Is Advertising a Fixed Or Variable Cost? (Answered)

With the cost of advertising changing so often, you might wonder is advertising a fixed or variable cost. Even though ad costs can vary a lot, they are not considered a variable cost. Once you have the answer, you can more effectively allocate funds for advertising and look for strategies for reducing costs while enhancing your performance.

Advertising is a fixed expense — something that remains constant no matter how many products or services you provide to consumers.

It’s important to keep track of and budget for expenses when running a business. Management can predict future budgets if they have a good handle on costs. Learn more by reading on.

What Are Advertising Costs?

Is there a set price for advertising? Let’s examine what makes up advertising costs before we respond to that question.

Although there is no formal definition for advertising costs, these costs typically add up to a total sum spent on promoting a business, organization, brand, item, or service. Costs associated with advertising typically fall under sales or general and administrative (SG&A) expenses. On the balance sheet, advertising costs are frequently listed as prepaid expenses before moving to the income statement and being included in sales revenue.

For example, if a company launches a direct mail campaign with the goal of increasing sales, the cost of running the campaign is very likely to be recorded as an asset, or prepaid expense. Expenses that were previously listed as prepaid expenses will now be reclassified in the books as advertising costs as soon as customers begin responding to the campaign.

In the books, advertising is generally written off as a current expense, but some of it actually represents an investment in goodwill. However, there are a few ways to figure out how much it will cost for advertisements.

Let us look into some of them:

1. The Percentage of Sales Approach:

The most manageable strategy is the percentage of sales strategy. With this approach, marketers start with the previous year’s sales revenue. Marketers project sales for the following year using the chosen base. The cost of advertising is thus considered to be a certain proportion of the anticipated sales. This method bases advertising on sales revenue, which leads to a budget that is more reliant on funding sources than market opportunities.

2. The All-you-can Afford Approach

The organization contributes a sizeable sum to advertising—almost as much as it can afford—as the straightforward and self-explanatory name for this strategy suggests. This strategy seems more practical for businesses willing to invest in advertising for a growing company to spread out while setting a reasonable cap on the cost incurred for advertising.

3. The Return on Investment Approach:

With this strategy, we treat advertising as a capital expenditure as opposed to a conventional current expense. While advertising has a dual impact on boosting current-year sales and creating future goodwill. The relationship between advertising and sales is primarily highlighted by the return on investment strategy. A rate-of-return that serves as the foundation for an advertising budget is calculated by comparing the revenue from sales with and without advertising from the previous year.

4. The Objective and Task Approach:

The Objective and Task Approach, also referred to as the research objective method, became popular during the Second World War. Through the determination of tasks and specific objectives, marketers who use this method create their promotion budgets. Although the Objective and Task Approach is an improvement over the percentage of sales approach, it requires the management to explicitly state its assumption about the relationship between the amount spent, exposure level, trial rates, and regular usage.

Read More: Why Do People Advertise?

Is Advertising a Fixed Cost?

So, is advertising a fixed expense after all? Your overall marketing plan includes advertising as one of the components. Despite the fact that businesses have a set marketing budget, they can set aside a specific amount for advertising.


In order to succeed, businesses must spend money on advertising, whether it be print or online. To expand a business and attract more clients, it is a crucial investment. It is current because raising awareness, keeping it up, attracting new customers, and reminding them of your business are ongoing tasks.

Online advertising has the great advantage of allowing you to select your spending limit and gain valuable information about your target market. Your company can benefit from the numerous targeting options and campaign objectives available in digital advertising.

Classifying Advertising Expenses

Variable expenses, as opposed to fixed expenses, adjust frequently in direct proportion to shifting or fluctuating production levels or sales volumes. Paid search advertisements and the costs associated with print advertising are two examples of expenses related to advertising. Subcategories of the main budget categories may be included in variable expenses.

In order to meet changing business needs and stay within a budgetary allotment, many business owners frequently adjust subsets. Your marketing budget should include expenses for advertising, which you can categorize as variable costs.

An income statement’s SG&A expense (sales, general, and administrative) category is typically where advertising costs are found. Your ability to internalize your advertising costs as assets or liabilities will depend on how you define the outcome of effective advertising.

Read More: What Is Product Advertising?

Marketing Vs. Advertising

Many business owners make the error of assuming that marketing and advertising are interchangeable. Despite the fact that one form of marketing is advertising, they are not.

You can consistently attract new customers using other marketing strategies without needing to invest in advertising. In order to connect with customers when they are most prepared to make a purchase, search engine optimization (SEO), for instance, draws clients who are already looking for your product or service on Google.

Establishing SEO takes time; you have to work for a spot on Google’s first page of search results. Once you’ve achieved it, though, you’ll be able to advertise much less while still bringing in customers and qualified leads on a regular basis. This can greatly increase your profitability and speed up your growth.

Combining Advertising and Other Marketing Methods

Combining advertising, which can result in immediate gains, with long-term marketing strategies like SEO is the best strategy for any small business. Your brand and online presence will become more established over time, enabling you to expand your company.

The best part is that as you shift away from spending money on advertising, you’ll save. Advertising is expensive, and the moment you stop spending money on it, your exposure disappears. That’s not how SEO works; once you achieve a position, you can keep it without continually spending money on advertisements.

We can assist you with striking a balance between SEO and advertising. Numerous small businesses have found success thanks to Local SEO Search’s assistance in creating a strong online presence and connecting with customers who are prepared to make purchases. Call us right away for a free consultation!

Related Post: Is Advertising Expense An Asset?


Is Insurance a Fixed Or Variable Cost?

They are fixed costs.

Is Shipping a Fixed Or Variable Cost?

Shipping or delivery costs are often variable costs directly tied to the volume of sales and production.

Is Sales Commission a Fixed Or Variable Cost?

It belongs to variable costs. Since they can be changed quickly, variable costs are typically thought of as short-term costs.

Is Packaging a Variable Cost?

The packaging costs associated with a product would be a variable cost since the packaging costs would increase as sales increased.

Final Words on Advertising Costs

Knowing the answer to “Is advertising a variable cost?” can help you budget for this important part of your business.

Regardless of how much your business expands, you have control over how much advertising you do, so you can choose your ads wisely.

Read More:

Author: Ada Parker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.