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How To Buy Newspaper Space at 80% Off List – Remnant Space

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin

Remnant Space: How to Buy Newspaper Space at 80% Off List

Big Discounts – and better direct response rates – are available in newspaper ads. Surprisingly, there’s not much buzz about direct response in newspaper space ads even in direct marketing inner circles. Funny, because direct response print ads are a huge category of direct marketing, second only to direct mail. Yet, not a word.

Even without the direct marketing industry chatter, direct response ad placements continue to be profitable, and placements are on quite a grand scale. I guess no one likes to divulge all their secrets, especially when they’re making big money at it.

With newspaper space ads, offers can be tested inexpensively, and successful venues and rollouts can be extremely profitable because the weekly circulation figures of newspapers are surprisingly high. Run-of-press direct response newsprint ads can reach well over 50 million readers. Each week.

Buying Remnant Newspaper Space

The first key to successful direct-selling newspaper advertising is buying cost-effectively, which means the first words in buying newspaper ads at huge discounts are “Remnant Space!”

Also called “standby space,” Remnant Space is the leftover blocks of newspaper space that remain unsold at the last closing minutes — right before the newspaper’s final page composition, printing and distribution.

Remnant space is also commonly found in magazine ad placements, where last-minute quickly-negotiated remnant space ad rates can commonly be as steeply discounted as 70%, 80% 90% & even 95% off list price.  And I’m sure you’d be surprised at which hugely popular magazines offer this highly discounted advertising space.

The downsides of remnant space buys are… sometimes the ads don’t run. Unlike traditional ads that you pay list price for and they absolutely do run, remnant space ads may or may not run depending on how much space the newspaper or magazine has left at the end of the publishing cycle. And two: you don’t get good position in the newspaper or magazine unless you negotiate it UP FRONT, before you place your ad.

Placing your ad in a remnant space program in newspapers usually gives the publisher a window to run the ads. In newspapers, it’s usually two or more commonly three weeks, after which time the placement order is killed and a new insertion order must be written to continue to offer to buy space.  Ads must be ready to go, in exact size, and sent to the publisher early so they can have the creative on hand and they are ready to insert it in the last minute of the closing of a newspaper pagination cycle.

Testing Stand-by or Remnant space:

On a smaller geographic scale as buying remnant space on a national level, buying remnant newspaper space can be as simple as calling your local newspaper space sales rep and letting him or her know you’re interested in purchasing remnant space. After receiving their bullish pitch on the value of buying space at the full list price of open rate, feel free to request the rep call you back when some remnant space becomes available.

Disconnect the phone after letting the ad rep or publisher know you have an ad “ready to go” in the exact size they need for immediate placement. Don’t worry – they’ll call you back when the space is available – no publisher likes unsold space – where they must run house ads to cover the white hole. Eventually a space will open up – it always does.  While some publishers won’t deal, many will – and you never know until you ask.

National Remnant Space Buys

For large and national ad placement buys, you can negotiate and purchase this type of leftover ad space with any of the thousands of papers nationwide. But what a pain in the neck: time consuming and lots of effort.

If you thought it was an incredible mess with negotiations, wait until you have to cut individual checks up front to each newspaper who may or may not run your ad. Or the horrors of newspapers billing you, and individual checks cut for each each paper and each insertion. Ugh…  It doesn’t have to be this way, and it isn’t.

How to purchase Remnant space advertising nationally

When your buys are national in scope, you can purchase remnant space in bulk from firms specializing in “remnant space ad distribution” services. They’ll find papers who place remnant space ads, negotiate the best prices, then transmit your ads to the various newspapers who accept remnant space purchase orders.

When a newspaper has a last minute space opening, the publisher will strip in your ad in – at those last closing moments, right before the paper goes to press. Most publishers are happy to do it even at the steeply discounted rate you are paying.  I’ve purchased lots of ads for clients at an incredible 93% – 95% off list; almost all the remnant newspaper ads I’ve bought for clients is at least 90% off list prices.

Here’s why publishers are glad to give your ad insertion order a steeply discount newspaper rate.

Like two day old fish or a seat in an airplane when the door closes, ad space in newspapers is perishable. Once the news   Continue reading…

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin creates highly responsive traditional and direct response print ads for both newspapers and magazines. He is the author of 5 books on direct marketing, and two on humor. Mr. Dobkin is a direct marketing writer and graphic designer whose specialty is creating effective direct response space ads, letters; and direct mail. He also helps clients buy ad space in newspapers and magazines at tremendous discounts off list price.  To speak with Mr. Dobkin or for samples of his work call 610/642-1000. Visit him at his favorite website: