How much does it cost to advertise?

dollar sign

dollar sign

Advertising rates vary widely, and estimating an average rate is no small task.  Yet, if you’re like most businesses or nonprofit organizations, you’d like to know how to budget for your marketing plans.

Most media publish rate cards listing their prices for advertising, but they can be almost meaningless, since significant discounts are typically negotiated.

These averages, as reported by eMarketer, should only be a departure point for planning.  The cost of a newspaper display advertisement in Washington, DC, for example can vary widely, depending on the publication and how many geographic areas are targeted, as well as frequency rates and other considerations.

One positive note: most nonprofit organizations can expect to receive a discount.  Which is great…if you can afford to purchase the advertising space in the first place.  Most advertising is mind-blowingly expensive. We’re talking about 10s of thousands of dollars to have a decent-sized display ad in The Washington Post, USA Today, or People Magazine.

There are alternatives, of course.  Using social media and email marketing are two affordable methods with excellent ROI.  Well-targeted direct mail can be effective.  Advertising on Facebook and Craigslist are two other affordable examples where online campaigns can cost less than $100.

Jefferies and Company estimates that broadcast TV had the highest cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate of $10.25, with syndicated TV at $8.77. Magazines, cable TV, newspapers, radio and outdoor advertising follow in amount of expense.

US Advertising CPM, by Media, 2008

Credit Suisse estimated the average 2009 CPM for online display advertising will be $2.39.  JPMorgan says sponsored search advertising is about $75.33 per CPM, on average.

Online video advertising pricing varies.  Preroll is the most expensive, at $35/CPM, in-stream ads can cost $16.40/CPM, and overlay ads run about $7.40/CPM, on average.


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince ( Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on April 25, 2009, in Advertising Tips. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi Mary,
    Nice job. These are good data points.
    Tim Fahey

  2. I was looking online and I found a website that you can have a free ebillboard for FREE. Just go to

  1. Pingback: By the numbers: top posts from the Fletcher Prince blog | Fletcher Prince


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