Press releases

Quality online environments are 42% more cost effective for advertisers

GroupM UK and Newsworks' ground-breaking new study proves the value of quality online advertising environments with cost effectiveness, audience engagement and brand response all positively impacted.

The research shows that ads appearing in quality online environments are 42% more cost effective for advertisers based on levels of engagement, viewability, above the fold placement and dwell time.

A premium exposure is 58% more likely to be 100% in view (which is GroupM's global viewability standard) for at least five seconds. The online industry standard is 50% in view for at least one second. Conversely, the study found that 48% of measurable ads on the open exchange were never actually seen.

In contrast, ads in quality digital environments - defined as a website where consumers have a deeper relationship or affinity with the brand, for example newsbrand publishers or sports websites, are 98% more likely to be placed fully above the fold, and 273% more likely to prompt a hover from a user. Premium placements also produced stronger response rates across the board with average uplifts of +10.5% for brand awareness, +19.2% for ad recall, +9.7% for brand perception and +10.3% for recommendation intent.

The study results from a partnership between GroupM UK, Newsworks and Newsworks' national newspaper stakeholders, and covered 84 campaigns, over 398 million impressions and 28,549 filtered survey responses. This scale is on a par with industry surveys such as TGI. It ran between September 2017 and June 2018, with GroupM analysing the ad environments of live digital campaigns. The findings will now be used to build an industry-wide quality exposure factor for programmatic buying systems.

Robin O'Neill, MD digital trading, GroupM UK, said: "We all instinctively assume that where you see an ad has an impact on how you receive it, but it's one thing to assume something and another to quantify the value of it. This study provides conclusive evidence that when it comes to ad environments, not all digital is equal and advertisers stand to benefit hugely from seeking quality online contexts.”

Vanessa Clifford, Newsworks’ CEO, added: “For years now, digital advertising has been used as a catch-all term in our industry, encompassing a myriad range of contexts. Now we have the insight to differentiate the value of a high-quality placements – such as on a newsbrand website – from general free browsing. This marks a huge step in our ongoing effectiveness programme and, working with GroupM, our aim is to make this work an actionable part of the online buying process for advertisers.”

Richard Madden, strategy director at BBH London, commented: “From a creative agency’s perspective, this study is so exciting. The more we understand about the environments in which ads are appearing, the more we can adapt our work to capitalise on the opportunities available to us."

The results will be presented at Newsworks' 2018 Effectiveness Summit at the Ham Yard Hotel this morning (Tuesday 3 July), along with speakers including British Gas' Patrick Smith, Unruly's Becky Waring and BBH's Richard Madden.

More details about the research and downloadable charts are available here.


GroupM worked with Meetrics to capture viewability and user engagement data for every impression across 84 campaigns, and with Cint to distribute brand tracking surveys to all of their panellists who were exposed to the campaigns. These two datasets were joined at the impression level to enable the linking of distinct brand tracking responses with the types of exposures the individual respondents received. Results were then compared for the quality environment versus the run of the internet / open exchange

About Newsworks

Newsworks is the marketing body for national newspapers in all their forms. Our stakeholders are dmg media, ESI Media, Guardian News & Media, Johnston Press, News UK, Telegraph Media Group and Reach. We collaborate with all parts of the industry, including advertisers, agencies and other media, to promote understanding of national newspapers and their role as newsbrands in the multi-platform world. We aim to celebrate and share the best in research, planning and creative involving national newspapers.

About GroupM

GroupM is the leading global media investment management company for WPP’s media agencies including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/SIX, and the outcomes-driven programmatic audience company, Xaxis. Responsible for more than US $108B in annual media investment by some of the world’s largest advertisers, GroupM agencies deliver an advantage to clients with unrivalled insights into media marketplaces and consumer audiences. GroupM enables its agencies and clients with trading expertise, data, technology and an array of specialty services including addressable TV, content and sports. GroupM works closely with WPP’s data investment management group, Kantar. GroupM delivers unrivalled marketplace advantage to its clients, stakeholders and people.


Liz Jaques
head of communications, Newsworks 
phone: +44 (0)20 7747 2133

Jessie Sampson
communications manager, Newsworks 
phone: +44 (0)20 7747 2126

Victoria Fairclough
communications director, GroupM
phone: +44 (0)20 7158 4111


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