Advertisers using news brands see increase in ad effectiveness of 'up to 52%'


Release of research also sees launch of trust calculator tool for agencies.

Fake news: Consumers turned to news brands during the Trump era.

Advertisers using news brands over the past decade saw a significant uplift in ad effectiveness and profit growth, according to a report.

The report, entitled “Trust: More Than a Feeling” by Newsworks, found increased trust in news brands by consumers translated into increased sales and market share, particularly during periods of political turmoil such as Brexit, Donald Trump's term as president and the era of fake news.

The report contains findings from two complementary research studies evaluating a link between trust in news brands and advertiser profit growth.

To accompany the report, Newsworks also released a new complementary trust calculator tool to help agencies and advertisers measure overall trust in brands.

The first half of the report, authored by ad effectiveness expert Peter Field, features an analysis of the IPA Databank’s award submissions based on campaigns running from 2012 to 2022.

Results of the analysis revealed that over the last 10 years, ad effectiveness in news brands across six key business effects – sales, market share, penetration, loyalty, pricing power and profit – have increased significantly. 

This is because ads that appear in news brands are regarded as more trustworthy and of higher quality – two key metrics that, according to Field, have led to increased profit margins in the ad industry, especially after trust in social media and other non-news outlets waned in light of political controversies that occurred within that timeline.

Campaigns leveraging news brands between 2012 and 2016 were 32% more effective compared to campaigns that did not, while those using news brands between 2018 and 2022 were 52% more effective.

Advertisers using news brands also saw a profit growth of 24% in the 2012-16 period compared to non-users. This figure increased to 88% in the 2018-22 period.

“While the uplifts were still strong in the earlier period of this study, they are much stronger post 2016,” Field said. “This is arguably around the time that trust issues began to explode – think Trump, Brexit and Cambridge Analytica – and the emergence of the fake news era.”

Additionally, advertisers using a multi-platform approach (with print and digital combined) have seen the most positive results, with a 61% uplift versus those not advertising in news brands. 

The second half of the report contains results from a year-long study on how advertisers can develop a more accurate measurement of brand trust.

Carried out in conjunction with research firms Map the Territory and Tapestry, the study includes data taken from interviews with both ad industry experts and consumers, as well as from nationwide surveys evaluating over 10,000 respondents’ trust in more than 150 different brands.

Findings showed that headlines from news brands were 55% more likely to be believed than those from non-news brand websites, indicating that stronger believability stems from greater trust in a national news source.

Trust in popular brands was also found to be 1.5x higher when they advertised on news brand websites as opposed to non-news brand websites. This means that consumers perceive news brand websites to be safer and more competent than non-news brand websites.

“We are in the middle of a trust crisis – be it Partygate, the Met Police or unregulated online content – so knowing we can rely on trusted environments like news brands is vital for individuals and for advertisers, especially in a world where fake news and misinformation continue to pervade our society,” Jo Allan, chief executive of Newsworks, said.

She added: “Reassuringly, these two different studies revealed remarkably parallel findings, and the results will be important for brands looking to boost their trust by advertising in trusted environments.”

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