Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads: Which is better for you?

Are you a newspaper or other print media advertiser? Have you not considered Facebook Ads as a part of your marketing mix yet? Let me tell you, there is no doubt that social media marketing is on the rise. Further, in an entire gamut of digital media, Facebook Ads are growing the fastest. So, should you use Facebook Ads? Are there any advantages to your business, if you decide to embrace Facebook Ads? Today, I will take you through Facebook Ads Vs Newspaper Ads comparison to reach the decision which is better for you?

Facebook Ads Vs Newspaper Ads

Before the dawn of digital media marketing, it was quite easy for marketers to decide which media to be used for promotion. Broadly, there were Newspaper, TV, Radio, and Hoardings (outdoor was only limited to hoardings). Mostly, the newspaper was selected to reach a larger audience of a specific city. Other media such as Newspaper Inserts, Auto Rickshaw Announcements, Direct Mailer, Flyer Distributions and few other similar activities were mostly chosen by local businesses.

But, today’s scenario is more complex.

Today, marketers have ample of media to choose from.  Marketers need to do a trade-off among various media. In my opinion, it would be more logical to make a choice between Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads. Following parameters should be considered before making a decision.

Facebook Ads Offer Flexibility to Select Target Audience

Promotional messages must reach the right target audience. If you are selecting Newspaper, you are not having any flexibility in your hand. Your ad will simply be there in the newspaper for all the subscribers. Remember, I said it will be there and not it will be viewed.

But, if you decide to use Facebook Ads, you can practically control the target audience. Actually, you first create a target audience on Facebook by selecting the age, city, demographics, behavior, interest, digital activities, etc. and then you show your Facebook Ads to that particular audience only.

For example, you are an owner of a gym in the satellite area of Ahmedabad. For you, it doesn’t make sense to advertise in the entire city as the gym member will mostly be from within 3km to 5km radius of the gym location. On Facebook, you can target people of specific age groups, having liked pages related to health and resides in 5km of your gym location. That’s it, now your ad will be visible to this particular audience only.

That means Facebook Ads offer better control of the target audience.

Reach of Message Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads

Newspapers have circulation figures. These circulation figures decide which newspaper can present your message to how many households. That’s a fair base to select a newspaper for advertisement. In the past ABC figures (Audit Bureau Circulation Figures) have been a subject of huge debates as well. But, apart from ABC figures, there is hardly anything available to form a decision about reach. Further, even if you spend INR 10,000 or INR 50,000 on an ad, there is no variation on total reach.

If you use Facebook Ads, you will get a range of Estimated Daily Reach. Again, this reach is for a specific audience with selected parameters. Also, you can check how the reach will increase or decrease with a plus or minus of budget. With this data, you can make an informed decision whether you are reaching enough audience or not?

Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads Means Small Budget vs Big Budget

What budget is required to publish an ad in the newspaper? Sometimes, this question dictates the selection of the newspaper, page position in the newspaper, size of the advertisements or the mode of the advertisements (Colour or Black & White).

Most newspapers charge a 25% premium for the 3rd page, 50% premium for the last page and 100% premium for front page position of the advertisement. It goes without saying, the bigger the ad size, the bigger a budget requirement to publish that ad.

All newspapers have a minimum size requirement as well, for example, Gujarat Samachar 3CC, Times of India 48 sq.cm.  As these are an extremely small size and you know your promotional message will not be clear in such a small space so you decide to look at the option of 10CC (9.5cm x 10cm) in Gujarat Samachar and 80 sq.cm. (8cm x 10cm) in Times of India.  Let’s say if you want to publish an ad in Ahmedabad edition then the budget scenario will be something like as shown in the table.

News Paper Edition Ad Size Base Rate Front Page Last Page Third Page
Gujarat Samachar Ahmedabad 10 CC Rs. 3000 pe CC 60,000 45,000 37,500
Times of India Ahmedabad 8 x 6 = 48 sq cm Rs. 670 per sq.cm 45,600 38,160 35,280

It’s pretty clear minimum budget in Ahmedabad is INR 35,280. This budget is only for single insertion that means you ad will appear only for a day!

If you use Facebook Ads, you get total control on a daily budget as well as total budget. You can start even with a budget of INR 200 per day. So, you actually need a very small amount to try Facebook Ads compared to Newspaper Ads.

You Get Better Frequency with Facebook Ads

At what time newspaper arrives at your home or office? Early Morning, right! So, when you read this newspaper? May be at your breakfast time at home. If you are reading newspaper in office, chances are you are reading it in tea break or in a lunch break. I mean there is a fixed time to read a newspaper for most of us.

If you are a morning reader of a newspaper, it is highly unlikely you will read the same newspaper in the afternoon or evening. So, the ads being published in that particular newspaper are mostly targeting you only once in a day. If the advertiser wanted to reach you more than once, he needs to publish an ad on the second day. As we have seen, that’s a costly affair.

Newspaper lives for a day, but practically only a few hours!

Now, think about yourself. How many times do you check your Facebook News Feeds in a day? Average, users are doing it 4 to 5 times a day. Have you ever paid attention to the second post in your news feed? It’s an ad, a sponsored content. This means an average user is providing an opportunity to target them  4 to 5 times a day. Further, if you are running Facebook Ads with reach objective you can decide the frequency cap. That means you can choose how many times a user will see your ad message in a particular time duration.

