2019 - It's time for a change

2019 will be the year where audience-based planning supplants platform-centric planning, writes Newsworks' CEO Vanessa Clifford, in a piece first published by Mediatel

It's that time of year – the fairy lights are twinkling, Christmas is fast approaching and, over the next few weeks, we will all invariably pause to reflect on what the past year has bought. For the newsbrand industry, the biggest highlight of 2018 was the launch of PAMCo – our world-leading audience measurement system, which dissolves silos and allows advertisers to plan across newsbrands' massive reach of 24 million people daily and 40 million weekly. I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again, but for the doomongers out there, that's more people than newsbrands have ever reached at any point in history and proof of their huge relevance today.

The challenge now lies in how to effectively monetise this vast audience. Of course, there have already been developments on this front. Speaking at Mediatel's Publishers Conference last month, Essence's Clare Chapman said that "PAMCo is going to revolutionise the way we plan newsbrands... our planners are talking to clients about newsbrands in a different way to how they did last year". Mindsets are shifting and people are starting to consider how they can use PAMCo to reassess their planning.

So, with a new year on the horizon, I'm going to throw my hat into the annual predictions ring and say that 2019 will be the year where audience-based planning supplants platform-centric planning. With PAMCo allowing for a much more accurate understanding of newsbrands' audiences, the time for change is long overdue.

As an industry, it's up to all of us to review long-standing processes and structures if we want to get the most out of multi-platform media. Crucially, newsbrands aren't the only ones that stand to gain from a shift in media planning habits. Advertisers themselves are missing out on a massive £3 billion in campaign profit by underinvesting in newsbrands, according to Newsworks' 'Planning for Profit' study with Benchmarketing.

For advertisers, the key lies in understanding how to use newsbrands as an evolved media. Let's move away from focusing on circulation figures – an out of date measurement, which fuels a narrative of decline – and embrace the possibilities newsbrands' multi-platform reach offers.

By understanding how audiences engage with newsbrands as a whole, rather than focusing on individual platforms, advertisers would automatically be placing context at the heart of their campaigns and tapping into the resulting benefits – not least of which would be consumers being served timely, relevant ads that make sense within the environment in which they are viewed.

Adopting this outlook supports the re-evaluation of context as a fundamental aspect of media planning. There is a growing awareness that grabbing eyeballs regardless of where they are isn't a formula for success. The benefits of being in the right context – beyond just a 'safe' environment – are manifold. Newsworks' research with GroupM proves that quality online environments are 42% more cost-effective for advertisers than the open exchange, while Lumen's work shows that being in an engaged newsbrand environment massively impacts on attention rates, which is further enhanced by being around content that is relevant to the advertising.

Ultimately, to realise these goals, structural changes are needed. At the moment, process tensions are undermining where the industry can, and should, be. Agencies' siloed structures are stunting joined up thinking rather than reflecting the fluid way in which people consume all media today. For advertisers and newsbrands, joining these dots is a crucial development in effectively monetising the combined, cross-platform offering.

At Newsworks, we've gone some way to providing the evidence to underpin and support the industry's evolution, and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, publishers are also working to facilitate more straightforward buying systems via initiatives such as The Ozone Project, PATS and Impact. Continuing in this vein can only lead to benefits for agencies, publishers and advertisers – with brands benefiting from engaged audiences, quality context and increased profits, while simultaneously investing in the vibrant news eco-system we all rely on.

First published by Mediatel

As an industry, it's up to all of us to review long-standing processes and structures if we want to get the most out of multi-platform media.

Vanessa Clifford, CEO, Newsworks
by Vanessa Clifford 17/12/18

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