Color Ads Increase Readership Up to 28 Percent; Increase Sales, Studies Show

The use of color advertisements in specialized business and consumer publications pays off in increased readership and sales volume, according to studies conducted by the Cahners Publishing Company, the Advertising Research Foundation and the Association of Business Publishers.

The Cahners Publishing Company examined the use of 65,752 half-page or larger ads in 16 Cahners business and consumer publications from 1972 to 1986. Surveys were conducted by mail among a random sampling of 300-550 readers per issue, for a total of 288,000 readers.

The study showed that 54 percent of respondents remembered seeing four-color spread ads, compared with 42 percent who recalled the black and white ads. Forty-three percent of the respondents recalled seeing one-page, three- and four-color ads and 34 percent said they remembered the one page, two-color ads. This compares with 32 percent who said they remembered the one-page, black and white ads.

In another study, the Advertising Research Foundation and the Association of Business Publishers concluded that color can have a positive impact on sales.

The study tracked black and white advertisements for a portable safety product over the course of three years in a specialized business magazine. Only black and white ads were scheduled to run in a low advertising cell for the product. However, a mistake resulted in the appearance of the ad, product sales climbed dramatically. The study showed a 180 percent increase in sales at the end of the campaign following the insertion error.

Although color advertising requires more production time and therefore is more costly, advertisers should carefully consider the important role it plays.





Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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