We can conclude when the frequency is compared for Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads, Facebook Ads stay a top.

In the newspaper, the reader develops a category blindness for an ad which appears frequently, i.e if you are a male, you would stop paying attention to female western wear ads. The similar way, Facebook users start ignoring ads on which they have not taken any action and the ad appears with a frequency of more than 5. So, don’t bombard your target audience with frequency just because you can. Use it wisely.

Facebook Ads Are Objective Focused

When you publish an advertisement in the newspaper, your objectives are mostly focused on Phone Calls, Store Visits, and Website Visits.

But, Facebook Ads offer you a wide range of objectives to choose from. These objectives are Reach, Brand Awareness, Link Clicks, Engagement, App Installation, Video Views, Lead Generation and Store Visits. Further, Facebook keeps on upgrading these options. Recently, they have introduced send message to a business in messenger. So, you can have multiple ads focused on individual objectives. That’s great. Isn’t it.

Read more about how various Facebook Ads Objectives can be used to promote your products and services.

Performance Tracking of Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads

Tracking the performance of a newspaper ad is a little complex process. You need to have an auto system or you need to manually keep records of calls you are getting from a newspaper. If you have selected more than one newspaper and kept a single contact number than that adds to the difficulty. Alternatively, you need to invest in separate numbers for each newspaper. This doesn’t make sense in most scenarios.

You can also think of having coupon which the readers can bring and get offer benefits or send you by post after filling their details. But, try to remember when was the last time you had sent a post through postal department! In urban India, use of postcard or Inland letter has reduced drastically for personal communication purpose.

Facebook Ads come with an inbuilt reporting mechanism. Just in a few clicks, you can have a look at various statistics such as Reach, Impressions, Link Clicks, Number of Leads, Number of App Installations, Number of Post Engagements, Total Budget Spent, Cost Per Results, etc. Further, you can track this performance for each ad creative.

We can safely say, Facebook Ads are more ROI focused.

You Can Use Various Creative Types for Facebook Ads

The basic creative in newspaper and other print ads include Black & White ad and Colour Ads. Now, newspapers offer various shapes of ads, jackets, highlighted key words, etc.  But, each of these fall under innovative property and publisher charge super high premium for the same.

If you are using Facebook Ads, you can choose from Image Ad, Video Ad, Carousel Ads or Canvas Ads, etc . Each of these types of ads is capable to deliver altogether a way different experience.  If you are running Facebook Carousel Ads with 4 images you can have links to four different website pages, if want.

Now what you would choose from Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads for creative flexibility?

Facebook Ads Can Engage Your Target Audience

What is the engagement in print ads? Nil. Don’t get surprised. That’s true. Have you ever called up a marketer just to appreciate his print ads? If the answer is yes, you must be an agency owner or a brand manager having an interest in recruiting the same copywriter or art director! I mean we don’t do it, even when we like the advertisement.

At the same time, you would have reacted on many Facebook Ads with like, share, comment or other reaction symbols available in Facebook mechanism. Even when you would have not purchased anything from that particular advertiser, you might have engaged with the content. This convenience to express your opinion helps in engaging the target audience.

Call to Action Button of Facebook Ads Help in Conversion

Most Newspaper ads feature their contact number, but you just cannot contact the marketer unless you manually type the number in your phone. Chances or typing error exists here.

Few ads come with QR codes. If you are using QR codes in your print ads and your target audience is having application to scan that QR Code then you would be able to direct them to your desired action. But, to get results from QR code of your ad you need to spare really good space for it in your ad. This again takes you to the point of cost.

On the contrary, most Facebook Ads have a call to action button. With just one click on this button you accomplish various tasks. Let’s assume your objective is to increase website visits then you can set Learn More, Listen Now, Send Message, See Menu, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More or Request Time as your call to action button. If your objective is Engagement then you will have to choose from Learn More, Send Message or Shop Now button options.

With such CTA buttons you could easily take the user into your conversion funnel. Let’s assume you wanted target audience to watch a demo video. Then you need to publish QR code in your print ads plus your audience required QR code scanning app. But in Facebook Ads single click can take the target audience to your demo video page. It cannot be simpler than this!

Facebook Ads vs Newspaper Ads and Re-targeting

Let’s assume as an owner of a beauty salon, you published a newspaper ad for a 50% discount on Hair Spa. As of now there is no mechanism through which you can re-target readers or callers or web visitors of this particular ad.

Had you promoted the same offer via Facebook Ads you would have got ample of options to re-target. For example, you could have reached all those people who clicked on a certain CTA button or who interacted with your page or who watched half video, etc.


As we have seen, Facebook Ads offer more flexibility as well as an easy mechanism to target, reach and track. Such metrics are useful in analysis. At the same time Newspaper ads can be effective for products and services having mass as a target. In such cases also results can be enhanced by using Facebook Ads as a supporting medium.

I strongly feel, Facebook Ads must be a part of your Marketing Mix. In today’s scenario, if you have not opted for Social Media Marketing yet you are losing a chance to target potential customers.

Share your opinion and experience about print or digital media for promotion.


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