Creating an Effective Print Ad

Friday, September 5, 2008 | 11:45 AM

Newspaper readers actively respond to ads they see in their newspapers; this is no secret. But how can you make sure you have the best ad to catch a reader’s eye?

At Google, we've developed a set of guidelines to help you create an effective print ad. There are three aspects to an effective print ad: timing, creative layout, and creative content.


The biggest goal of your print ad should be to catch the attention of your audience. The best way to do this is to expose readers to your ad with frequency. We recommend that an ad run a minimum of three ads per week for two weeks. There is a high correlation between high-frequency ads and positive lifts in site traffic, increases in store traffic, and other calls-to-action. A reader must be exposed to a message at least three times before one can expect to achieve a measurable impact. The Newspaper Association of America quotes this conventional wisdom in their article, 10 Reasons to Advertise Frequently.

Creative Layout

When considering what your ad should look like, think attractive and uncluttered. Visuals tend to enhance persuasion, aid in recall, and create an emotional association with a product. We recommend using color over black and white, images over text, and a size of 1/8 of a page or larger. You can use the ad creator tool to get started.

Creative Content

Providing detailed product information is another method to gain attention. If you are advertising a product, you should show it. It’s even better if you show the product in use. And if you’ve got prices, list them!

After you've created an effective print ad, be sure your call-to-action is prominent by adding a Google Consumer Response Tag or CRT which is discussed in this previous blog post.

Remember, bigger, clearer and more frequent ads most effectively reach a greater portion of potential customers.

Posted by Nikoletta Chabay, Research & Strategy Associate for Google Print Ads