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Oversized vs Standard Postcards: Find the Perfect Postcard Size

Oversized postcards or standard postcards? Make the right choice for your postcard campaign with our ultimate guide.

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

Choosing between oversized postcards and standard postcards can significantly impact your direct mail marketing campaign’s effectiveness. Oversized postcards offer more space for creative design and impactful messaging, making them attention-grabbing in a recipient’s mailbox. However, they may incur relatively higher postage costs and require more space to handle and store. On the other hand, standard postcards are more cost-effective for large-scale mailings and easier to handle but offer limited space for information. The choice of postcard format depends on your budget, campaign goals, and the message you want to convey to your target audience.

The Oversized Postcard Size

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 mailer to produce: Standard vs oversized postcard. What size is a postcard? To understand the postcard sizes, explore this section.

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. A 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. Every Door Direct Mail Postcard Sizes:

    The oversized postcard sizes 6.25” x 9” and 6” x 11 are EDDM-eligible postcards, meaning they qualify for bulk postcard mailing options 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 Postcard Vs Oversized Postcard

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 about the standard postcard, we noted that postcards are easy to read and 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 send a simple reminder using variable data imaging to include the recipient’s personal vehicle information. Included on the back are two coupons for the service they are being reminded of and a short note letting them know a few different paths 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 their required level of supporting details. In most cases, little education is required when dealing with a past customer because they already have experience with 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

The USPS (U.S. Postal Service) offers several “Classes” of mail. Each class of mail offers its own set of benefits, requirements, and postcard postage rates. Below we’ve discussed a few mailing options available in the U.S. market.

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 postcard mailing 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; 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 postcard 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. Click below to start your postcard campaign and increase your ROI today!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What size of postcard is the most effective?

A: 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? 

A: 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: Oversized postcard sizes include 5.5”x8. 5,” 6”x9”, 6.25”x9”, and 6”x11” with a mailing rate of $0.55.

Q. Do oversized postcards require extra postage?

A: Oversized postcards often require additional postage as they may exceed standard size limits set by postal services. It is essential to check with your local postal service for specific size and weight guidelines to determine the correct postage for oversized postcards.

Q. How much does it cost to send an oversized postcard overseas?

A: The cost to send an oversized postcard overseas varies depending on the destination and USPS postal service charges. Typically, it will cost more than sending a standard-sized postcard due to the larger dimensions and potentially higher postage rates for international mail.

Q. How much postage is required for an oversized postcard?

A: The postage for an oversized postcard depends on its size and weight. For more details, visit here.

Q. What is the size of a Jumbo postcard?

A: A Jumbo postcard typically measures 6 inches by 11 inches, making it significantly larger than standard postcards. For accurate sizes, click here.

Q. What’s the largest oversized postcard size?

A: Jumbo postcards have the largest oversized postcard size, offering ample space for impactful visuals and detailed messaging.

Q. What are the different direct mail postcard sizes?

A: USPS postcard sizes are available here.

Q. What are the disadvantages of an oversized postcard?

A: Oversized postcards may incur higher postage costs due to size and weight. They might also be more challenging to handle and store than standard-sized postcards.