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Remnant ads in newspapers and magazines are a great way for a small business to gain exposure for a lower price compared to buying regular ad space. Remnant space is advertising space that the newspaper or magazine couldn’t sell at their regular rate well in advance of the print date. As the print date gets closer, this space has to be sold, so it’s discounted heavily, allowing small businesses with lower budgets to scoop them up.

Here’s what you should know about remnant ad space for newspaper and magazine advertising.

Remnant Ads – A Good Way to Get Around Higher Costs?

There are many reasons as to why this space might go unsold.

The Cost

Newspaper and magazine ads aren’t cheap. Depending on circulation size, whether it’s a local or national publication, the physical size of the ad, and whether it’s in color or not, all these factors could influence the cost. It might cost as little as $500 and it could be as much as $50,000. A full-page, full-color ad in The New York Times could cost over $1 million! These high costs could leave a newspaper with unsold inventory that it needs to sell at a discount.

Not Enough Advertisers

Sometimes seasonality can cause a dip in demand and a publication can see more available space than normal. For example, there are seasons for car companies to reduce their advertising, creating a lot of remnant space.

Lack of Interest

Newspapers with multiple sections can see a reduction of interest in a particular section. For example, in low season for sports, there might be more remnant space available than in peak times of the year when multiple sports are being played.


As the print deadline for the newspaper or magazine approaches, the need to fill up that remnant space increases, which can further lower the cost of the ad.

Is Remnant Advertising a Good Idea for Small Business Owners on a Tight Budget?

One of the major benefits for a small business to buy remnant ad space is obviously the price. You can get serious discounts, sometimes 75% or more, by waiting until the last minute to scoop up this ad space.

However, there are some negatives to getting remnant space, even at a significantly reduced price:

Limited to No Flexibility

When buying remnant space, your choice for ad size, ad location, and potentially other creative aspects are very limited. In fact, most times, it’s the newspaper’s decision as to where to place your ad. If you’ve received a steep discount, you’ll have no say in where your ad will go. That means it could be buried in a corner or near a news story or article that is unflattering.

Tight Deadline

As mentioned earlier, remnant ads are sold very close to the print deadline, so you’ll have very little time to get your ad written and/or designed to go to print. Sometimes, it could be the same day, which means you might not have a chance to put a lot of thought into your ad.

Poor Content

The publication might have remnant space because of a slow news cycle, negative publicity, or even an article that might not be attractive. Advertisers may pull out of the publication, creating remnant space. It’s up to you whether to take this space and risk being associated with this potentially bad press.

However, most of the time, getting a deep discount of 75% or more by buying remnant ad space is going to be worth it. The key is to calculate the return on investment in advance by knowing what your LTV (Lifetime Value) of your customer is and determining how many sales you need to, at the very least, pay for the ad.

How Do I Get Remnant Advertising?

The best way to go about acquiring remnant ad space is to contract out a media buying company, like North American Media, as a remnant broker that has a lot of contacts in the industry and is always being approached to fill remnant spots of various newspapers, whether local or national publications and various magazines of all types.

Remnant brokers are the ones reaching out to companies to broker a deal for the leftover space. Because of the nature of remainder advertising, these agencies or brokers tend to target larger companies because they trust that these companies will have the funds and will have their ads ready to go. But this doesn’t mean that smaller businesses are out of the mix. It just means that smaller businesses should put aside some money for remnant advertising and be prepared to negotiate with these brokers.

Small businesses that are interested in remnant advertising must also be able to quickly design an ad. The quality of the ad must also remain high if small businesses hope to be featured in any leftover space. Taking the initiative to reach out to brokers is particularly important for small businesses.

How North American Media Can Help with Your Remnant Ad Campaign

At North American Media, we specialize in helping our clients create robust, effective, successful newspaper and print ad campaigns. Our variety of services can be customized to suit your business goals and we have packages that can work with a range of budgets. Whether you need to target your market better, retain your customers, or improve your reputation, you can trust us to ensure your message comes off the right way and creates a positive impact.

Our services also include direct mail marketing, digital marketing, alternative media/inserts, radio & TV advertising, list brokerage, data solutions, list fulfillment, and list management. If you’d like to know more about the possibilities of remnant advertising, contact us at (475) 256-0303.