Newspaper advertisement sizes can be based on physical measurements or predetermined fractions of a single page in a publication. Many newspapers sell ad space per column inch (centimeter), allowing for a high degree of flexibility because advertisers can precisely control the size of their advertisements. Other papers sell in page fractions like halves, quarters, eighths, and 16ths. The preferred method for determining newspaper advertisement sizes depends on the publication and the region.
In layout, a newspaper is set up as a series of columns which can be divided up by the column inch (centimeter). Layout personnel break up the space for use by advertising, news, editorial, and other types of information, and determine how much space will be available for different services. Some newspaper advertisement sizes are based on the column inch (centimeter); the newspaper charges a flat fee per unit, and advertisers can determine how much space they need to fit an ad, which may include text or images.
The larger the circulation, the more expensive the ad space. Color advertising also costs more, in publications that offer it. Advertisers need to check on the dimensions of the columns, as different papers use their own slightly different column measurements. Consequently, what fits in, for example, five column inches (13 column centimeters) in one publication might not fit in the same space in another. Advertisements with flexible designs that allow for some shrinkage and growth without distorting the content can be helpful for mass distribution to different publications.
Another system of newspaper advertisement sizes is based on fractions of a page, from a whole page down to smaller units like 16ths or 32nds in some cases. Some papers may break their pages into thirds, sixths, and 12ths, depending on their layout conventions. The fee changes depending on the size of the ad. Placing ads in publications with high circulation tends to be more costly, and fees also increase for color advertising features.
Newspapers typically list their ad sizes and other information in a number of locations for the benefit of advertisers. This information may also include advertising deadlines, fees for different ad types, and any advertising standards the paper may apply. Some, for example, do not accept ads for adult services. Advertising agencies often maintain databases of newspaper advertisement sizes and the latest rates. This can help them quote the cost of a campaign for a client in the process of creating an estimate or proposal.