The company you keep

Newsworks research

The company you keep main-mediaweek

The company you keep looks at why context matters, especially in an age where there is an attention deficit, and quantifies the newsbrand context effect among the 20 million regular readers of national newsbrands.

Newsworks’ The company you keep research was commissioned to explore the influence of the trusted and familiar newsbrand context on readers’ responses to brands that advertise within them. Could we measure the impact of highly focussed attention? Does the highly trusted newsbrand environment create a priming effect across all platforms?

Conquest conducted quantitative research among a total sample of 8,600 adults. Each completed a reading task, with eight ad campaigns placed in a range of titles across print, online and tablet formats; followed by an online questionnaire, using a combination of indirect, implicit and direct techniques. 600 interviews were conducted using the physical newspaper or tablet. Fourteen qualitative filmed depths were also conducted.

The research found that the engagement, trust and personal identification that regular readers have with their newsbrand creates a significant newsbrand context effect across all platforms. Regular readers are "primed" to respond more favourably to advertising due to the existing relationship they have with their newsbrand.

Key findings:

  • There is a clear context effect across print, tablet and online newsbrands
  • The context effect is found across Brand Love, Buzz and Consideration measures – both emotional and rational, implicit and explicit measures are impacted
  • The newsbrand context effect offsets consumer dislike of online advertising
  • Stronger creative enjoys a higher overall context effect
  • The context effect increases significantly when people interact with the physical newspaper or tablet edition
  • If we applied the print and tablet results from the physical test to all test campaigns and titles, the overall context effect for a multi-platform newsbrand campaign could be as high as:
    • Brand love +21%
    • Brand buzz +31%
    • Brand consideration +68%

We instinctively know that context matters…

….and the importance of context is validated in both psychology and advertising research - even though its main effects are hidden and subconscious.

It’s increasingly important to understand what context means for brands and their communications, given the advent of programmatic, the proliferation of media choice and media consumption patterns that engage only partial attention.

Much discussion has been focussed on the negative effects of the wrong context, particularly in the online environment. A number of recent studies, from the AOP, Millward Brown, InSkin Media/RAPP and the FT have shown the advantages of trusted original content and news sites for online placement.

Newsworks’ research provides a clear measure of the positive effects that the right context has on advertisers’ communications across print, tablet and online.

The findings also show that the more engaged readers are with their chosen newsbrand, the higher the context effect. Around 25% of newsbrand readers feel extremely close to the title they read – and for these readers Buzz almost doubles compared to the regular reader (main online sample) and Consideration of the brand at the next shopping occasion is 50% higher than for non-readers.

The newsbrand audience is very large and highly influential. The evidence that regular readers also respond much more positively to brands that advertise within the newsbrand environment makes them even more valuable consumers.

Context affects our decisions to a far greater degree than we realise.

Rory Sutherland, vice chairman, Ogilvy Group UK