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Which is Better, Oversized Postcards vs Standard Postcards

Part of our series where we seek to uncover the most effective direct mail postcard formats, templates, sizes, dimensions as well as postcard postage rates for your specific marketing objectives.

Finding the right Postcards for your direct mail marketing campaign can be challenging. When determining which postcard to use, it’s crucial to thoughtfully consider your marketing budget and needs. For instance, if your call-to-action requires little information about your brand, and you want to make a graphic splash in the mailbox, an oversized postcard might just be your #1 choice for your campaign. But if you have a nominal message to convey, a standard postcard size (4” x 6” or 5” x 7”) can do wonders. In a nutshell, the message is paramount and dictates the size of your postcard mailer.

The Oversized Postcard, Defined

If our first article in the Format Series convinced you that a postcard is the perfect format for your mail campaign, now’s the time to consider what size postcard to produce-Standard vs oversized postcard.

We covered standard postcards already, which are defined as a rectangular card that falls within these dimensions:

  • At least 3-1/2” high x 5” long x 0.007” thick
  • No more than 4-1/2” high x 6” long x 0.016” thick
oversized postcard size

oversized postcard template
oversized postcard
Postcard Templates & Designs Samples

Now we’ll discuss the oversized postcard, which is any flat card, without an envelope or a fold, which falls above these dimensions for a standard postcard.

Oversized postcards, are considered by the Postal Service to be letters, until they surpass these dimensions, which qualify them as a flat:

  • 6-1/8” x 11-1/2” x ¼” thick

Common sizes for oversized postcards

oversized postcard dimensions
Postcard Dimensions and Direct Mail Sizes
  1. 5.5” x 8.5” Postcards:  If you want to visualize the size of this oversized postcard, fold a loose-leaf paper (8.5” x 11”) in half. 5.5” x 8.5” Postcard is a perfect oversized postcard if you want to  include a decent amount of design elements  while still being relatively small.
  2. 6” x 9” Postcards: 6” x 9” size postcard is most effective for direct mail due to its larger size and affordable price. Whether you want to promote a sale, send a message or invitation to your audience, or introduce your brand, a 6” x 9” postcard is the perfect pick. The USPS offers a “Postcard Commingling” service that allows you to send as many postcards as you want at “presort pricing”.
  3. 6” x 11” Postcards: These are the largest-sized postcard available in the market. 6” x 11” postcards give ample space to market your brand and say what your company has to offer. Despite being a jumbo-sized postcard, it’s cost-effective as you would spend the exact same postage for a 6” x 11” postcard as you would for a 5.5” x 8.5” postcard. If you want your oversized postcard to stand out, try designing it in portrait style instead of landscape. This can help your postcard stand out even more!
  4. EDDM Postcard Sizes: The oversize postcard sizes:  6.25” x 9” and 6” x 11 are EDDM eligible postcards, meaning they qualify for bulk mailing option that allow your company to reach potential customers without knowing their address and who live in a certain ZIP code or carrier route.

What’s the Best Postcard Size For Direct Mail: Standard vs. Oversized Postcards?

Standard Postcard Size Vs Oversized Postcard Size
Choose the Right Postcard Size For Your Marketing Campaign 

Studies show that prospects are 15% more likely to respond to an oversized mail piece if they have never done business with you, but there are also a few other things to consider when determining postcard mailer size.

In our discussion around the standard postcard, we noted that postcards are easy to read—and equally easy to throw away. If your call-to-action is quickly communicated and doesn’t require a separate reply function, postcards could be a cheap revenue driver for you.

So the answer lies in your messaging. How concise can you be? Is a brief or a detailed approach going to be more effective in getting your desired response?

standard postcard dimensions
4.25 x 6” postcard

Consider, for example, the postcard pictured here, sent by Dunn Tire. This postcard makes sense as a standard 4.25 x 6” card because the company clearly has an established relationship with the recipient. Here they are sending a simple reminder, using variable data imaging and inkjet addressing to include the recipient’s personal vehicle information. Included on the back are two coupons for the service of which they are being reminded, and a short note letting them know a few different paths they can take to schedule their appointment at their convenience.

oversized postcard
6 x 9” postcard

Contrast this messaging and objective with that of the oversized postcard pictured. This 6 x 9” postcard went out to prospective members of a senior healthcare program. As you can see, the purpose of the larger size was not to include more graphics; the marketer kept it simple with just one feature image and a short testimonial. The extra space came in handy, though, as the card details all the benefits of the program, as well as a very clear call-to-action and response mechanism: a phone number.

