Here’s all the evidence and inspiration you need to get the most out of news brands, whatever your marketing campaign objectives.
By breaking down the key elements of the advertising planning process, we’ve created a tool box of research findings and case studies for each step, aimed at maximising the effectiveness of your activity in news brands.
Clear objectives are imperative to successful marketing. News brands can play a key role in delivering results against a number of different communications objectives. We have identified six core areas where news brands can play an impactful role.
Click on each objective to view related case studies.
Brands that connect with human emotions by harnessing the power of fame and stature are significantly more successful in achieving growth. This sits at the heart of many advertising campaigns.
The role for news brands: news brands create the sense of a brand having momentum; of being an important brand that commands attention
We now have countless social platforms to help get opinions into the public domain. However, news brands are renown for raising the issues that matter and offer campaigners a ‘weightier’ and more trusted environment in which to reach audiences.
The role for news brands: Use the power of respected journalism to garner support
Educating people on how a brand can fulfil their needs is key to building emotional engagement and driving brand perception. Brand education increases receptiveness to advertising along the path to purchase.
The role for news brands: Use informative powers & presence to drive brand understanding
Trust is a key driver of brand loyalty. Building trust through marketing helps power sustainable long-term growth.
The role for news brands: Leverage unique relationship with readers to build brand trust
Advertising is often used to drive response, with messaging such as “call now”, or a prompt to purchase through a time-limited offer.
The role for news brands: Forming part of people’s daily routines, news brands are well placed to prompt consumer action
News brands are one of the oldest sources of information and have an enviable ability to influence people’s views and opinions
The role for news brands: Use news as an effective environment for brand messages that aim to change attitudes
Why news brands?
A world without news is unthinkable
News brands have a unique place in British life. They are part our history, our identity, our culture and play an important role in our daily lives. From our study A World Without News, it’s clear that people truly value the news content that the press provide in the UK:
- 70% of news consumers agree “that a world without journalism would harm democracy”.
- 70% agree that “you can trust newspapers to be on top of all the news stories”.
- 76% agree that “I find it useful to have the analysis of news stories that my newspaper gives me”.
News brands help us to meet different life goals
New brands present an opportunity for brands to advertise in an environment where people are: calibrating, thriving & connecting
- News brands are not a space where people are passively absorbing the news they are a place where they are making their minds up or indeed changing their minds about things. They are a place of active consumption, and brands want that too and so news brands present a valuable opportunity here.
- People more than ever want to feel they are doing more than existing – they want to thrive. News brands have such a vital role to play in helping them to not only know more, but also develop more. People are looking for ideas and inspiration and news brands provide this is spades.
- Reading is often perceived as a solo activity but reading news brands give people the knowledge, they need to share opinions with each other. The aim for most brands is to build emotional connections with people, and news brands can help to achieve this
Significant scale and reach
News brands are a quality mass medium, offering significant scale for top-of-funnel awareness campaigns. Despite the decline in newspaper print circulation, news brands have seen an evolution from print to mobile, tablet and online formats.
Impressive audience breadth
News brands reach 36 million people daily, 47 million weekly and 49 million monthly (PAMCo):
- 74% of 18-34s turn to news brands to get a balanced point of view.
- 73% of 18-34s visit a news brand website when they see an interesting story on social media.
- Over two million 50-65s read a digital news brand daily.
- National news brand readers are broad communities of like-minded people.
(University of Bath, Tapestry and Flamingo)
A unique relationship with readers
Readers demonstrate high levels of emotional engagement, attention, trust and personal identification with their chosen news brand. Newsworks’ study ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ points towards a significant brand rub effect between advertising medium and advertiser brand. Readers are very aware that the placement of ads in news brands imbues those ads with key shared values
Better audience planning for news brands
The shift in news audiences from print to online, and from desktop to mobile, has created challenges in terms of how planners and buyers value news audiences. Most media channels are still largely planned and bought by platform and often there is no connection made between how audiences consume those different platforms. PAMCo provides insight into de-duplicated audiences across all news brand platforms – mobile, tablet, PC and print:
- Single source data to understand how audiences move between platforms.
- Improved estimate of brand reach and duplication.
How a campaign is phased can be influenced by many things, including: category, objectives and type of campaign. But usually this results in one of three approaches: burst, drip or pulse. News brands are well placed to play an effective role in each of these.
News brands can be deployed to deliver a burst of campaign activity in several different ways:
- An impactful presence by day or week, creating a ‘not to be missed’ presence.
- A two to three-week, heavy weight campaign, ensuring high impact, reach and frequency.
- A two to six-week campaign to support a seasonal sales period.
- Roadblocking the ads within one news brand publication or digital site across one day
Drip campaigns tend to be adopted by brands that want to maximise the number of ‘in-market’ weeks across the year, within a given budget. With high flexibility and a range of cost-effective formats, news brands offer advertisers the ability to develop longer term, always-on campaigns.
Given their agility and flexibility, news brands are well placed to play a strategic role across a pulsed campaign. This is likely to see a consistent, lower-level media presence, with regular increases of heavier weight advertising activity. Boosting impact during key time periods whilst optimising advertising presence and balancing investment requirements.
Context & environment
In an age where there is an attention deficit, context in advertising is paramount. This could refer to the consumer’s location, the time of day they see an ad, the media channel on which the ad appears and the content that surrounds it. Context is one of news brands’ great strengths: quality, relevant environments for advertisers.
The news brand context effect
The engagement, trust and personal identification that regular readers have with their news brand creates a powerful context effect across all platforms. The context effect is both emotional and rational and increases significantly when people interact with a physical newspaper or tablet edition. The news brand context conveys importance, trustworthiness and immediacy.
The power of news brands to capture attention
In print, we know that newspapers are largely a solus medium, with 60% of readers not consuming any other media at the same time. Larger sizes, special formats and multiple ads per issue increase impact and dwell times.
Ad viewing for digital news brand websites is 2.5 times more likely vs a non-news brand site. In addition, the quality environment of digital news brands means they convert viewable time into ad views more effectively, so that the average dwell time is 30% higher on news brand sites vs non-news brand sites.
A survey by RAMetrics of over 3,000 readers of The Guardian covering more than 300 brand campaigns found that when visitors to The Guardian website view ads alongside relevant editorial, nearly 20% are more likely to feel more positive about the advertiser and 23% are more likely to think that the ad is relevant to them.
Consumer behaviour is changing…
The huge technological changes of the past 10 to 15 years mean that content is no longer synonymous with the platform on which it is read. It is fluid across platforms in an ever-changing landscape. People are still forming strong news brand habits, but they are platform-agnostic and now expect content that is relevant to their interests.
….and news brands are diversifying
News brands have diversified to stay relevant and keep up with changes in content consumption. They have embraced all digital platforms and are fundamentally mobile – engaging readers on smartphones, tablets as well as print. News brands have embraced video content, events, audio, podcasts and many have developed loyalty programmes and invested in data analytics to enable sophisticated audience segmentation.
Digital news brand ecosystem is getting stronger
An impressive 42 million people consume news brand content across mobile or tablet each month, and 20 million people via desktop (PAMCo). Engagement is 50% higher on premium editorial sites than during general free browsing and average dwell time is 1.4x times higher in a hard news environment.
Planning news brands in a multi-platform world
PAMCo provides the audience measurement service for the publishing industry. It enables planners to define de-duplicated reach and frequency across all news brand platforms. It also provides single source data to understand how audiences move between platforms.
Additionally, according to our latest IPA Databank Study: “When the advertising appears across two news brand platforms (print and digital) the increase (in trust) over the same time period is nearly 50 percentage points higher (56% in 2020 vs 9% in 2014). Equally, the perceived quality of a brand when appearing across two news brand platforms has nearly doubled over the last six years, rising from 15% to 28%.”
According to Lumen’s ‘Paying (for) Attention’, digital news brands deliver 80% more viewable impressions actually seen than non-news brand sites, across a plethora of formats, such as dynamic ads, video and MPUs. In print news brands offer advertisers an array of different print formats, from the most common – such as double page spreads and half page strips – through to more innovative formats, including cover wraps, and integrated placements, that typically draw higher levels of attention.
A question of size
Larger formats deliver better results across all metrics. According to RAMetrics:
- Noticed more: 66% of readers recall full page ads vs 56% for half and 52% for quarter
- More appealing: 30% found full page ads personally appealing vs 21% for half and 19% for quarter
- Greater call to action: 25% would recommend the brand vs 15% from half and quarter ads
However, a great idea in a small space will usually out-perform a weaker one in a big space.
Getting the right position
There is a long-held belief that right hand pages of newspapers command a premium. And there is evidence to support this, but the differences between left and right placements are small. According to Lumen, 94% readers look at full page ads on the right, 89% look at left page ads. However, the dwell time for ads is not affected by left or right placement.
Which news brand?
When it comes to choosing a news brand, there are many things to consider. Which titles will enable you to reach your target audience? Which ones provide the right environment? What creative opportunities do they offer? To help with this, we have put together a handy crib sheet on each news brand title.
Proving it works
Newsworks’ ongoing programme of large-scale effectiveness research is designed to conclusively demonstrate and quantify the value of news brands in advertising campaigns and the return on investment that they deliver.
Our research has discovered that:
- Seeing an ad in a quality environment drives greater engagement, better brand response and is 42% more cost effective (Source: Value of Quality, GroupM, 2018)
- Brands are missing out on an astonishing £3 billion of campaign profit by underinvesting in news brands (Source: Planning for Profit, Benchmarketing)
- News brands deliver 51% more conversions than the average website due to higher levels of attention (Source: Attention = Sales, British Gas, Lumen)
- Campaigns using news brands are 58% more likely to deliver profit (Source: IPA Databank study 2021, Peter Field & IPA Databank)
- Campaigns using news brands are 74% more likely to deliver market share growth
(Source: IPA Databank study 2021, Peter Field & IPA Databank)
Find out more in our research library.