and services your website has to offer. This can increase the conversion rate (traffic to sales) of your website and generate more revenue for your company. The only thing to watch out for with PPC campaigns is who is doing your PPC management.

At WebpageFX, we have highly-skilled professionals who manage your PPC campaigns for you to ensure that your PPC advertising isn’t mismanaged. We incorporate specific keywords relative to your website to help traffic find your company on the web. Check out our PPC Management Pricing page to learn more about what this kind of advertising can do for you.

National Email Marketing

Setup Process Email Template Design
Setup Cost $4,000-$10,0000
Cost of Media 5¢-$3 per qualified visitor
Cost to Continue ~$500/month to internet marketer
Demographic Served Your email database
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Previous customers
Cons Inboxes are cluttered

 

The costs of advertising through email marketing are pretty similar to the costs of a PPC campaign or SEO. That is – it’s inexpensive.

Unlike telemarketing or direct mail marketing though, email marketing allows customers to interact with your ads in a way that won’t annoy them to death. You can offer customers limited time sales or store credits directly through email, and they can immediately click on the link to go to your website and redeem those offers. Better yet, they can view your email at a time that is convenient for them – something that many telemarking campaigns fail to consider.

Web Content Marketing Campaign

Setup Process Development of web content assets and graphical elements
Setup Cost $6,000-$12,000
Cost of Media Free
Cost to Continue $0 (If content is written around “evergreen” topics)
Demographic Served All – Web searches
Definitive ROI Tracking? Yes
Pros Content marketing can deliver traffic/leads for many years
Cons Results can be more “hit or miss”

 

Web content marketing can cost even less than other forms of online advertising. When you take into account the continuing costs of the previously mentioned ad types, you can actually create very effective web content that costs less than other forms of online marketing.

Better yet, this kind of content can continue to generate interest in your website years after it was originally created. Infographics, blog posts and content made specifically for social media sites are all examples of online content marketing that can go viral and drive traffic to your site for years.

Bonus: Download this data in a spreadsheet

What’s the Most Cost-Effective Way to Advertise Nationally?

Based on these results, we feel that national SEO, PPC advertising, email marketing, and content marketing are the best and most cost-effective ways that you can reach a national audience. Although the setup costs may be comparable to other national methods, in the long run, these four methods have two distinct advantages:

  1. They cost far less in the long run, and
  2. They are far more precisely targeted than other advertising methods.

If your company or brand is looking to save money on advertising while reaching its target audience more effectively, you should consider implementing a full inbound marketing strategy. Unlike traditional forms of national advertising, which have come to be viewed as intrusive or interruptive, inbound marketing serves potential customers who have already reached your website through search or social media.

There are distinct advantages to inbound marketing. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the ability to track your users and learn from their behaviors and responses to your website and content (via an analytics tool like Google Analytics). This kind of “feedback” and data can help you adjust your marketing on an ongoing basis, enabling you to better reach visitors and drive them to take action.

To learn more about inbound marketing and how it can save money for your business while reaching more leads, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing.

Have any additional resources or data updates for this post? Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll update our information accordingly.

Photo Credit: Wrote

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  • Daniel Kiefer

    Where did you get this information it seems to be more than expected……

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  • Quirk

    Where’s the local advertising costs you were going to put up? Can’t seem to find them anywhere.

  • Fidem Turbare

    The cost of eMail marketing is getting kicked off your ISP because they got blacklisted for your spamming. This is a very bad move for business.

  • michael

    Good News particularly those businessmen who are planning to advertise their products or even services.

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  • Drake

    or have a project for an economics class

  • Kong Lu

    um…. am i not understanding this well enough.. or is there a typo? under your national magazine section:

    “With the potential to cost $25,000, if you run a full-page ad in only four magazines you’re looking at spending $1 million.”

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

    Hi Kong, that was a typo. It’s fixed now! Thanks for letting us know.