The most cost-effective traditional advertising channels in the UK

The world of advertising has moved online, it is practical, targeted and data-driven. However, how cost-effective is traditional advertising compared to digital advertising in the UK?

As businesses build their ad campaigns, the format of that campaign will consider both online and offline channels. We look at how these channels compare in price to their digital counterparts:

Read on to discover the cost to make and advertise on these channels.

How much does TV advertising cost in the UK?

TV advertising is still one of the most popular forms of advertising, reaching millions of people every day. The cost to advertise varies and depends on a number of factors, most of which come down to the viewership. Factors include:

  • Time slot

  • Day of the week

  • Type of programme

For example, a 30-second ad during primetime on a Saturday night will cost more than a middle-of-the-day, middle-of-the-week 30-second ad. Prices start as little as £70 you can grab a spot on a digital channel during the day however, viewership is likely to be low. Running an ad in primetime can reach as high as £34,000 for a 30-second ad. So, costs for TV adverts in the UK can quickly reach the hundreds of thousands for prime-time spots.

Similarly, producing a TV advert is expensive. That being said, there are budget options, if you produce a basic animation with a voiceover it could cost a few hundred pounds. However, if you want a TV advert with impact and a big star attached it could cost up to £250,000. You would expect to get a good return on investment with TV advertising in the UK, with £1.73 returned for every £1 invested in the short term and up to £4.20 long term.

In comparison, YouTube is the most comparable platform for TV ads online. It costs between $0.10 to $0.30 per view, so you would need to spend around $2,000 for 100,000 views. The cost to produce a YouTube ad is similar, in fact, you could use your TV ad on YouTube. One benefit of YouTube is unskippable ads, but the drawback is technology like ad blockers.

yellow tv advert

Radio advertising costs in the UK

Radio adverts are often forgotten, yet an important form of traditional advertising. Like with TV, radio has peak times, primarily during the morning and evening rush hours. The difference from TV is that radio has a captive audience. If you are driving to work or on the school run you are not able to walk away when the adverts come on.

Radio ads are typically 20 to 40 seconds long and similar to TV, the cost varies depending on the number of listeners. The two variables tend to be based on:

  • The station

  • Time slot

However, if you opt for a daytime or evening slot you could get an ad for £100, if you opt for a peak time ad it could cost £5,000 per ad.

Producing a radio advert can be relatively cheap. Prices start from around £300, but you will need to factor in writing a compelling script and hiring voice actors. So it could end up reaching a few thousand if you hire professionals.

Spotify is the most comparable platform for digital adverts. Costs for advertising on Spotify can be as low as £250. You can request a voiceover or have access to the Spotify production studio.

Newspaper advertising cost in the UK

Newspapers are possibly the most affected medium by the growth of the internet. The cost of newspaper advertising in the UK depends on two types of ads:

  • Display ads – on the back or inside pages (half or full pages)

  • Classified ads – smaller text-based adverts

The other factor to the cost of newspaper ads is the publication and size of the ad. It will cost between £50 to £3,000 per ad. The cost of design also needs to be factored in, depending on the complexity of the ad it could set you back around £500.

Most newspapers have an online presence so it is easy to compare their digital to their print offering them. Unlike newspapers, you could run ads on every page of a website. This may cost millions, yet ad block might limit your exposure. That being said, you could get millions of views of your ads through repeated visits so the return might be worth the investment.

Online newspapers, and a traditional print’s online version, can also benefit from the use of PPC. Check out this link if you’re looking for a PPC audit service that could help this form of traditional advertising stand out.

Other traditional advertising costs

Billboard advertising

Billboard ads are a type of out-of-home advertising (OOH) that involves renting space on a physical billboard. Usually, billboards are located in high footfall or traffic areas and are eye-catching so they can easily be seen by passersby.

The cost of billboard advertising generally starts at £170 for a two-week period on a roadside phone kiosk, then up to £625 per two-week period for a large high-traffic area.

Vehicle advertising

Another type of OOH advertising, vehicle advertising involves wrapping your car, van, or bus with your logo or advertisement. It is good for targeting a specific area with a local service, however, larger companies like Sky have their vehicles wrapped with ads.

The cost of vehicle advertising mainly depends on your fleet of vehicles, the size of the vehicle, or the complexity of the design. In the UK you can wrap a vehicle for as little as £250, well worth the investment if you are a local business.

Customized giveaway ads

Promotional giveaways are when businesses give customers and potential customers free products with their company logo, such as Custom Lapel Pins, custom mugs, and more, to attract new business and build customer loyalty.

Branded corporate gift sets will leave a lasting impression on your brand in the minds of your customers. The cost of giving away gifts is very low, depending on the number of customers or partners you plan to give away, making it a very economical advertising option.


Overall, traditional forms of advertising remain popular in the UK. They are being replaced by digital advertising but are well worth the investment when diversifying your advertising to reach a wider audience.