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Denise Turner is Insight Director at Newsworks. She talked to us about Peter Field’s study of the IPA Databank he undertook to try to understand how the effectiveness of newsbrands was faring in the digital world. Denise will be speaking at the Audience, Analytics and Insight satellite event on 11 October during EffWeek.

In a world of limitless advertising opportunities, businesses have to make more decisions than ever about how they target their messages to consumers. Those decisions should be made on the basis of robust evidence, demonstrating the pros and cons of different options.

Often though, they aren’t. Instead decisions are taken on the basis of incomplete or short-term evidence, or indeed on gut instinct alone.

At the same time there is an ever-growing bank of evidence calling into question pre-dispositions towards short-term measures and strategies, predominantly digital in nature. People are beginning to take stock of the idea that we need to level the playing field.

The need for measurement of communications has never been greater.

Here at Newsworks, we have been working to provide evidence that covers both the short-term and the long-term. Among this body of evidence is a detailed analysis of the IPA databank by Peter Field, which sits alongside the recent publication Media in Focus, providing more detailed insight into newsbrands.

His work reveals three truths about newsbrands.

1. Print is still an effective medium

It’s no secret that newspaper print circulations have declined. But does decreasing scale mean a decline in effectiveness?

In fact, Peter Field’s latest analysis of the IPA databank for Newsworks shows that the effectiveness of print as a whole is growing over time, and across key business measures. Just as growing digital numbers don’t translate to heightened impact on brand business results, lower circulations are not affecting the effectiveness of newsbrands.

Chart showing that Newsbrands are becoming more effective

There is often an assumption that digital channels are most appropriate for bringing in new customers, especially those trendy digital natives who apparently don’t watch, listen to or read “traditional media”. In fact, the data shows that print is increasingly effective at delivering new customers to brand advertisers. Campaigns including print were 39% more effective at delivering new customers than campaigns without print in the six years ending 2004. This rose to a hefty 67% differential in the six years to 2016. This is also apparent for other “legacy media” – as digital media expands, TV, newspapers and the like are actually working harder in the media mix.

2. Digital newsbrands deserve their premium

Over the last 20 years, we have seen the advance of digital and the increasing digitisation of all media. The advent of digital has brought many advances, including more content, greater access to that content and additionally many different means of doing so. The challenge for advertisers is to work out where their brands should be and with which content they should be placed alongside to deliver the best results.

According to Peter Field’s study, those advertisers harnessing digital newsbrands see a marked rise in sales compared with non-users.

But, when it comes to digital newsbrands, this is only part of the story. Field’s Databank study clearly shows that more and more advertisers are using them for long-term campaigns (more than six months in duration), and this is resulting in added business effectiveness in long-term brand measures such as market share, price sensitivity, loyalty, customer acquisition, and profit.

chart showing that digital newsbrands are very effective at driving sales

So, why are they so effective? It’s all about context and digital newsbrands’ ability to provide attention in a quality environment. We know from projects such as ‘The company you keep’ – a piece of research Newsworks carried out with Conquest – that regular newsbrand readers have a strong connection to their newsbrand of choice. This creates a ‘brand context’ effect, with high engagement, trust and personal identification. The context effect is stronger for newsbrands than for digital natives on measures like brand love, buzz and consideration.

Newsworks’ ‘The battle for attention’ research with PwC also found digital newsbrands outperforming the likes of other commercial news websites and social media on attention measures. Additionally, recent eye-tracking research conducted by Lumen Research found that digital newsbrands provide a superior environment for ad viewing, with double the viewing time per page than non-newsbrands sites and 60% higher viewable time for ads.

The benefit to advertisers is that time spent on newsbrand sites is more valuable, as viewable time is converted to actual ad views more effectively.

3. Newsbrands drive long-term business effects

We know that there has been an increasing trend towards short-termism. One of the key contributors to this has been the rise of digital, with its instant numbers and real-time trackability. However, we know from the IPA Databank work that UK newsbrands have a unique advantage – both print and digital platforms perform very well in delivering these important business effects, but the combination of print and digital formats provides advertisers with a very strong multiplier effect. UK newsbrands are a powerful weapon in the battle against short-termism, because they deliver growth in very large business effects that are vital to long-term brand success, especially the all-important profit metric.

Chart showing that multi-platform newsbrands are delivering widespread business effects

Ultimately, it makes sense to look at the evidence, take both long and short-term metrics into account and challenge assumptions about what certain media can do. In a world where there is more content competing for people’s attention than ever before, reaching an attentive audience at the right time and in the right place is priceless.

Buy tickets for #EffWeek 2017.

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Effectiveness Week 2016

“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA