News & events

Context is king

The new kid on the block?

Back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”. Since then, his phrase has defined the strategies, approaches and tactics of companies across the globe.

A lot has happened since 1996. The advent of mobile devices has led to an explosion in content that consumers have access to with just a touch of a button. Faced with an oversaturation of content, context has become an added touch that creates real impact, needed to cut through noise. Many brands have used contextual placement to amplify their message, take a look at our gallery for some inspiration.

The business case for context is there, Newsworks has commissioned various studies that looks into the impact of context. 

One example is a brain science study called ‘Context Matters’, where neuroscience was used to explore whether ads in quality editorial environments are more effective by measuring brain responses. The study found that context and environment have a significant impact on how ads are processed and acted upon. The good news for news brands is that premium editorial sites and social media sites elicit complementary response patterns.


Newsworks' most recent study on context is The Hard News Project. The neuroscience research shows how avoiding hard news can actually be damaging to your brand and looks at the differences in responses between soft and hard news stories. The results indicated that there is no increased withdrawal from hard news. In fact, the research shows higher initial levels of brain activity for hard news as people get engaged with the story and a similar positive pay-off at the end. 

Context does matter and using it to your advantage can mean that digital spend becomes more effective and efficent. Check out more of our research around context.

Sam Hudson 14/08/19

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