News industry marketing body ThinkNewsBrands has released research to help advertisers better leverage media consumption patterns to improve the impact of their messaging.
ThinkNewsBrand chief executive Vanessa Lyons explained that reach has been a buzzword for some time. But she explained reach is an isolated metric, as is attention.
“Don’t buy audience numbers, buy moments that actually make an impact in a consumer’s day,” Lyons told Mediaweek. “You shouldn’t be buying audiences anymore. Purely. You shouldn’t be buying reach, you’ve got to be buying reach in the moments that are going to make an impact.”
The results illustrated Australians are continuously consuming news publishing throughout different parts of the day, underpinning its mass reach as a media channel. They also show how consumers are engaging with and sharing diverse news content more frequently than most other media, highlighting relevancy and engagement.
Media moments that matter most: The research
The new research was commissioned by ThinkNewsBrands in partnership with market research consultancy, Fiftyfive5.
A consumer-led research focus was key; with a three-pronged approach; utilising a survey of 2000 consumers nationwide; consumption diaries covering more than 8,300 occasions to reflect media usage motivations and behaviour; and digital media monitoring of 2.5 million digital minutes and impacts. That revealed a holistic way to measure true media effectiveness via a combination of reach, immersion, attention and shareability.
Lyons stressed the research covered what ThinkNewsBrands calls total news – not just most of the market as represented by ThinkNewsBrands shareholders – News Corp Australia, Nine and Seven West Media. “The easiest way to describe it is written news, something that is read. That is all print, all digital, all apps, plus read news on social media, plus, Google News, Apple News and ABC News.”
News is always with the consumer
Fiftyfive5’s research noted the competitive position held by news against other media channels for reach. News publishing owns the morning as a channel alongside social media, with 1 in 4 people reaching for news before breakfast.
People continue to engage with news throughout the day. As the day builds, news publishing remains a top three media source, delivering reach all day, every day. By comparison, radio owns the often-short commute window in and out every day, then tapers to single digits outside these timeframes, while Total TV dominates the evening and late evening yet is low earlier on in the day.
News was shown to clearly move with consumers as they go about their day, as they engage with it at home (87%), as well as out and about (56%). News is a leader in “at work” media consumption (26%); more than double the incidence of most other comparable media channels.
“What was interesting is people assume that total news publishing is being consumed just at the home,” said Lyons. “What this is showing is no, that’s not the case, it’s out and about in their social activity across their daily activity.
“This is not about us saying we’re number one and the only channel, it’s just showing that it’s a lot broader and used a lot more frequently by consumers than what you would think.”
News on social media still powerful
Lyons noted there’s a lot of commentary around news on social media being in massive decline. “I call bullshit on that. The reason I’m calling bullshit on it is, if you were to look at the data, people are still clicking on news articles on social media. They might not be clicking on the news headline within social media, but they’re certainly sharing [the news] elsewhere. They’re going back into the news website, or the app, or that particular masthead, to look at the information and they’re still reading and sharing it. They’re just not clicking on it on social media.”
News is immersive
In addition to reach, the research demonstrated how engaged consumers are with news publishing compared to other media channels.
Consumers are reading more categories of content in news, up to 2x more than any other channel. Sitting in second place after news for broad content consumption was magazines, but as Lyons pointed out, they lack the reach offered by news.
Some 75% of news readers are fully engaged when reading news content, regardless of whether it’s print or digital. The top reasons consumers choose news include staying up to date and seeking out the latest information (72%), followed by learning or finding useful information (55%).
As well as being the first choice for breaking news, consumers go elsewhere too in the news environment. Popular topics include politics (33%), sport (28%), business and finance (27%), environment and sustainability (20%), and technology (16%).
News is highly shareable
A key finding that TNB wanted to highlight was news’ shareability compared with other media channels. “This myth is firmly busted, with news publishing taking centre stage amongst consumers as a highly talked about and shared media,” said Lyons.
News is in the top three recommended media types for sharing content and information (45%) after magazines (55%) and podcasts (55%). This contrasts with radio (31%) and social media (31%).
Frequency further elevates the shareability status of news the research indicated. Australians are twice as likely to talk about news versus something they saw on TV, saw outdoors, or heard on the radio. Two in five have shared or talked about news on their last occasion.
Relevancy of ads in each media channel
Lyons explained one objective was to explore the relevancy of ads within each media channel. “Did consumers see ads in each environment as being relevant and highly relevant,” said Lyons. “Total news publishing does particularly strong. Cinema does particularly strong but that makes sense because there are lots of hyper-targeted ads within a cinema. Although if you look at the context of how many times people go to the cinema, the frequency of that reach is just not there.”
News enables impactful advertising
Perceptions of news publishing relevancy extend through to how consumers rate advertising they’re exposed to in news. Nearly one-third of consumers say the ads they see are very or extremely relevant, putting news publishing fourth behind advertising at the cinema, in magazines or in podcasts. This makes sense given the high customisability of these platforms. What is noteworthy is how performance stacks up against other mass-reach media. Scoring much lower comparatively for relevancy are online videos, social media, search, and radio.
The research indicated news outperforms other media channels relative to its size, over-indexing by +20% against the average. This puts news ahead of other high-relevance channels such as social media (+12%) and online video (+9%).
Lyons said: “We know total news has reach, but what has been missing from the industry narrative is the impact news has in the consumer’s context and against their motivations, behaviours, and media consumption.
“The research reconfirms that total news publishing is likely undervalued, relative to investment in other media channels. The slice of the pie needs to be much bigger towards news if you’re taking a holistic picture of media through a consumer lens.”
Disrupting the media experience
This could be a bit controversial, warned Lyons. Does advertising interrupt your experience on media channels? “What you can see here in the research is total news publishing is highly relevant and not seen as disruptive. Consumers see the ads as relevant, and not bothering them being there. Whereas if you think about those on Spotify, for example, people are subscribing to get rid of the ads. There are a number of other channels that also don’t perform, with people being bothered by ads on certain media platforms.
“As an advertiser, would you want that perception of your brand? Would you want to be seen as disruptive with an ad or interrupting? Or would you want to be in an environment where people are happy to see you and you’re not bothering them?”
Summary: News moments pack a punch
Keep it simple was the message: Total news is far more immersive than people think. It’s also extremely shareable and it has a massive impact for advertisers.
News is always with readers, delivers frequent engagement, gets people talking, is easy to access and gets a message to more people.
“You should be thinking about things in a holistic view, if advertisers are going to get better bang for buck,” said Lyons.
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