Which Gets Read More – Ads or Articles?

Today I have a great guest article to share with you by marketing legend Dan Kennedy (more info in his bio below).  He’s going to talk about which gets read more… Ads or Articles? 

Do you know which one gets read more?  Whelp, if not, you’re about to find out.  Enjoy!

Renegade Millionaire

By Dan Kennedy

Which Gets Read More – Ads Or Articles?

The Advertorial:
The Challenge Of Maximum Readership

The knee-jerk answer is: articles.  And the argument for the “advertorial” i.e. an ad made to look like editorial material is that it is obvious; people buy newspapers and magazines for the articles, not the ads (You can check out a great article written by David the ‘Duke of Marketing’ about Advertorials Here.  He even includes examples).

But, like all dogma, ain’t necessarily so.  For example, lots of people buy the Wednesday newspaper to get the supermarket coupons, buy the Friday or weekend newspaper to see the movie and nightclub ads (Yes, people still read the newspaper).  In analogy, people often go to national conventions more interested in the trade show than in the seminars, me included.


Anybody who has an ironclad rule about the most successful way to do something can be proven wrong.  I constantly violate one of the most respected direct response copywriter’s rule about the number of words for a headline.

The “A-pile mail” argument makes perfect sense, but I have beaten it in split-tests with teaser copy laden envelopes.  Not often.  But sometimes.  To conclude that the advertorial is the ad format that will always get the highest readership is wrong.  On the other hand, a lot of advertisers err in never using it – in space as well as in direct-mail.

I try to be careful about this; I know too much about what doesn’t work.  So, I try to be careful not to be dogmatic, or too quickly shut off a client’s idea.  I’ll say: I’ve never known ‘x’ to work, and I’ve certainly seen it not work, but let’s explore it from several different directions, including…..can it be easily and cheaply tested?  Is there a more reliable approach that will do just as well?  Is there enough benefit to balance the cost of experimenting? Etc.


Here’s the key point to keep in mind, whether contemplating different ads or FSI or direct-mail formats, headlines, photos, grabbers, etc.:  it can’t sell if it isn’t read.

The Big Lesson is – you have to WORK JUST AT GETTING IT READ

Not presume readership, which is what most people do.  Way, way, way too much advertising and mail is produced with a presumption of readership.  Actually, the opposite is the smarter approach; presuming every recipient will try NOT to read it.


….targeting.  My ‘message to market match’ principle.  But when you can’t target, when you must use mass media and fish from a very large lake, then you have to work even harder at getting people to bother reading your message.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up.  His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.  You can find out more about it by visiting www.NoBSMarketingLetter.com.

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