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How effective is newspaper advertising in the UK for retailers

Newspaper advertising has long been a staple of UK retail marketing, with many retailers relying on it as their primary source of advertisement. 

While newspaper advertising in the UK no longer enjoys the same level of popularity and reach as it once did, UK retailers still have the opportunity to use newspapers to attract attention and drive sales

This guide will discuss the benefits of newspaper advertising for UK retailers, how much it might cost and what reach they might hope to achieve.

How Much Does Newspaper Advertising Cost?

The cost of newspaper advertising in the UK varies significantly depending on various factors, including:

  • Where you are situated geographically
  • Which publication you choose to advertise with
  • The placement within the paper

Generally speaking, newspaper adverts in the UK can range from as little as £50 for a single page of text to thousands for a double-page spread. However, it is important to note that you will likely get what you pay for; higher-quality papers may cost more, up to £3,000 per placement, but they could also drive better results.

In addition to the base rate, additional costs may be charged by the newspaper for design or proofreading services. However, there are ways to reduce the cost of your advertising campaign. 

Firstly, you can take advantage of bulk-buying offers; many newspapers offer discounted rates when a certain number of adverts are placed over a specific period of time. Secondly, consider using a third-party advertising agency that can negotiate better rates on your behalf.

Read more: The most cost-effective traditional advertising channels in the UK

What Reach Can UK Retailers Expect?

The reach of a newspaper advertising campaign will depend largely on the publication you choose to advertise with, as well as the content of your adverts. 

man reading newspaper

Larger, more popular newspapers tend to have higher circulation figures and thus wider reach. For example, The Sunday Times has a circulation of over 600,000 (as of March 2020) whereas the Financial Times has a reach of just over 108,000 (as of February 2023); if you are advertising a product that is likely to be most appealing to a high-end audience then the latter might be a more cost-effective option than the former.

In addition, the content of your adverts will also have a huge bearing on how successful your campaign is. Make sure that your advertising messages are clear and to the point, and that they include calls-to-action such as ‘buy now’ or ‘visit our website’. Investing in professional design services can also go a long way towards improving the visual appeal of your adverts.

If you are directing readers to your website, or a certain page make sure to shorten your URL. For one thing, a long website takes a long time to type and many readers will simply not bother. Also, URLs are not visually appealing in print so could ruin the impact of your advertisement.

Examples of successful newspaper campaigns for UK retailers include Sainsbury’s ‘Live Well for Less’ campaign, which ran in The Guardian in 2016 and helped to boost sales by 14%. Similarly, John Lewis used a full-page advert in The Telegraph to promote their Christmas campaign in 2017, resulting in an increase in profits of 6%. It should be noted that all these campaigns are part of other marketing efforts, so newspapers will help your overall campaign.

Tips to Maximise Reach

There are a few steps that UK retailers can take to maximise the reach of their newspaper advertising campaigns. We break them down into three main points:

  • Understand your target audience
  • Engaging design
  • Run as part of an overall campaign

Target audience

Firstly, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and choose newspapers that cater specifically for this demographic. 

This is true of any marketing campaign. The better you understand your target audience the more tailored and effective your campaign will be.

Engaging design

The design of print ads in newspapers can initially appear limiting, however, it is only limited by your imagination. Do you; do what your audience expects, or do something a bit different? 

Overall, ensure that your adverts are eye-catching and engaging, as well as informative. 

Your overall campaign

Newspaper advertising should not be a one-off measure. It needs to be part of a larger marketing campaign. Run other marketing activities, TV, Radio, Billboard and online marketing

But specifically in terms of your newspaper campaign, consider running multiple campaigns over a longer period of time. Relying on just one or two adverts rarely works; this will help to ensure that your message is seen by more people.


Overall, newspaper advertising can be an effective way for UK retailers to reach a wide audience and drive sales. However, it is important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of who your target audience is, as well as an effective strategy for reaching them. Investing in professional design services can also help to increase the effectiveness of your campaign, as can running multiple adverts over a longer period of time. 

By following these tips, UK retailers should be able to maximise the reach of their newspaper advertising campaigns.