As the name suggests, the rate card is a card showing the rates. It is defined as a document that contains descriptions about the price for the placement options listed in it. It generally belongs to a particular service sector like print and broadcast media outlets where the advertising rates are printed in it.
Meaning of a rate card
Rate card lists ad prices, but it is not the fixed price sheet. It signifies the maximum amount of money that an individual has to shed for that option. In most cases, companies offer various incentives and discounts to lure in customers. Another reason for providing discounts is that the advertising agency wants to sell the unused space even at a lower rate than it had earlier fixed.
The rate card acts as a promotional as well as a negotiation tool as it encourages customers to bargain about the prices so that they can pay significantly less than the listed prices.
Rate cards are also considered guiding force as the actual charges vary as per the bargaining power of an individual or a company he is representing. The stability of the rates written on the rate card is dependent upon the demand and supply conditions in the market.
A rate card has details about additional fees, deadline details, artwork requirements, and demographic information. It also includes information about the size and type of ads and features offered by the publication house to the advertiser.
The rates vary and depend upon the type of advertising like retail advertising or classified ads. The larger the publication more is the information on the rate card and vice-versa.
Understanding a rate card
Newspapers have a rate card that gives details about the type and size of advertisement it will feature and the rates applicable for each option. The rates vary for national ads, retail advertising, and classified ads. It is the rate card that assists the advertiser to understand the terms and conditions which are being provided by the publishing house.
The prices are not fixed on the rate card and are subjected to change via bargaining. If there is a conflict between the rate card and the insertion order, then the rates quoted on the rate card is considered as the deciding factor.
If a person or a business entity is interested in placing an advertisement in a particular publication, it should call their office or check their website and ask for a current copy of the rate card. Besides the usual rates and demographics, some of the rate cards also offer details about their circulation and readership.
The advertiser can now know about the number of magazines or newspapers that are printed and distributed by the publisher daily. They become aware of the actual number of people who read the paper in that place. This is why an advertiser prefers to look at both the circulation and readership to understand the point up to which he can bargain on the prices listed on the rate card
On the rate card, an advertiser will come across the word frequency discount. It signifies the best discount for the display ads. These might be for every week for 52 weeks or a shorter period of 26-week or 13-week. The publisher also offers open rates and these are without discounts on the rate card. This rate signifies the amount charged for running a one-time and single ad in the newspaper or magazine. The publication also offers bulk space contract rates in its rate card. It signifies the rate that is applicable for a specific number of ads within a particular time.
Different publications use different mechanical measurements for the ad spaces. The three common terms are
- Standard advertising unit – the term standard advertising unit signifies as size that is generally accepted in different newspapers. This is a standard size and was created so that an advertiser can place the same ad several papers without making any adjustments as per the column specifications
- Column inch – The term column inch in the rate card of a publishing house signifies primary space measurement. It includes one inch deep and one column wide and generally varies from one publication house to another
- Pica – It is a typographic unit that is used for measurement for instance 6 pica= 1-inch and 12 points = 1 pica
Advantages of a rate card
The numerous advantages of using a rate card are as follows-
- The rate card offers information about the prices that one has to pay for a particular option
- It acts as a promotional tool for its company as it lures in customers
- It draws a baseline that enables a customer to pick it up and bargain about the actual price from there
- It is a tool that helps the advertiser to compare the prices of different publishing houses and decide which one will suit his pockets