newspaper advertising retail marketing digital ads

Newspaper advertising.

It’s the tried and tested method for many small businesses. It makes sense of course: local people buy the paper. You buy ad space. They buy from you.

Or that’s the working theory anyway.

Many small businesses fall into the trap of advertising in the paper because that’s what they’ve always done – even if it’s difficult to prove if there has been any return on investment.

There’s also the issue of circulation. According to, the estimated total U.S. daily newspaper circulation (including print and digital) in 2017 was 31 million for weekday papers – which sounds like a lot.

However, that’s down 11 percent on 2016. The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today are the top dogs of the circulation chain, though their price points are out of reach for most small businesses.

So is newspaper advertising worth it, then?

retail marketing woman in store

The pros and cons of print advertising for small businesses

You’re likely reading this article because you have one question you want to answer: “Is print advertising worth it for small businesses?”

The answer, very definitely, is that it depends. Let’s start by considering the benefits of newspaper advertising for retail marketing.

An Australian study by Galaxy Research and NewsMediaWorks found that national, regional, and community newspapers were far and away the most trusted media type. Social media was last.

Research from NewsMediaWork’s Quarterly Report also found that 75 percent of the people who are first in their social network to try a new product are newspaper readers.

Those are enticing stats.

It’s a simple fact: newspaper ads – especially in most small local newspapers – aren’t hugely expensive. And they get your ads in front of local people.

However, there is a flip side. They’re also not particularly targeted and there’s no real way to track them – or to follow up. As the old marketing adage goes: if it can’t be tracked, it can’t be measured. So, sure, newspaper advertising is great but if you can’t prove any kind of return on investment, how do you know if it’s working or if it’s an efficient way to spend your marketing budget?

Digital advertising is the opposite side of that same coin for retail marketing, helping to bridge the gap to your target audience. However, digital advertising isn’t hugely trusted – and it can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Which begs the question: is digital advertising worth it?

better retail marketing

Digital advertising: is it a good idea for retail marketing?

Compared to digital advertising, newspaper advertising is pretty straight forward. You pay for the ad space, your ad is created, and it’s printed into the newspaper.

There are lots of different types of digital advertising, many of which are complicated or seem to be made up of acronyms inside of acronyms. Let’s start by looking at some of the different types of digital advertising that might be relevant to your retail marketing strategy.

🗣<<While you’re here, why not get a free guide to retail marketing tactics that really work?>> 🗣

Digital advertising for retail marketing

Display advertising

Display ads are online ads generally found on blogs or websites. They’re usually highly visual, and can be anything from a banner ad (at the top of a page) to an ad in the sidebar of a blog.

Pay-per-click (Adwords)

Businesses pay per click every time a person clicks on their ad. The first few results in Google and other search engines are usually ads using pay-per-click.

ppc example

Social media ads

These are ads on social media networks, like Facebook or Twitter.

Native ads/advertorials

A type of ad that’s created so that it doesn’t necessarily look like an ad, i.e. it’s native/belongs to that platform – for example a beauty brand might pay a website to write an article about 10 great lipsticks and include one of its lipsticks in the article.

The video below, from BuzzFeed, also is an ad – though it plays out like a regular, funny BuzzFeed video. 


Remarketing is a little more complicated and uses cookies and pixels to track what people do across the internet. Let’s say that you click on a website to buy furniture for your house. The website would record that you were on the site and were interested in buying furniture. You’ll then be remarketed to (see more ads from) the same company on other sites on the internet.

asos remarketing example

Affiliate marketing

This is when someone promotes someone else’s product or company on the internet and then earns commission from any sales. It’s popular with bloggers, for example, who might advertise a product they like in exchange for a percentage of any money made.

Online local advertising

This is paying for ads online that promote your small business or retail store to local people on the internet. Yelp is a popular form of local advertising, though it can be difficult to prove the return on investment on ads.

person shopping retail marketing

Does digital advertising work for small businesses?

Much like newspaper advertising, digital advertising can be tricky to prove without stats and analytics to back it up. Many big brands have seen huge success. ASOS, the fashion brand, has mastered retargeting and social advertising.

The reason so many companies use paid advertising is that it often works – and that it can be highly targeted. On Facebook, for example, advertisers can target audiences based on everything from their demographics (including age, gender, location, income, home type) to their interests or behavioral data (for example, have they recently purchased a new car or is their home insurance due for renewal?).

However, the kicker of digital advertising is that it isn’t cheap and that it takes time to learn to do it right. Plus, you’ll often need a budget to make the ads. A lot of trial and error is involved too, and unless you have a platform for analyzing your data, how do you know if it works?

data analytics retail marketing

How Pointy bridges the gap for retail marketing

If you don’t have a big budget and you want to reach local people, Pointy could be an option for your small business.

Pointy connects to your POS to get your in-store product inventory online into a catalog of products that can appear in search results.

Let’s say you’re a bookstore and someone searches for a specific book in your local area.

book store marketing

The person makes the search and Google shows them a relevant result – in this instance it’s a retailer with their own online product inventory from Pointy.

It’s the same idea for any other store types, for example a bike store.

bike store marketing

Pointy has also partnered with Google to help you create highly targeted digital product ads that help your products appear in search. Normally, this would be a very involved process with sourcing images, updating prices, and creating the ads.

Because your product inventory is in Pointy as it connects to your POS, it’s much easier and involves setting your budget and audience (for example, young people in Philadelphia). Pointy does the rest.

Pointy combines the local element of newspaper ads with digital advertising to help you create more customers for your retail store. Sure, you could spend a small fortune testing out digital ads or print advertising yourself – but why do that when a device can do it for you?

Interested in how Pointy could grow your store? Click here or on the image below to watch a 2-minute walkthrough or click on the gif below.

Lisa Sills
Lisa Sills

Lisa is a content strategist at Pointy. She’s passionate about the world of digital, books, and all things retail. When not in work, you’ll find her on her bike (probably in the rain because it’s Ireland) or carefully curating her cat’s Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *