News publishers’ research reminds marketers about big print + digital audience


Largest cross-media advertising effectiveness study ever conducted in Australia

The three media owners behind the marketing group ThinkNewsBrands – News Corp, Nine and Seven – have released The Benchmark Series. The study is the largest cross-media advertising effectiveness study ever conducted in Australia.

The Benchmark Series details how national and metro news can be a highly effective advertising channel that reach bigger audiences than the most-watched TV shows.

Driving the release of the study results is ThinkNewsBrands general manager Vanessa Lyons who joined the trade group in January this year from a career as a senior marketer across various brands.

Lyons said: “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.

“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.”

The Benchmark Series was overseen by Dr Duane Varan, CEO of audience research lab MediaScience, and the study included more than 5,350 participants and ran across 42 print runs and 252 websites which together created 6,037 unique brand exposures.

The news publishers wanted to mythbust preconceptions about news brands. One of those is that audiences are in decline. Not so according to audience data from emma – for the 12 months to 30 December 2020 there was an 8% increase in digital readership compared to the same period a year prior. This was the ninth consecutive quarter of digital growth for news brands.

Overall, news brands saw a 2% cross-platform increase with a total readership of 18 million for the period, reaching 94% of the population aged 14+. 

Across measured digital platforms, news brands reached 16.9 million Australians in 2020, representing 89% of the population aged 14+. Print reach was 10.8 million, 57% of Australians.

These figures dwarf FTA primetime numbers, with the publishers asking why marketers need to wait until after 6pm each day to reach a smaller TV audience.

The headline message is advertising placed in national and metro news, in print and digital, delivers superior brand recall and purchase propensity.

Findings from the study include:

• Advertising in printed national and metro newspapers yields 8.5 times greater unprompted recall than the run of the internet*

• Print, specifically, is highly effective at embedding brands in consumer memories with unprompted recall at 34% compared to 4% for run of the internet.

• Ads placed within digital news environments deliver superior memory and recall

• Digital news channels also deliver a strong uptick in brand recall with unprompted recall 26% for digital national and metro news versus 11% for run of the internet.

• Print + digital news combinations generate 3.5 times greater brand lift compared to run of the internet

• Cross-platform, these benefits are amplified with the study finding the combination of print and digital news further widens the gap on effectiveness versus other publications. The combination drives unprompted recall of 32% versus just 5% for run of the internet.

• Ads placed in Total News* are 2.2 times better remembered than run of the internet

• Advertising in Total News channels delivers unprompted recall of 22% compared to just 10% for run of the internet. It also yields superior sales impact with 1.8 times brand lift.

• Ads in Total News deliver stronger brand choice lift and a high propensity to purchase

* Run of the internet refers to non-premium sites including but not limited to TechRadar, The Daily Mail, Yahoo, Mamamia and Buzzfeed.

**Total News refers to the print and digital news assets of ThinkNewsBrands stakeholders News Corp, Nine and Seven West Media. This includes but is not limited to The Age, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph, The West Australian,, and


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