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Summary: Newsworks & Magnetic team up to address the context crisis

Newsworks and Magnetic brought together speakers from publishers and agencies to explore what context means to them, the role or quality environments and balancing the metric mix, at an event hosted by Mediatel and sponsored by Rezonence on Wednesday (22 November).

With speakers including Manning Gottlieb OMD's Clare Peters, Total Media's Tom Laranjo, The Telegraph's Joanna Lawrence, Hearst's James Wildman and GroupM's Paul Rowlinson, subjects up for debate included:

Context = more than just environment

The word context gets used a lot in our industry, but what does it actually mean? In the first panel of the morning, Clare Peters, Manning Gottlieb OMD's executive director and head of planning, said that while context used to equate to environment, "it now means something completely different". For her, location, time and mind-set are now paramount. For example, an insight about the amount of money that people spend on their way home on a Friday evening stuck with her "because it's in that context that people are reading the paper... [the paper's] role was crystal clear for me". As well as focusing on quality and environment, she believes publishers need to consider the role they play in numerous different contexts.

Total Media's managing director Tom Laranjo believes that context is about understanding culture and group dynamics, adding that in a world where hyper-targeting is primary, "understanding the context in which your message will be seen supersedes all of that". However, "context is irrelevant if you haven’t got the structural fundamentals sorted" in a business, according to Publicis London's Dom Boyd.

Quality is in the eye of the beholder

When it comes to quality, Peters said that it's "based on mind-set and delivering against what I need at that time" i.e. a magazine is quality content when you're relaxing on a Sunday morning, but an online video about cats is quality when you're on the train after a drink on a Friday night. Meanwhile, for Boyd, quality equates to whether content has created a behavioural shift in the long-term.

Taking a platform specific view, delegate Adam Smith, GroupM's futures director, believes that a terminology change from published media to editorial media would differentiate publishers as producers of quality content, as opposed to third-party publishers. In a similar vein, Heart's CEO James Wildman described publisher brands as "rubies in the dust", due to the quality time their content offers readers in a world full of distractions.

Balancing short & long-term metrics

In the second panel of the morning, Paul Rowlinson, managing director, GroupM's digital, pointed out that "marketing directors are under a lot of pressure to deliver short-term results" and publishers need to be thinking within that framework.

This chimes with Peters' view, yet she also pointed out that there is starting to be a shift back to the medium and long-term metrics, amid "too much focus on what's going to happen now". Both Peters and Laranjo agree that different media contribute different elements to a media plan and it's planners' role to "sew it all together". As Peters' put it, when it comes to balancing different media and metrics, "It's about connecting the two things together, rather than one versus the other".

Bringing a newsbrand's perspective, Joanna Lawrence, The Telegraph's managing director of strategy and client development, highlighted the importance of publishers "understanding the metrics which matter to clients, in a way that is meaningful to them". She also pointed out the value of publishers as consumer facing brands. In her view, switching the conversation with advertisers to be more about brand to brand partnerships would be a positive way to get on the front foot.

Collaboration is key

Perhaps best summed up by Newsworks' insight director Denise Turner and Magnetic's head of insight Anna Sampson, collaboration was a recurring theme throughout the morning.

In a joint presentation, Turner and Sampson drew on past research studies to highlight the quality reach and engaged attention published media deliver, before debuting new analysis of the IPA databank by effectiveness expert Peter Field, building on our ongoing body of work.

The new findings show that published media are becoming more effective over time – providing an uplift in business effects of 67% for the six years ending 2016, up from 39% for the six years ending 2014. It also proves that newsbrands and magazines make a powerful combination for delivering new customers (see chart above). As Turner summed up: "Context facilitates brand discovery and therefore delivers new customers." The work is included in a new white paper, 'The power of context.' Download it here.

On a wider level, both Wildman and Rowlinson called for more industry collaboration, both among publishers and between agencies and publishers.

Read Mediatel's piece on the event here.

by Jessie Sampson 28/11/17

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