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ThinkNewsBrands ‘landmark’ research finds ads next to news have higher recall

Brands with ads running in newspapers are remembered 8.5 times better, a ThinkNewsBrands study has found, with unprompted recall of 34% compared to 4% for ‘run of the internet’ ads. ‘Run of the internet’ refers to non-premium news sites such as Mamamia, Yahoo, and The Daily Mail.

The Benchmark Series is the biggest piece of research ever conducted locally into cross-media advertising effectiveness, and involved printing different versions of newspapers, featuring different ads, and distributing them to the more than 5,000 research participants.

Source: ThinkNewsBrands Click to enlarge

Dr Duane Varan, the CEO of audience research company MediaScience who oversaw the study, noted that this meant switching over printing plates in the printing presses at 3am, and grappling with the logistical difficulties of getting those newspapers to the correct homes. There were 42 different print runs conducted in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and 252 websites captured by the experiment, creating 6,037 unique brand exposures.

Each participant was exposed to a range of ads from seven brands, with their brand preferences tested both before and after the exposure. ThinkNewsBrands said most news consumption occurred in the morning, and noted that to address previous brand experiences and potential brand bias, the study was replicated in the US with participants who had no prior experience with the local brands.

Dr Varan called the study “landmark” both domestically and globally, citing the “unprecedented” “sheer scale and scope of the cross-platform comparison”.

“The overarching finding of the research is that national and metro news, in print and digital form, are extremely effective at embedding brands in people’s memories,” he said.

“The reason for this is that when people consume news content, they enter an active and alert state of mind and this carries over to the advertising in the channel.”

Source: ThinkNewsBrands Click to enlarge

The purpose of the research was to understand the impact news has on the marketing path to purchase by measuring how well brands were remembered after appearing in news contexts.

According to the results, the combination of print and digital news led to 3.5 times the brand lift compared to run of the internet – with unprompted recall sitting at 32% rather than 5%.

ThinkNewsBrands said the impact of the findings were even more pronounced among light users, with unprompted recall jumping from 7% for run of the internet to 19%.

Source: ThinkNewsBrands Click to enlarge

“The findings are clear: as an advertising channel, news has the power to increase the propensity to purchase due to the halo created by the engaging, trusted and professionally produced content,” said ThinkNewsBrands’ general manager, Vanessa Lyons, who was appointed last month.

“This research, combined with the impressive daily reach of news, its vast and growing audience, and clear cross-platform performance, make a compelling case for marketers to reappraise their perceptions of news.”

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