Why Advertising on Thermal Paper Works

When it comes to selecting an effective media vehicle to advertise a product or service, marketers consider the following essential criteria:

  • The vehicle’s ability to reach the company’s target customer
  • It’s capacity to grab the customer’s attention
  • It’s ability to convey one’s messaging to a large number of customers
  • The cost-effectiveness of the media channel and likelihood of delivering a favorable ROI

Most retailers, and financial institutions, focus their advertising efforts on media channels that exist outside the store environment, such as television, magazines, radio, outdoor billboards, and the internet. While these channels tend to reach a large number of people, they can be extremely expensive, and are hard to measure their return on investment.

There is a far more affordable and effective advertising vehicle available to retailers and financial institutions, however, which can easily be measured to determine its ROI: the thermal paper receipt.

The Advantages of Advertising on Thermal Paper Receipts

When shopping at a retail store, or conducting business at a credit union or bank, customers expect to leave with a paper receipt. This transaction has been engrained over time. The familiarity of receiving a receipt makes it a prime vehicle for delivering a marketing or promotional message.

Other benefits of advertising on thermal paper include:

  • It is about as targeted of a media vehicle as you can get, as the customer is already aware of you and receptive to purchasing your products and/or services.
  • Most customer look closely at their receipt to make sure it’s accurate, which means you have their undivided attention.
  • Many customers will hold onto their receipt for future reference, giving your ad message an extended shelf life and the opportunity for repeat viewing.
  • The receipt can be used as a promotional device, like a coupon, which allows you to measure the campaign response and ROI.

The Efficiencies of Advertising on Thermal Paper  

Purchasing thermal paper is an expected cost of doing business for almost all retailers and financial institutions. And the cost of custom printing is nominal. So, the incremental expense to custom print an ad on the back of a thermal paper receipt is marginal compared to what the operator would already have to pay for stock paper.

On average, the incremental cost to custom print an ad on the back of stock paper can run as low as $6.25 per roll. And each roll can deliver approximately 6,250 advertising impressions. That’s a $1 CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions, the standard unit for measuring media). As you can see below, a $1 CPM is much lower than you’ll find among any of the more traditional media channels.

Advertising CPM Comparison

  • Network TV: $28
  • Print: $17
  • Cable: $12
  • Radio: $10
  • Out-Of-Home: $5
  • Online: $2
  • Custom ATM Receipts: $1

A CPM is the approximate cost to deliver 1,000 advertising impressions to a specified audience.

In addition to media efficiency, advertisers will also want to know how effective thermal paper advertising can be. Custom printed receipt ads are the easiest to measure a response against as the advertiser can supply something tangible for the customer to redeem. According to leading manufacturers, receipt advertisers have achieved response rates of 10 percent and higher for their campaigns, far exceeding the 1-2 percent success rates of most direct mail campaigns, and at little-to-no incremental cost.


Advertising on thermal paper receipts is one of the most effective and cost efficient ways for retailers and FIs to deliver a custom ad message to a highly specified target audience.

If you are interested in advertising on ATM paper or POS paper, feel free to contact us to discuss our low custom printing costs for thermal paper. We can also help develop marketing strategies for your next campaign.