What Are the Different Newspaper Advertisement Sizes?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Newspaper advertisement sizes can be based on physical measurements or predetermined fractions of a single page in a publication. Many newspapers sell ad space per column inch (centimeter), allowing for a high degree of flexibility because advertisers can precisely control the size of their advertisements. Other papers sell in page fractions like halves, quarters, eighths, and 16ths. The preferred method for determining newspaper advertisement sizes depends on the publication and the region.

In layout, a newspaper is set up as a series of columns which can be divided up by the column inch (centimeter). Layout personnel break up the space for use by advertising, news, editorial, and other types of information, and determine how much space will be available for different services. Some newspaper advertisement sizes are based on the column inch (centimeter); the newspaper charges a flat fee per unit, and advertisers can determine how much space they need to fit an ad, which may include text or images.

The larger the circulation, the more expensive the ad space. Color advertising also costs more, in publications that offer it. Advertisers need to check on the dimensions of the columns, as different papers use their own slightly different column measurements. Consequently, what fits in, for example, five column inches (13 column centimeters) in one publication might not fit in the same space in another. Advertisements with flexible designs that allow for some shrinkage and growth without distorting the content can be helpful for mass distribution to different publications.


Another system of newspaper advertisement sizes is based on fractions of a page, from a whole page down to smaller units like 16ths or 32nds in some cases. Some papers may break their pages into thirds, sixths, and 12ths, depending on their layout conventions. The fee changes depending on the size of the ad. Placing ads in publications with high circulation tends to be more costly, and fees also increase for color advertising features.

Newspapers typically list their ad sizes and other information in a number of locations for the benefit of advertisers. This information may also include advertising deadlines, fees for different ad types, and any advertising standards the paper may apply. Some, for example, do not accept ads for adult services. Advertising agencies often maintain databases of newspaper advertisement sizes and the latest rates. This can help them quote the cost of a campaign for a client in the process of creating an estimate or proposal.


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Post 8

No matter how you look at it, placing advertising in a newspaper is not cheap. I have placed several ads over the years for my business and have tried to keep track of what works best.

There are always choices of large, small, color, black and white, highlighted words, where to place the ad etc. Many times I think it depends more on the season of the year than the actual ad itself.

What I have noticed is that it seems to pay off if I consistently have some kind of ad running. This seems to bring in more of a steady flow of business, and I am more comfortable with that then big fluctuations.

A smaller

sized ad in the center of the page also seems to do better than a medium sized ad at the bottom of the page. There is something about the center of the page that seems to stand out more than being at the bottom.
Post 7

I don't use newspaper classified ads nearly as often as I used to when I wanted to sell something, but they usually worked well.

We have a small local newspaper, and a larger city newspaper to choose from. The difference in prices to place ads is quite large.

My first choice was to always go with the local newspaper and have a larger ad. I still paid quite a bit less money for this ad then I would for a small ad in the larger paper.

I realize that the circulation is not nearly as large, but figured this was always the best place to start. Most of them time I was able to sell the item I wanted and never had to go with the smaller ad in the newspaper that had a much larger circulation.

Post 6

When I served as ad director for a newspaper, I was always amazed at how easily confused customers were when it came to ad sizes. I instructed the sales reps to always let their clients know that 2x5 meant 2 column inches, or 3.6 actual inches, by 5 inches instead of literally 2 inches by 5 inches. Still, we ended up receiving ads from them that measured 2 inches wide.

It would be easier to just define ad spaces by fractions of a page. That way, they could not even guess what a sixteenth of a page would be. They would have to rely on actual measurements. However, we don’t do this, because we want customers to have the flexibility of going up or down an inch or even a half inch in height. This keeps them happy.

Post 5

It is very frustrating to a graphic designer at a newspaper to receive an already designed ad from an advertiser or individual that doesn’t fit the space that they bought. This is because the designer will have to break the ad down into pieces and cut and paste it back together to fit the space, or he may have to redesign it from scratch.

I know this because I worked as an intern at a paper during college. We received a lot of completed ads that didn’t fit the ad space. Often, it was more time consuming to chop the ad up into bits and rearrange them than to work up an ad ourselves.

The sales reps always

told the advertisers the size that the ad should be, but sometimes they just sent us an ad they ran with another publication and hoped it would fit. We were told to never stretch an ad, because that would distort the images. The redesign had to match the original as closely as possible.
Post 4

I am a sales representative for a newspaper. In addition to our daily paper, we publish several smaller special sections of a different size. For our regular paper, we sell ad space by the column inch, but for our special sections, we sell space as either an eighth, a fourth, a half, or a full page.

Our graphic designers have a list of the specific ad space measurements by width. They each keep a copy of it posted on their walls for easy reference. The height of an ad is literal, so a 2x4 ad would be an actual 4 inches tall.

Post 3

I design ads for a newspaper, so I have the challenge of making text and images fit into a specified space in an attractive fashion. We sell space by the column inch, and our most popular sizes are 2 columns by 4 inches and 2 columns by 2 inches. Advertisers who are trying to save money but have too much to say to fit into a 2x2 will buy a 2x4, but those who just want the basic information, like logo, address, and phone number, buy a 2x2.

We also sell quite a few 3x5 and 3x10.5 ad spaces. Advertisers who really want to get noticed or who want to list a lot of sale items buy these bigger sizes. Car dealers frequently buy 3x10.5 ad spaces and list several cars, along with prices and features.

Post 2

Full-page newspaper ads are a great investment if you are opening a new business. While they are quite pricey having a full-page ad can really help you attract customers, especially if you add some coupons to the bottom of your ad or a contest.

If you can't go for broke with a full-page advertisement sometimes you can get a good deal if you buy a series of smaller ad space over time. You can make an agreement to run your ad for several weeks and it reduces the overall price. Plus they may throw in a special offer, such as a half-page advertisement when you buy so many weeks of advertising. It is definitely worth asking if the newspaper has any advertising promotions.

Post 1

Looking at a newspaper is the best way to gauge whether or not the size of an advertisement will suit your needs. My family runs a small business and they sent me out to figure out which newspaper advertisements are the best size, and of course, placement is important too. You'll usually have to pay more money if you want your add in a specific section.

We found that we got the most bang for our buck by purchasing ads that ran alongside articles featured in the home section. My family sells wood flooring, so there is nothing better than strategic placement.

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