The difference between the two objectives we see here is the level of supporting details they require. In most cases dealing with a past customer, little education is required because they already have an experience of your brand. However when approaching new customers, more product/service features may help move the recipient toward taking the desired action.

The table below shows some of the common postcard mailer sizes, dimensions, and uses.

Postcard SizesUS Size (Inches)When To Use It
Standard Postcard4″ x 6″Standard postcard is used widely with enough room for the basics.
Standard Plus Postcard5″ x 7″These oversized postcards are popular for including a piece of more information and a CTA.
Detail Postcard5.5″ x 8.5″Another oversized postcard with a size that properly captures detail. It is ideal for showing off a high-quality image featuring your products or services.
Large Postcard Mailer Size6″ x 9″Commonly used oversized postcards for including a CTA alongside flashy graphics with some details.
Extra Large Postcard Size6.5″ x 9.5″Include anything from quality graphics to product or service details, and a call to action
Jumbo Postcard Size6″ x 11″The jumbo postcard size is a full sheet of paper worth of advertising space. Enough space to include a ton of information and details, photos, graphics, and much more!

Standard vs Oversized Postcard Postage Rate

This mailing service is treated as the most important mail, hence the name “First Class”, which usually gets delivered to the recipients within 1-5 business days. But in relation to the other mails, this costs a little higher with a mailing rate ranging from $0.40-$1.16. Though it’s commonly used for single-piece mailing, first class offers a non-presort option, and to receive “Presort” pricing for which you will need to mail at least 500 pieces.

First Class Mail:

This mailing service is treated as the most important mail, hence the name “First Class”, which usually gets delivered to the recipients within 1-5 business days. But in relation to the other mails, this costs a little higher with a mailing rate ranging from $0.40-$1.16. Though it’s commonly used for single-piece mailing, first class offers a non-presort option, and to receive “Presort” pricing for which you will need to mail at least 500 pieces.

Standard Mail:

Standard Mail or Marketing Mail is commonly used for bulk marketing purposes because it is cheaper than First Class Mail. Unless you have a deadline to meet, this type of direct mail can save a considerable amount of money for your business. The USPS gives Standard Mail a lower priority, and therefore the delivery time ranges from 3 to 21 days. The U.S. postal service offers a major discount on the standard mail, if you are a nonprofit (as verified by the IRS).

EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail)

Every Door Direct Mail is cheaper than regular standard mail making it a very cost-effective option that allows you to send mail pieces to entire postal routes at a time. The USPS has set a limit of sending 5,000 mail pieces per day at any 5-digit ZIP code. The delivery range for EDDM varies from 2 to 15 days. Like Standard mail, the USPS offers discounted EDDM rates from Nonprofit Organizations.

Key Takeaways With Oversized Postcards

  • Oversized postcards qualify for letter postage rates as opposed to postcard postage rates.*With presorted standard postage rates, oversized postcards can still be less than full postcard rates, depending on the mailing list.
  • If your call-to-action requires a number of supporting details, such as product features, testimonials, images or pricing, the extra space offered by an oversized postcard may be necessary.
  • Oversize Postcards are the most efficient way to create highly-customized mailers to have high-impact marketing for a relatively low investment.
  • The larger size means more room to make a graphical impact in the mailbox.

Now that you have understood how oversized & standard postcards differ, you’re ready to choose the right one that fits your direct mail marketing campaign. You must also ensure that the post card aligns with the data security guidelines of your direct mail campaigns. Click below to start your postcard campaign and increase your ROI today!

Finding the right format is about understanding your objective: if your call-to-action requires a little supporting information about your brand and you want to make a graphic splash in the mailbox, an oversized postcard might just be your #1 choice in format for your mail campaign.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What size of postcard is the most effective?

Postcards are available in many sizes. The ideal size of the postcard for your campaign relies on the type of campaign, the message that customers will receive, and the overall budget of a campaign.

Q. What are the different types of postcards? 

Below is a rundown of different types of postcards and how to maximize ROI on your next direct mail campaign.

  • Standard Postcard: The standard postcard is the most cost-effective size and is a perfect pick for budget-friendly campaigns. The standard postcard sizes include 4”x6,” 4.25”x6”, and 5”x7” with a mailing rate of approximately $0.40.
  • Oversized Postcard: Oversize postcards sizes include 5.5”x8. 5,” 6”x9”, 6.25”x9”, and 6”x11” with a mailing rate of $0.55.