Multi-platform research

Insight and analysis into the roles of multi-platform newsbrands in delivering effective advertising.

Be smart about smartphones

Be smart about smartphones analyses news brand reading behaviour tracked on smartphones over three months and explores how young people specifically weave news brands into their 24/7 mobile lives. We challenge assumptions, provide detailed insight into the smartphone day on news brands and suggest five key ways that will help clients and agencies to optimise campaign engagement.

Mobile matters. 36 million UK adults own a smartphone and on average spend two hours and four minutes on their smartphone every day. Mobile adspend was £7.2 billion in 2014 and is still rising rapidly.

News brands reached 25 million people in the UK in August 2015 – that's 85% of the total active smartphone audience - and 44% of these are aged 18-34, according to comScore. A massive 91% of 18-24 smartphone users, and 92% of 25-34 users, accessed news brands.

Against this background, Newsworks partnered with YouGov to explore patterns of reading among 1,242 readers of news brand websites or apps between April and July 2015, using tracked data to get a true picture (people are really bad at recalling the intricacies of mobile behaviour as they move seamlessly between activities). In parallel, we commissioned Lieberman Research Worldwide to conduct blogging research among 13 young smartphone readers to get a deeper day-by-day picture of news brands' role and values on smartphones.

News brands are successfully connecting with a large, young audience on smartphones and provide a relevant and accepted context for brand communications, provided some key guidelines are understood.

Five principles for engaging the smartphone news brand audience

1. Choose your moment

  • The key times of day for reach and engagement on newspaper websites are 9am, 11am, 7pm and then from 10pm until midnight
  • App sessions are longer, with reach peaks from 8-9am, and 6pm, and highest time spent at 10am
  • The vast majority of mobile reading is in a fixed location using wi-fi, but beware of being greedy about time and data for ads at lunchtime, when around a third of readers are roaming

"A lot of time, during the day, I will be clicking on and off the app, reading different articles which could take half an hour to an hour, and sometimes for only five to 10 minutes."

2. Prime your audience

  • Smartphone news brand readers make significantly more visits to all major advertising categories than non-readers: 12 times more likely to visit Food & Drink sites, 21 times more likely to visit Motors sites
  • Newspapers are the digital bookend for the day, setting the context for the day and the things to sleep on
  • News brand campaigns prime readers for brands through both brand building and direct response

"I'd like digital marketing to be smarter…. I love fashion so this advert is perfect for my interest. It's related to somewhere I can shop for clothes so would definitely interest me - I love clothes shopping!"

3. Enter their world

  • Millennials live in a narrated world. The background to their lives is an on-going multi-dimensional and multi-media conversation
  • Smartphones fulfil key needs to relax and distract
  • Brand communications in news brands are welcomed if smart, seamlessly integrated, interactive and tailored

"I would like more personalised and more interactive (adverts). I like adverts which are moving and catch the eye, rather than just a still image"

4. Fuel their conversation

  • News brand readers enjoy being in the know, and sharing their knowledge in real and digital conversations
  • Smartphones help them identify and contribute to the hottest topics
  • The interweaving of news brands and social media allows brands to be part of an ongoing, bigger conversation

"A lot of the time I read the news just after I've looked at Facebook, mainly because I've seen an article on there that someone has posted or a status that someone has put that is of something that has happened around the world or to a celebrity that I want to know more about."

5. Play the field

  • News brand readers choose different platforms for different needs
  • Smartphone readers love print for an in depth, relaxed read, especially at weekends - 57% of weekday smartphone readers read print at weekends
  • Multi-platform campaigns are best placed to exploit the overlap and frame communications relevant to different needs and reading patterns

"I tend to read quick stories such as sports news and light hearted stories via smartphone and then more in-depth articles in print. Business is generally all in print. I like to think of myself as a businessman and it gives a different feel and clarity in print."

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