9 Newspaper Advertising Terms

Newspapers represent a staple of the advertising world.  They provide a trusted outreach vehicle to higher-income opinion-leaders within local communities, but they are not always the easiest to buy.

For new media buyers, the gap in terminology can be challenging to overcome, but the following nine terms will help first-time buyers as they navigate the newspaper advertising world:


The total average number of distributed copies of a publication during a specified standard time (day, week or month).

Newspapers will break down their circulation by day, with the majority of daily papers having their highest circulation on Sunday and the lowest circulation on Monday.  Weekly papers have only one day of circulation.

Pass-along Readership

Readers of a publication in addition to the initial buyer.

Also called “secondary audience” or simply “readership,” this number offers a more accurate portrait of the number of people reading the print edition of the newspaper and potentially seeing your advertising message.  As a rule of thumb, you can determine readership by multiplying the circulation by 2.1 (ex. circulation of 50,000 would result in a pass-along readership of 105,000).

Open Rate

The highest advertising rate given to an advertiser before any discount can be earned; also called “one-time rate.”

Open rates can apply to any advertising, from ROP to inserts.  Services like MANSI Media can help advertisers work with newspapers to negotiate a cost below the open rate.

Rate Card

A document that communicates the advertising costs, issue dates, program names, closing dates, requirements, cancellation dates, etc. for a given publication.

Rate cards are generally available upon request from newspaper representatives, but as newspapers continue to expand their offerings, their value has decreased as the rate card becomes more difficult to navigate.

Run of Paper (ROP)

Newspaper advertising that is positioned to run anywhere in a publication, with no exact choice of a specific position or page. Placement is at the discretion of the newspaper. 

More commonly referred to by its acronym, ROP, this is the most common option for newspaper advertisers.

PCI Rate

Cost per column inch for print display advertising, mostly used for newspaper pricing.

The formula for PCI is Column Inches x Rate = Advertising Cost.   The PCI can be impacted by placement (ROP vs. guaranteed placement), day of the week, type of advertiser and other factors.

Shopping Newspaper (Shopper)

A newspaper-like publication that is predominately advertising and often distributed free to shoppers or households.

These publications, more often referred to as “shoppers,” offer wide distribution but contain limited editorial content.


Advertising inserts that are printed in advance of the regular press run and then combined with the final publication just before distribution.

These “inserts” into the paper can either be printed by a 3rd party or, be printed at the newspaper’s facility to save on shipping costs.


No charge rerun placement is given to an advertiser when the original spot or ad did not run or ran incorrectly.

Sometimes an ad does not run as planned and, in those cases, a makegood can be provided.  The most common make good is a re-run of the original ad with an additional no-cost ad of the same size to run on a different date.

Do these terms leave you confused or uncertain about your next steps for your newspaper advertising campaign?

If so, call 717-703-3030 or email sales@MANSIMedia.com to reach the newspaper advertising placement experts at MANSI Media.  We offer simplified placement anywhere in the country, with negotiated rates and quick turnaround times to ensure your campaign is a success.