ThinkNewsBrands

Premium news content influences Australians every day creating an unmissable opportunity for brands to engage, inform and inspire. ThinkNewsBrands shows you how.

Busting the myths of news reader engagement

News is a fundamental part of the day for many Australians, with more than 10 million people engaging with news on any given day, online and in print.

But despite its strong reach, conventional wisdom has held that news brands may not provide advertisers with a strong environment for fostering engagement.

To test this and other myths, news brand advocacy group ThinkNewsBrands conducted in-depth research to determine news brands’ ability to drive purchase propensity and build brands, with the results explored in-depth at a recent webinar conducted by CMO Australia.

Incredible reach and frequency

During the webinar, the General Manager of ThinkNewsBrands, Vanessa Lyons, explained that news brands reach more than 10 million Australians on any given day and 18.2 million readers over a month, equating to 95 per cent of the population aged 14 and over.

And contrary to perceptions that news is a channel for older Australians, readership data shows an even demographic spread including the hard to reach 14-to-34-year-old age bracket. 

Furthermore, news readership is growing, having risen from 16.8 million in December 2017 to 18.2 million today.

A channel for engagement

To test news brands’ engagement, ThinkNewsBrands contracted respected researcher Dr Duane Varan from audience insights lab MediaScience to undertake the most comprehensive research exercise of its kind. 

More than 5500 Australians were selected to participate in the study, which was designed to test three different stages of memory – recognition, prompted recall, and unprompted recall. The study featured advertisements from seven brands across 11 media, including special print news runs in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

The resulting study, The Benchmark Series: The Powerful Impact of Placement, found multiple results that demonstrated the power of news brands to create strong engagement.

Firstly, the study found that ads places in news brands had 2.2-times better recall than those placed across the run of the internet, with 120 per cent better unprompted recall. This resulted in a 44 per cent better brand lift for news as opposed to run-of-internet advertising.

The impact for light category users was even more pronounced, with news brands outperforming run-of-internet advertising by 171 per cent for unprompted recall, with 175 per cent better brand lift.

For print publications specifically, participants were 8.5 times more likely to remember an ad than across total online media.

Dr Varan said these results highlighted the strength of engagement created by news channels.

“News puts you in a state where you are activating your cognitive resources, and processing the information in a very active way,” he said.

Impact in the real world

The value of news brands in driving engagement is well understood among many advertisers.

During the webinar, the Director of Product and Marketing at Nissan Australia, Geraldine Davys, said this research was important in helping her and Nissan’s media planners know where to direct advertising spend.

“For us, it is always about building consideration,” Davys said. “So we are constantly using news from a digital and a print perspective across many campaigns.”

For the meal kit company Marley Spoon, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer Kate Whitney said news media presented an ideal contextual placement opportunity with an engaged audience.

“We are moving away from particular programs and titles to contextually-relevant advertising space,” Whitney said. “From five o’clock onwards people start thinking about dinner, but if they are not in a ‘lean in’ moment in the media component, that might not have the ‘slap across the face’ I need.”

A live poll conducted during the webinar also found that 35 per cent of attendees would consider placing more media spend in news media channels to drive awareness, while 42 per cent would do so to drive consideration, and 23 per cent to drive conversion.

According to Lyons, the research definitively concludes that news brands present a distinctive and contextually relevant way of addressing changing consumer trends by offering brands a unique blend of visibility, recall, trust, and impact, and showed how news brands could be relevant and appropriate across each part of the funnel. 

“Depending on what you are trying to achieve, it does have relevancy,” she said. “And the research shows there is impact and relevancy across the board.”

Get the full story. Download The Benchmark Series here.

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